As much as I LOVE the flexibility of summer, it's kind of a double edged sword for me. I love that I do have free time (which, yes, is primarily consumed with training this year), but I also hate that there is no structure. Even when I was teaching summer school in June and July and taxiing triathletes to practice, I didn't have a set routine for each week. Quite frankly, I suck when I'm out of routines. I get lazy and just don't get as much accomplished as I would like, so my "To-Do" list never seems to decrease.
While school starting does make training more challenging, this year is going to be amazing. I teach 6 of the students I had for summer school and have an awesome group of students this year. On the first day, I obviously introduced myself. I have a bulletin board that I display personal stuff on, but realized I forgot to print out pictures since I have everything digitally....oops.
The back of my classroom. Check out that sweet ice cream poster;)
Giuliano's Gems (rockstar students!)...I need to add to my personal board...
"Math in Me" student projects: how does math relate to your profession?
Anyway, I of course had to tell my students about Kona. While some knew what an Ironman was ("that's where you swim in the ocean and then bike a lot and run some at the end, right?"), most did not so I had to explain it. There were quite a few weird looks at me in terms of why anyone would ever swim 2.4 miles then bike 112miles then run 26.2, but when I told them that Kona is like the Olympics for long-distance triathlon, the kids about lost it. I'm pretty sure I became "cool" for at least a few seconds in their minds....so I might just keep doing this Ironman thing if all goes well:)
Down to the training part of this week.
BIKING: As always, we had two hard bike computrainer workouts and this week was TOUGH. Think of a long, hard tempo for running...that's what we did in terms of biking. And I crushed them. Really. I have never felt as good as I did this week on the bike, and to do it during not one, but BOTH "Tempo" type rides really boosted my confidence. Coach Bill really thinks I can do some damage on the bike now that I realize that I can be a strong rider.
SWIMMING: three long swim workouts this week about made my arms fall off. Fortunately, by the third swim (which was done on Friday after my second longest swim ever on Thursday), I felt strong and fast (for me). I have really come to believe that to be a good and confident swimmer, you can't take too many days off from swimming. So, even after Kona if my focus switches to running (we'll see), I do still plan on swimming 3+ times per week.
RUNNING: the run workouts this week had no time goals, just effort, so I was very interested to see how the Fort2Base Nautical 10miler (11.5miles) would go.
Did I mention that Fort2Base was done the day after Ryan and I did bike hill repeats?
Basically, of our 75miles, 30+ were climbing hills. We rode 3 hills 10-20times each and really charged up and flew down. Even though we knew we had a race the next day, again our focus is KONA and a running race cannot be a priority if doing well at Kona is.
Ryan and I woke up early to drive to the Lake Forest train station and then run the 3.5miles to the start of the race. We had a 20miler on the schedule with the 11.5mile race scheduled in between.
I was lucky enough to have been in contact with the previous race winner regarding getting around, etc., and was even luckier to run the first 5 miles with her. Kristine and I were those runners you HATE in races who just talk away during the race. Well, until we got caught by some of my DPFT teammates and Wendy, the Executive Director of the Chicago Area Runners Association.
My teammates Jonathan and Paul plus Wendy and I ran together for the next 3-4miles. This Jonathan was the same guy who helped me tremendously during the Cary March Madness 1/2 marathon and is constantly encouraging others while crushing it himself.
Probably around mile 8 is when Jonathan tried to get me to come with him, told me to stop pounding my feet (thank you, needed that!)...but I just couldn't.
Quick fix? POWERGEL. Seriously. I had planned to take it at mile 9 based on then having 14 miles under my belt (I took one gel 6miles into my total run as well), but chose to take it just after mile 8. I started feeling SO much better and miles 8-10 were my best by a lot.
Just after mile 10, there's this lovely ginormous hill. I kept telling Ryan yesterday how much harder hill repeats are on a bike than by running...but this hill made me question that statement. I have never been so excited to see a finish line. That hill fully depleted my body and I was just ready to be done running.
Wendy finished less than a minute behind me and we were honored to take a picture with two members of the navy. One of the newer members (2013) to DPFT, Helen, came in third and I was just thrilled for her. She is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and I was so glad to be able to catch up with my Soldier Field cool down buddy (one of them:)).
After awards, Ryan and I ran the almost 5miles back to our car, of course talking about where we would be going out for breakfast. I mean, that's kind of a HUGE reason we do these weekend race things to begin with:)
Overall, Ryan and I were very happy with how our legs responded (Ryan especially, given that he's had multiple blister outbreaks over the past two weeks) during today's 20mile run after having one of the hardest bikes of our lives less than 24 hours prior.
To top things off: multiple friends texted/Facebooked me that NBC was broadcasting the Kona 2012 race on tv....I'm feeling this is a sign that we are READY to go.
Next Sunday, I am competing in the HyVee Triathlon in Iowa. Ryan worked this race last year, so I randomly signed up for it since I had been biking anyway last year. This year, I am very curious to see how I compare to my own splits from last year. Yes, the course has slightly changed so that could alter my times. Yes, I am training for an Ironman versus an Olympic distance triathlon (that's like running a 5k when you're training for a marathon). BUT, it'll give me the confidence I want going into Kona just by seeing the gains I have made throughout this crazy training cycle.
Congrats to all who raced today: Fort2Base, Batavia 1/2, Chicago Triathlon, Louisville...and anyone else I've missed. GOOD LUCK to everyone racing on the crazy Labor Day (full of races) weekend!