I sat down to begin writing this post with my marathon looming and with a hypersensitivity to any twinge in my right knee. As I sat down to the empty Word document, I thought to myself, “Okay, how many months until my Ironman again?” And then the answer hit me. Six. Six. A half a year until my Ironman. And then, magnified by the non-training-related stress I’ve had in my life lately, every single bit of fear about my Ironman hit me like a load of bricks. Six months? I can’t do that. I can barely run. I don’t even have a bike. And even if I did, I haven’t been on a bike ride for longer than an hour in months. This was a terrible mistake. Why did I buy the insurance policy for the race?! So that’s where I am right now. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that my first major freak out before the race didn’t happen until now. But I’m using all my brain power just to stop the incessant refrain of “youcan’tdothis youcan’tdothis youcan’tdothis” from playing on repeat in my head.
Other than cycling-specific fitness, my fitness is in great shape. I’m fully trained for a marathon. I’m a faster runner than I’ve been since college. I’m a better swimmer than I’ve ever been. I honestly feel strong. I don’t feel overtired. I think my legs (well, my leg muscles, at least) are in excellent running shape and ready to transition into some hardcore cycling to build up that area of my fitness. I’m leaps and bounds ahead of where I was this time last year in terms of general fitness.
Of course, the issue on my mind is my IT band. At this particular moment, I’m convinced it’s a life-long injury that will render me incapable of running for the rest of my life. I realize that’s more than a little silly, but I do think I’m justified in being worried (although my worry is almost certainly overblown). IT band issues can take a long time to heal up, and the last thing I want to do is to deal with an overuse injury through the five months of Ironman training.
If you’ve read this far, you can probably tell that my anxiety and I are not co-existing peacefully right now. Getting my car and bike stolen kind of overloaded my coping mechanisms, so other problems that are relatively unimportant in the long run (like, say, knee pain) seem much more serious and are difficult for me to handle. My appetite plummeted for a few days, and I was worried I was in for another streak of forcing myself to eat, but it seems to have picked up again. I’ve had some trouble sleeping too, which is par for the course when my anxiety gets bad. Fortunately, my family offered to help me buy a new bike, so a large part of my financial burden was lifted. And, while I’m still on edge and snippy (Rob has been a saint!), I think I’m finally starting to feel better.
Longest swim: 4400 yards
Longest ride: 13.79 miles
Longest run: 26.2 miles
Most encouraging workout: My ePostal One Hour Swim where I hit 3600 yards. I really thought I was setting a goal outside of my reach, and I reached the goal anyway. It was a great indication to me that my stroke and fitness have both improved over the course of the winter. It’s the one discipline I’m feeling really good about right now.
Most discouraging workout: My marathon. This was supposed to be good for my confidence, but all it did was convince me that performance is completely out of my control and that it doesn’t matter how hard I train or how much I prepare—a race is just a roll of the dice anyway. It also convinced me that I am incapable of doing an Ironman and was stupid to ever think I was athletic.
Average time per sport per week
Since I’ve been doing ab work and non-impact cardio lately and plan on implementing some injury-prevention strength training after my marathon, I’m adding in a category for “Other” exercise.
Swim: 75 minutes
Bike: 34 minutes
Run: 184 minutes
Other: 45 minutes
Looking to the future
Well, the marathon is behind me, and it’s time to switch focus to recovery and my Ironman. Before my knee started acting up, I hadn’t planned to cut back on running as much as I plan to now. I had hoped to run (and PR!) another 5k and have a really good race in the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on April 16. Instead, any 5k race is postponed indefinitely, and I’ll settle for a solid and hopefully pain-free race in April. I’m going to spend the next few days putting together a routine that will help me build hip and glute strength to prevent any recurrence of my IT band pain. And after a week of easy workouts to recover from this marathon, I’ll start cycling. A lot. Or, well, a lot more than I have been! Because my new bike isn’t built up yet, I’ll have to spend a lot of time on a stationary bike at first, but I’ll deal with it. I’m hoping to start riding three days a week for a total of 2-3 hours a week at first. And then, the plan is to build up the length of my rides so that my weekend ride is at least 90 minutes and my total time on the bike each week is around 3-4 hours.