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Epic Training Weekend

May 27, 2012 Fitness No Comments

Greg and I have adopted a new training plan to take us to Ironman and it’s hard. Not that I expected Ironman training to be anything less than that, but weekends are really a bitch. Here’s what the schedule dictated for this weekend:

Saturday: 50-70 minute open water swim (steady, yet relaxed) + 15-17 mile run (on rolling terrain)
Sunday: 90-100 mile bike (on rolling terrain) + 20 minute run (at lactate threshold)

Yeah… That’s a lot of time and a lot of miles. I’m just going to come out and own up to something right now: my right knee is giving me trouble. A lot of it. I’ve been denying it, pretending it’s no big deal, believing that daily foam roller sessions and ice would fix it. All of those things are definitely improving how I feel in a lot of areas, but not my knee. I hesitate to say I’m concerned, so let me just say that I’m quite pensive about it. (<— see how I did that?)

For Saturday’s workout, I went out and ran 15 miles. I’m in uncharted territory in terms of long distance running. Prior to Ironman training, the farthest I’d ever run was 13.3 miles (the Big Sur Half Marathon runs over — WHICH SUCKS IF YOU ARE LIVING AND DYING BY YOUR GARMIN AND THAT 0.2 MILES). So last Friday I ran 14 miles and it went very well. Admittedly, it was 14 flat miles with not a lot of wind…but it was just the mental boost I needed to believe I could run longer than a half marathon.

** For the record, I followed that 14 mile run with a mock sprint tri (.5 + 13 + 4) on Saturday and followed that with a 40-mile ride on Sunday. To reiterate, weekends are no joke on this training plan. **

The 15 mile run was on hilly trails and I was pretty unhappy during most of it, but I ran it all and finished feeling pretty good. My knee let me know about it. Despite the ice and foam roller treatment, it was very unhappy. Like, take-a-normal-step-in-normal-everyday-activity unhappiness. At this point (and cold weather), I could not talk myself into an hour-long open water swim and I couldn’t stomach that many laps on a 25-yard pool. So I compromised with myself to turn Monday’s rest day into a swim day. I iced that knee on/off every 20 minutes all afternoon and evening. I woke up in the night to go to the bathroom and winced as I put weight on it.


Greg and I made grand plans to ride the Highway 1 coastline this morning. The forecast was for sunny skies, but only a high of 53. I’ll take the sunshine! We had everything loaded in the van and were ready to go by 9 AM. It was spitting rain as we drove over the pass and into Half Moon Bay. It was cold. It was cloudy. Boooooo.

Token self-portrait

We set out and my mood was surprisingly good. I had all the positive vibes going, I was solving my own problems and a bunch of the world’s problems in my head the whole time. My average speed was very good and I was really happy about my commitment to being there. We were going for 80 miles at the minimum to probably 90 at the outside. We talked it over last night and the farthest either of us has gone is ~60 in the past 8 months, so we had no business doing a full century ride with so much elevation gain.

Greg dropped me pretty quickly (fine by me), though I expected to see him along the way. I passed through Davenport and made it to the 40-mile mark to turn around, knowing the return trip would be longer. What I did not expect was the IN-YOUR-FACE wind on the way back. We’ve had winds gusting up to 45 mph this week, but those were not forecasted for today. Today’s winds were supposed to be 13 mph. Forecasting fail. Also, no-fucking-wonder I had been going so fast on the way down!

There was nothing to do but keep pedaling, even as futile as it felt (and was). I looked down a few times and saw that I was going 12 mph on a flat road. Sooooo demoralizing! My 19 mph average speed quickly dropped… I got to Pescadero and texted Greg to say that I would like him to come pick me up. Seriously. I could make it to San Gregorio (about 5 miles away), but didn’t want to have to climb even more hills to make it back to the van.


He called when he finished (about 20 minutes later) to see if I was serious about coming to get me. I said that I was, but asked if he had finished the run. He had not. I really wanted to make it 80 miles, so told him to finish the run and then call me. I was at 73.30 miles with several hills to go. My hyper-competitiveness then kicked in, driving me to finish 6.7 miles in the just-over-20 minutes it would take him to run and call me. I would accept the ride, but only if I had finished 80 miles.

I pushed those hills and knew I’d hit 80 miles if he called me rightthissecond. WHICH I WANTED HIM TO DO. I didn’t want to ride any farther. I wanted to be done. Tears were stinging my eyes — I was out of food and water, my shoulders were burning, my legs were done.  But he didn’t call, and I knew I’d have to finish.

I pulled up at just over 84 miles + 4628 feet of climbing. He’d taken Miles on his run, and indulged him with a little romp on the beach. I certainly can’t fault him for that. And honestly, I’m glad that I dug deep and finished on my own. It was going to require a lot of effort to swallow that pill of being picked up just 4 [downhill] miles from the finish…

I had no business doing a 20-minute run on this knee, so I didn’t go. I don’t even feel guilty! I got out of my cold, wet clothes and had a little spit bath with baby wipes before putting on real clothes, new sunscreen, and a little mascara + lip gloss. We were heading to the brewery for dinner! I had some chocolate milk and V8 in the car, plus one glass of wine while we watched Miles make friends with everyone else around. My stomach did threaten a revolt as we waited for a table, but I had two glasses of soda water and things settled down.

I’m actually looking forward to stretching things out on the swim tomorrow (+ a strength workout), as long as the sunny+69* forecast holds…

What did you do this holiday weekend? 


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