Soooo remember when I decided to go waaayyyy out of my comfort zone and sign up for that teeny tiny race they call a Half Ironman? Yeah that teeny tiny race is just 2 months away.
Ahhhhh ... commence freak out!
Prior to signing up, I have completed two Sprint Triathlons. Yup - that's it. I guess I was going for a go big or go home type situation there.
I felt lost at the beginning of training. I wished I could afford a coach, but it wasn't in the cards.
Thankfully NYC Running Mama suggested the book pictured above.
This book offers a ton of different training plans from the beginner to someone trying to land on the podium at their next Sprint to Full Ironman. All levels and distances are covered. Phew!
I'm not really sure what level I am at so I went with intermediate for now. I thought it was a decent guess. Right?
Can you tell I am getting wicked scientific in this training cycle? :)
So let's break down the different parts of the Half Ironman?
I owe a HUGE thanks to my parents for starting my swim lessons as a baby. I may not be fast in the water, but I feel comfortable there. I love getting into the water, tuning out the world and feeling light as a feather. There is no weight issues in the pool or ocean. Now, I know weight, etc affects the speed and outcome, but I don't feel self-conscious when I am in the water. It takes that anxiety away from me ... even just for that small period of time.
I am quite the sophisticated swimmer as I jot down the workout on a sweet post-it note that is usually soaked through by the cool down. ;) The book does a great job of breaking down the purpose and benefit of each type of swim exercise. Am I 100% sure I am doing it correctly? Nope. But I am trying my hardest and I know that the meters adding up is the most important thing I can do.
Trying to condition my body to get ready to swim 1.2 miles before doing those other two little sections.
While at the Heartbreak Hill Running Festival, Sarah Reinertsen - one of the most inspirational athletes around - shared how she exhausts her arms on the swim during her Ironman because you don't really use them the rest of the race. I am trying to take that to heart during practice swims by using the arms as much as possible and resting the legs. It is giving me something to focus on and improve.
So far in training I have swum at least 1 mile straight and felt comfortable. On race day, I will need to swim the 1.2 miles in less than 1 hour to continue on in the race. Those time limits are always looming in the back of my head.
BUT, I know pool swimming and open water swimming are very different so I am working on putting on my big girl pants and getting out into the open waters...
By FAR my weakest portion of the triathlon. Well it is also my least favorite so those two things could go hand in hand. :0)
I made a pledge to work on my biking this winter so I set up the free-to-me (thanks old tenant) bike trainer. :)
It was a great way to cross train for the marathons when I didn't want to leave the house. Or a way to watch a show I wanted to watch, but be productive while doing it.
I am working on following the training plan, but tweaking to fit my needs and plans on the weekend. But in May I started taking the bike outside.
I get very worried about falling off the bike and getting a flat tire. I am still not used to shifting the gears and now clip pedals. Last month, I purchased new pedals that have clips on one side and are flat on the other so you can still bike in sneakers if you want. I want to have the options. Ya know?
Thankfully my friend Darcie is a more experienced biker than I so she and I have gone out on some long rides together.
On July 4th came the biggest bike ride of my career, over 30 miles while working on clipping, hills, shifting, riding in traffic and inclement weather. And you know what? I survived.
Now I know for the race I will need to up the speed. I think we figured that we will need to keep at least a 15.0 mph. Now on this day, we were dealing with stoplights and people on the bike path so I think we were going an appropriate speed outside of those moments. But, speed is something I need to work on.
Hey, I am happy with the progress I have made thus far.
I tested out the camelback on the ride and it was perfect. I am not comfortable enough taking my hands off the handlebars to take a drink - damn balance - so the camelback allowed me to stay steady and hydrated.
I also knocked off my first fall. Now it wasn't a huge fall. Okay it happened while I was at a stop, but I got it over with. :) I successfully clipped the right shoe out, but forgot about the left and over I went into a nice piled of mulch. Ha. Darcie was the only person who got to witness it.
It felt great to tackle such a big ride. I know I have a long ways to go, but I am going in the right direction.
Let's just say I never thought I would be least worried about running. ;) I have been battling a left hamstring injury for a while so the running hasn't been my main focus. I think my body is pretty conditioned right now and I am trying to focus on the swimming and biking as much as possible to keep the cardio up.
I know once the leg feels better I will need to get back into the BRICK workouts - 2 parts of the triathlon back-to-back.
I'm hoping by now no matter how tired I will be I can make it through a half marathon. (Again never thought I would write something like that)
The timing scares me the most. You must be out of the water in 1 hour and done with the course in 8. So when my music died in the water the other day, I spent the entire time working out "worst case scenarios" in my head.
Okay if it takes me 1 hour to swim and 3 hours to run that gives me 4 hours to bike. Etc Etc.
While I work on the physical training, I know the mental needs even more help. The confidence needs to be there on race day since there is no music allowed in triathlons. So for most of this it will be me and my thoughts together ... alone ... for hours. I will need to stay positive and focused. Oh and singing to myself. That is a given.
So with two months to go, I will continue to improve, to study, to learn and to push my limits.
Adios comfort zone ... hello Half Ironman!