March Ironman Update
I don’t know where to start. My goal was to have more time to reflect and write about my journey and I have been too busy holding the journey together to write.
My greatest improvement and potentially enjoyment has been in swimming. I enjoy my time in the water and try and balance my pace with stroke consistency – there is a lot of thinking and concentrating involved in swimming. I tend to swim 2 km on Monday and 3-3.8 km on Wednesday. The times have not really changed in 12 months, however, I am consistently doing 42-43 minutes for 2 km with less effort if you get what I mean. The 3km and 3.8 km swims are manageable, though I am conscious of the frantic nature of the race. In training I am bilaterally breathing with two stokes on each side. In the race I will breath on one side and stay out of trouble.
Spooked is the best word to describe my bike riding. On one ride 6 weeks ago I witnessed three bike crashes, two friends had severe accident requiring hospitalisation in another incident and then all the press about bike accidents. In training my goal is to stay upright and in the race it is to finish it aerobically with energy in the tank. I have done more riding in February and March compared to 6 weeks holidays. For a few weekends I had a few work commitments and had trouble getting in 6 hour rides. I had to split them between school commitments a few times. I purchased endurance tyres to hopefully prevent the likelihood of flats and have been riding in all weather conditions – no excuses. The tyres sacrificed speed but I have peace of mind since I cannot change a tyre and inflated it quickly enough. On the longer rides I tend to start slow and feel good from about 75 km.
Mind games best sums up my running. The 6 km runs are perfect for holding my body together but is is playing with my mind for the race. I have completed six foot track, marathons and 50 km races on the back of 6 km training runs. On Sunday 23 March I did a longer brick run and both my left foot metatarsal and hip flexor has rendered me hobbling. This run/walk suggests I should have time to meet the cut off if I get off the bike in a reasonable time. I have to respect and distance and my body, however, I need to make a decision. I am going to have to back what has worked in the past (6 km running and brick sessions) and make sure I finish the ride as fresh as possible.
On rides the nutrition involves about 500ml of gatorade / water each hour, a gel each hour, one and a half peanut butter sandwiches lasts till about 130km and then I tend to eat Cadel bars and a snack on dates. I will need to work on taking the salt tablets but am yet to master doing this while riding the bike. My diet for meals has not really changed. No one in my family likes cooking and we never have food in the house. So not much happens on the pre-training fuel intake and I have to work hard at refueling after a long ride.
Sleep and rest
All I am doing is working training and resting. My friends know what I am doing, are supportive and know I am not going out. I have not had a beer since New Years Eve. Friday nights involve getting gear ready for the morning ride. Those who know me well know how hard it is for me to get up and ride in the morning. The weekends just revolve around training and I do what I can do during the week.
I have decided on what gear I will ride and run in. What is doing my head in is planning for the weather. One thing I don’t what to do is get cold on the ride and on the run into the evening. This may could put a stop to my race. There is still a fair bit to do on this front. I have not mastered the layered approach riding and running – basically I don’t have the gear and don’t know what to buy.
Complete not compete
When I started this journey I had ideas of a time and paid lip service to the notion of complete not compete. These are no longer just words. This is my real goal. All the training has just proven there are so many variables to finish the race let alone meeting the cut offs – cramps in the foot during swims which render me kicking, rather in effectively, with my foot perpendicular to my body till it goes, flat tyres, mechaniical failure, malfunctioning cleats, the risk of an accident due to minor lapses in concentration and cramp in the muscles behind the knee, holding it all together in the run on the back of 6 km runs and my ailing running body. This is just a small selection of what I have experienced to date.
Playing every trick in the book to not get sick. Last week I was not feeling 100%, was not sleeping well so I rugged up had three days off training and stayed indoors in the evening when I had no work commitments watching TV and resting.
In relation to the race all my thinking is working backwards from cut off times, calculating pace to cut offs and planning for all conceivable scenarios. Hence new bike has endurance tyres, decision made by the body to stay with 6km training runs despite the risk, nutrition almost sorted in my head though work to do with clothes….
Feel grateful for all the support from family, friends and work. Coming with this is a mixture of feelings of expectation, pride respect for the race and a sense of achievement even before I reach the starting line.