As the Labor Day weekend approached, my coach Jennifer, asked if I was excited about all the hard work I had to do. Yes, there is sort of a sordid pleasure with the idea of doing a crazy amount of mileage in a sport that you love doing. To a point. It’s like taking a sexual fetish a little too far, or a little too rough, too hard; and you end up with a permanent scar or a visit to the ER with a crazy excuse why the zucchini is where it is.
Training for the Ironman the second time has not been all gravy and potatoes. It’s been a lot of work. Now that I know what to expect, especially knowing the weaknesses that come out at the limits, I tend to push a little harder at the workouts. It’s not fun. Last year, I trained with Liz who gave me company through everything. The effort back then was to “survive” the 7hr ride or the 3hr run, and whatever pace at the end was secondary. The plan for me this year is to set a realistic goal pace and then do all the work to ensure that I will arrive in Kona with the proper training for that pace. Holding my goal paces has just been more of monitoring the computers than by just “pushing”, but in the end, it is still solid work.
The hard part of all this is the wear and tear of everything. And by this, I mean EVERYTHING you can imagine. The toes are constantly in a state of blister/calluses. I’ve already lost one toenail, pretty sure I’m going to lose another one and the both big toes are threatening to go on strike if I shove them into my bike shoes for another 5hr ride (which is coming up next weekend). I’ve got chafe marks/scabs on my neck, arms and back from wearing wetsuits/speed suits in long open water swims. I even have little scars on my rib cage from wearing the heart rate monitor so much. Don’t even talk about saddle sores. All that’s saving me right now are life saving applications of Body Glide and Assos chamois cream. My left hamstring might have developed tendoniopathy or maybe it’s just gotten lazy and doesn’t like to work hard.
I’ve gotten to the point where I just keep all my gear in my car. Instead of taking my clothes, socks and towels to put away in my closet, I just directly deposit them into the back of my car. I’ve got everything sorted into three bags, swim, bike, run. All are stocked with the necessary tools of the trade. I just found it was just easier to dump everything there instead of running back and forth from the house each day, fighting Boss’s attempt at a jail break every time I open the door. Plus, everything smells awful. Imagine all the funk that builds up accessories like the hats, heart rate monitor straps, Fuel Belts and then combine that funk with more funk that transfered from tossing sweaty lycra into duffel bags on the way from the gym/swim/bike/run. Toss in some nice warm days in the sun, and all this turns into an odor that permeates anything and everything.
This weekend has been the longest so far. My life has been pretty busy, leaving the house at 6:30am and often not getting back until 9pm, sometimes later. This has been going on for a couple weeks now. I’ve basically been living on PowerBars and coffee. Everything had been manageable until I found myself stuck in the Longest Weekend.
I decided to break up the weekend into three separate sections.