We’re now less than 5 weeks from the 2017 Ironman New Zealand. This is a bit of a recap of the past week and a status of my current mental and athletic fitness.
This was week 2 of Build 2. We have one more building week and then its recovery week followed by 2 weeks of peak and 1 week of race. 4 weeks from today, we’ll be in Taupo. I currently have our Normatec Recovery boots on drinking a Tiger beer and Fiona is making vegan “meatballs” for spaghetti tonight.
Ok, so I swam only 3x this week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday since I still have a limited-ban at the ASALC. I had inquired with the new manager and didn’t receive a follow up response. But, I’ve been making the best of this shitty situation and am typically covering 5km in each session with guided direction from our swim Coach, Rob. He’s been awesome and has become like a brother to me. This past week he was hit by a car, the 3rd person we know within 2 weeks and it kind of deflated me. Our swim set on Saturday consisted of wetsuit race pace swims of 2x1k with some extra. I went 15:22 (1:32/100), 15:32 (1:33/100). The pace was lower than I would have liked as I had residual fatigue from Thursdays 4.8k swim which included 10×100 on 2min (all on 1:29-1:30). But it was also probably 35C at 9am and wearing out wetsuits was very hot and was wiping us out. The highlight was realizing how much more movement I had with my sleeved tri suit rolled down within my wetsuit. Thanks for the testing Robbo. Will be using the roll down option now.
I did core 3x30min this week M/W/F as my back has been sore on the bike lately. Effort was low today on the bike but I felt some improvement.
I’ve been building run mileage throughout the season and hit 41.9m/67k. This was the biggest week in 11 weeks but have averaged 37.8m/61k/week for the season. Run Tues-9mile, Thurs 9-mile, Fri-8.5 mile and stopped with fatigue. Saturday was the big run. We started at 4pm when it was around 100F/40C. We started with the toughest hill around climbing ANZAC hill and then ran to the Telegraph station. I chugged a 600ml of coke and HR was going great. We climbed Trigg Hill and then took the red MTB path to Wiggly’s waterhole. Fi was struggling. We took our shoes off to cross the water of the Todd River. From there in the 100F heat and now 5pm+ we both struggled. Shirt off and tried to enjoy the rural Outback finding 2 kangaroo’s along the rocky, shade-less paths. We were running low on nutrition and fluids so when we finally got to the IGA on the East-side of town I chugged a 1 liter bottle of Gatorade and then felt yuck. We ran through town and I was going to run the Todd Mall but Fi continued on. I figured she was making me run up ANZAC hill and cursed her in my head. We walked up the back-side and then finished back at home totaling 2hr40min of running going 15.39miles or 25km. The heat was brutal and had me run 1hr48min of that in Zone 1 (Recovery). But, we were out there for 3hr45min.
My intention was to ride in to work this week but was tired most of the week even with north of 7-9hours of sleep had me drive in. Monday-Spin 2hr, Wednesday – 2hr w/ 3x20min on FTP, Sweet Spot, Race Pace (319, 291, 253 watts). Fiona is learning that her new Stages Powermeter has lower readings than her old Quarq on her new Giant Liv AVOW Pro. Friday – 1hr easy. Saturday – 90min Zone 2 (Aerobic Endurance) watching the 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship from the DVD collection present. Then today, we started at 9am so I could sleep in till 7.
The ride headed East to Ross River Highway which we haven’t ridden till the end, in nearly 2 ½ years since the road is so shitty. 30minutes in (9:30AM) and it was already 100F/38C. We didn’t use our camelpaks because Fiona’s Dad was here this weekend and was going to support us. 2 hours in and I was nearly finished with the 4 bottles on board. Fi was running low too as we grinded into the headwind. Fi said she was going to stop in the shade to eat and then the next corner there was dad 2hr30min in. Phew! We both celebrated and I drank about a liter of Sprite and a can of Coke. We filled up the water bottles and continued on passing a ton of cattle and a lot of baby cattle in this open cattle range. Some were sprinting right alongside the road (away from us). With all the rain, everything was Green, no red center dirt to be found. Past Trephina Gorge and then at Ross River Homestead, about 54miles/88km away from Alice Springs. Note, there is no water, servo’s, or anything else on this road. At the old time homestead, the nice lady brought us out a jug of water that we downed. Then we headed inside and had some lunch. (My effort was so pathetic I figured we might as well eat some lunch here. I was only on 152 watts in Zone 1 and HR was only 100 on average).
I chowed down on a Non-Vegan Quiche with some eggs and ham inside it, salad, and some very salty chips. I killed a Sunkist and Fi and her dad downed can’s of Solo which have 43g of sugar or more than the recommended daily dosage of sugar. I jumped in the pool which might have been the best thing I did all day. I was puking French fries in my mouth for the next 90minutes but somehow started producing power with the tail wind after 4hours and now sitting on temperatures of 116F/47C (I shit you not). Dad was stopping each hour and I ate a shot blok (1) every 10min, salt tablet every 30min, water everywhere. HR was still low but power was now at least in zone 2 with Fiona doing heaps better sitting on my wheel. 5hr42min, 106miles/(171km) later, we were back at home drinking VeggieProtein/Fruit smoothies.
Week total: 24.5 hours, 13.3k swim, 241.8mile ride, 41.9mile run.
16 Weeks ago Fiona and I competed in the 2016 Ironman World Championship. It truly is one of the most grueling Ironmans in the world, exacerbated by training in the Australian Winter for this Summer Race. While I planned in a 2 week transition period in which I won the Alice Springs Masters Games Triathlon and Duathlon, I came back too soon with too much volume going 20, 22, 26 hour weeks followed by low week volume but stress of flying back to the USA for Thanksgiving and eating/drinking anything we wanted. Once back in Australia we used a 5 week Base period on hours: 25, 25, 27, 29, 19(recovery). Build 1 then saw 24, 25, 29 with 13hours of training on that final weekend. I’m stronger in the pool and have a better endurance run engine, but have lower power on the bike. I’d still like to see myself go 55-5:00-3:25 in Taupo but I know how fatigued I am and it’s not good considering I’m at 5 weeks to go.
While my motivation has been knocked around for multiple reasons over the last couple years, I reckon that Kona was both the best and the worst thing to happen to me.
Kona is the pinnacle, the absolute best of the best, where legends were made, what brought triathlon to the masses. It is the goal, key, and driving force for thousands of triathletes around the world. I wanted it for 6 years and when I finally got there, I celebrated it and enjoyed every moment of it. But when you pursue something for so long, when you want something so bad, and when you’ve finally reached what you wanted, then what?
Of course I want to go back. Of course I want to have a better crack at it by improving my run and going sub-10. Of course I want to perform much better against the greatest athletes in the world. But, that wasn’t my goal, my driving force all those years. Now I struggle with formulating that new goal, that next step. Additionally, we will most likely not pursue a Kona trip this year. But, that was the goal of the 6 Ironman branded events I’ve done so far. Sure I want to PB in NZ, Sure I want to improve my swim and run times but these are new goals; they haven’t had the years of cultivation and passion. These realizations have given me new respect to those that have done so many Ironmans; facing adversity and struggle but still continuing forward.
At the end of the day, I love triathlon and still want to continue with this and endurance sport for the forseeable future. I don’t want to come home from work everyday and sit on my ass getting fat. I don’t want to go to the gym and run aimlessly without any goals or bulk up to look big and have zero and often detrimental affects. No, I want to pursue the idea of good friend Helen Kindness by avoiding the bullshit and focusing on life fitness. So cheers to defining new goals no matter how small or big they are.