The thrill of Brazil has finally settled and I’ve been back to serious training for a good month now. I took a much longer break than usual this go around. My seasons are typically long and I usually plow pretty steadily through them. Most years I don’t really feel that my fitness had developed until late June, early July and my race results have followed suit.
This year, I had a May Ironman and couldn’t afford my usual slow growth of fitness. I needed to get in shape in the early part of the year if I wanted to get back to Hawaii. I worked with Coach Muddy and he had a clear plan. I spent several training blocks in San Jose where the weather was good, working on that early fitness, and it paid big dividends in Brazil.
After Brazil I took a break and I have to say I’ve never felt in better shape in May, and I’ve never felt in worse shape in June. By the end of June I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to be fit again. But again, there is a plan to the madness and July started that plan.
It was a huge month. I don’t keep track of my mileage any more. I don’t track weekly hours, or log into Training Peaks except to write schedules. When my Garmin says “Delete History, Active Memory Full” I just scan back a few screens and delete all data. I’ve got nothing written down or logged since October. And I’m going to go ahead and say “IT FEELS GOOD!” I just dance in the glow of all the time I’ve saved. I handed the reigns over to someone I trust and he just watches me closely. It’s so nice.
However, as July progressed I did a loose add up of the weekly mileage and I remember it started out with a 290 mile bike week, then for 3 weeks where mileage was in the 400 range. Loosely I pedaled by bike about 1,500 miles in July, give or take. The running and swimming…no idea. I just did what was required, ran when asked to, swam as many days as I could muster. But the lions share of the work was on the bike.
I didn’t do anything too too wild on any one day. I did do 2×120 mile days back to back at the end of week two during the Double Triple Bypass. But all in all, 2 weeks at home getting a quick introduction back to training, and then two weeks of tough work in San Jose and Lake Tahoe.
It was really interesting to see a month of work and rather than looking at the numbers to really look at where my body was at and the journey it went through. I had some really tough days in there. Some days where I didn’t feel fit AT ALL, and where just completing the mileage asked was hard for me.
I had a day where my wheel was rubbing on my frame and I struggled my way back to my parents about to die trying to pedal home. That resulted in a full on panic attack complete with wheezing and flipping out. Then I had other tough days where there was a glimmer. I saw the glimmer of Sonja past and I got excited. One day we were at the track and the start of the session I felt heavy as a brick, but then half way trough the old Sonja showed up and dominated those intervals. Yet the day after that it was back to slow, hard, painful, dig for every pedal stroke type of work.
Then, last week some time, about the time when I expected to be petering out (getting the waterworks – emotional release is always where I crack) I had two days where I could do no wrong. I was a beast and saw gigantic watts and got dropped by NO ONE. I was master of my domain. Of course, 2 days later…I was off the back by a ways, unable to get watts or heart rate up, and unable to stop the tears. And with that coach gave a big smile and pulled the plug. Time for rest.
Now I’m back home and dealing with the adjustments of being away for two weeks and coming home pretty darn tired. My family has been missing me and here I come home and just want to crawl under the covers for a few days. So, it’s been an adjustment for everybody.
This weekend is Boulder 70.3, a race that is a complete side note for me. I wish I could say that my eyes have been fixed on Vegas and Kona, but really I’ve just been focusing on doing work, lots of work, and holding myself together. That’s where my focus has been. Everything else is just a whatever. But as the week has progressed, and I find myself a few rest days short of what I wish I had, stepping on the line at Boulder is going to take some guts. It’s a tough race.
I learned this month that every training day is an opportunity for growth. Sometimes it just takes some distance to connect the dots. When I can balance having fun with the work, that’s when I have the greatest opportunity for success.