training · Updates

Muscle Memory is a Good Thing

Where do you start when you are in the middle of something? I have the best intentions of writing regular updates and then don’t get around to it. The best blog posts come while I’m out running. I haven’t figured out how to dictate and audio memo to my phone to turn all those profound musings into something readable. Of course as soon as I get done all the words vanish.

But here we are into July already. In my head I said the middle of June. Whoops! One thing I’ve learned about training for an Ironman is that it is no joke. I mean I already knew that (in theory) but in practice it is something else entirely. I’ve sloughed my way through a 70.3 before. There is no way for me to finish and be a slacker with the training. I lost over four weeks to bronchitis and exhaustion. On Sunday, May 11, I started a “barking” cough that I thought was allergy related. I was very wrong. I slept for the better part of the first three days. By the end of the week I had gone to the doctor, who confirmed it was bronchitis and thankfully showed no signs of pneumonia. He wrote an antibiotics prescription for “just in case” I got a secondary sinus infection. I picked it up a few days later. I’d have to say it was one of the worst sinus infections I’ve ever had. And I’ve had many over the years. There was so much pressure in my head my cheekbones, teeth and molars, and bridge of my nose hurt.

I was just over the worst of the bronchitis and still on antibiotics when I flew out to Colorado to visit our youngest and to take part in a brand ambassador retreat for Skirt Sports. I had a good time while out there and started getting active again. I swam a mile one day, went on a 5-mile hike and walked a few miles another, and later ran a 10k and summited the Manitou Incline on the same day. Hindsight (and my knees) let me know that I overdid it that week. I came home exhausted and slept for another couple of days. My knees, on the other hand, have been complaining loudly about any kind of exercise since. Being the savvy web searcher I am I asked “Dr Google” for help with “diagnosing” my knee pain. A best guess would have been bursitis based on how everything felt. Treatment is ice (I didn’t do it), anti-inflammatories (I avoid if I can) and rest. I could not take any more time to rest. On the worst days I would use the topical CBD product from iKOR Labs that came in our ambassador retreat swag bags. I was impressed with how well it helped. (Making a mental note to buy a stronger topical CBD cream.) After four weeks the ache now has finally all but disappeared, with the exception of biking days. After that they hurt all over again.

At the top of the Manitou Incline, Sunday, 03 June 2019

So how is training actually going now? The month I lost has taken its toll. Honestly, my arms feel like jelly after each swim, and my swim pace isn’t speeding up like I want or need it to. The cool wet spring kept open water swimming options to ‘zero.’ Now that summer heat has come and local lakes have warmed up I can try to swim outside. The bike schedule tells me I should be riding for four hours this weekend. I will be able to manage three and be totally spent afterward. The good news is that my legs are getting stronger. That has shown up in an increase in my average speed. I have gained an average 0.4 mph since early March on mostly flat terrain. I would like to see that reach 1 mph by race day. In practical terms that (or each) 1 mile-per-hour increase in speed takes about 25 minutes off my finish time. I am riding with a rear rack and storage trunk, plus my flat kit and whatever self-supported aid I need right now and that adds a few extra pounds that will not be there come race day. The stronger hips from riding have also helped with my run. I’ve increased my pace for short runs. The struggle is trying to stay at an even pace. I’ve found myself running 2-3 minutes per mile faster than I did for Gazelle Girl. While I would love to get and keep that pace right now it’s just not sustainable for 26.2 miles. Long runs have been a struggle because of the pain in my knees as long run day follows a long riding day. My plan going into this was to do the marathon as a run/walk and being consistent with pace for both of those will be key.

The good news is once your body and muscles get moving again they remember what they need to do and bounce back pretty quickly. I have just over 10 weeks of solid training left then two weeks of taper begins. It’s all too far away still to worry. And my confidence is high that I will finish.

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