Five months?! Nope. Nopenopenope. Except… yep. My Ironman really is only five months away. It’s terrifying and exciting all at once. When I think about it logically, I think I’m in good shape. I just recently ran a marathon (run portion, check) and earlier this year I did a swim workout that was 2.5 miles long (swim portion, check). Additionally, my recent return to cycling went better than I expected (bike portion, getting there). However, my visceral reaction when I think about the fact that my Ironman is five short months away is just a few levels shy of panic. At least the panic will serve as good motivation when the training hours ramp up!
I think my fitness right now is stronger than my recent performances indicate. Recovering from a marathon takes time, and I’m trying to be patient with myself when an 8:30/mile pace feels hard and when my knee starts aching a bit after 30 minutes. I just try to remember that this winter, I was in the best distance-running shape of my life and that fitness built over four months like that does not just evaporate, even when you need to take some time off due to a bum knee. I built a strong base this winter, and it’s still there. It helps that I’ve maintained more of my cycling fitness that I thought I would. Some of that might be due to my awesome new bike, but I’ll take the credit anyway. I think my rapid swimming progress has come to an end, but it was a great ride, and I’m pleased at where I’ve ended up.
My knee is still bothering me. But anyone keeping up with this blog knows that. I’m doing what I can to be responsible and get better. I just need to focus on what I can control. Otherwise, my health has been solid. I didn’t have to deal with any colds or other sicknesses this month. My weight has generally been pretty stable. More importantly, my appetite has been pretty stable. As I’m paying more attention to what helps my appetite and what suppresses it, I’m getting better at maintaining a healthy appetite and eating enough to fuel what I do. (Spoiler alert: Turns out if I try to eat the exact same lunch every single weekday for a months, I end up not eating much of my lunch after the first few weeks.)
This was a tough month mentally. I was coming off a very bad, very disappointing marathon and dealing with an overuse injury to boot. Not only that, but I was still dealing with the financial fallout of having my car stolen, and I had an upheaval in my social life that was… unpleasant. Plus, it was still winter. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a delicate flower emotionally, so all these unrelated stressors took their toll on me. Fortunately, I think I’m on the upward path again. It sounds strange, but being able to ride my bike helps. Of the three disciplines, cycling is the one that brings me the most happiness, and spring means that long rides are both feasible and enjoyable again. I don’t always have control over the stressors in my life, but one thing I can be consistent about is getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night. I am not one of those people who can function on six hours a night regularly. Sleep is vital to my mental health, and as my training hours increase, I need to make sure that I don’t steal those extra hours from the time I normally spend sleeping.
Longest swim: 2500 yards
Longest ride: 42.65 miles
Longest run: 7.17 miles
Most encouraging workout: My 40+ mile bike ride this past weekend. I did not know what to expect when I got back into cycling after spending so little time on my bike this winter. I did not expect to be able to bust out a forty mile ride and stay strong the whole time. A couple of years ago during the summer did my half Ironman, I rode a very similar course as the one I rode today and I was absolutely wrecked at the end. It was a nice reminder of the cycling progress I’ve made over the past couple of years. Sure, I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m starting from a much better position than I thought I would be!
Most discouraging workout: My pathetic five minute run. I’ll be honest. I cried a bit after this workout. I just feel completely out of control, like all the good decisions and rest in the world won’t actually do anything to make my knee begin to feel better. At this point, I’m pretty convinced I’ll be doing a swim, bike, walk in August.
Average time per sport per week
Swimming: 116.25 minutes
Cycling: 178.75 minutes
Running: 31.25 minutes
Other: 90 minutes
Looking to the future
Official Ironman training is almost upon me. For the next few weeks, my goal is to prepare my body so that I can transition seamlessly into my Ironman training plan. In regards to swimming, this mostly means maintaining. For cycling, it means simply getting out there on my bike and racking up some miles. For running, it means primarily working on fixing my IT band and secondarily trying to get some miles in so that I’m not overwhelmed by my long runs during my training plan. I plan on continuing with my strength work and implement some form changes to get my IT band back in working order. Additionally, I want to get some other aspects of my life in order, mainly meal-planning and sleep. Jellybeans are not dinner! And I cannot survive on 6-7 hours of sleep a night. Some people can, but I am not one of them.