Ironman training update

It’s been over a month since posting a note. Sad to say I needed an attitude adjustment, and it took this long for the negative thoughts to go away. From the beginning I was told this race is won by playing a mind game, but I was not prepared for how difficult that game is to play.

Mine really started after a six week hiatus from swimming. Healing my shoulder tendon injury took longer than anticipated. Back in the pool, sluggish and completely out of form. In the slow lane huffing and puffing after two laps, with everyone passing me. Very discouraging.

For a time I wished the Tempe Lake would not be fixed, then the race would be canceled and the pressure to compete would be gone. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to pull the training together.

Thankfully I have a few great coaches, one in particular (Kim) proved to be priceless. Her theory is to swim slow and to adjust the goal – don’t be the fastest, rather swim faster than the allocated time (2h/20m) and get out of the water pain free and relaxed. With that mind set I started swimming. First with a float, which helped strengthen my shoulder. Then about three weeks ago the float was ditched, and today I swam 2600 meters. A first. At this rate I’ll be @ 2.4 miles (about 4,000 meters) within two weeks. Enough time for the IMAZ.

Cycling and running brought their own mind games too.
With cycling I became very discouraged with my slow centuries; each nine hours, and after 7 hours on the bike different types of pain kicks in – a burning fireball hits my right shoulder blade. Feet go numb. Knees start hurting. So each week I needed the bike to be re-fitted and the shoe cleats adjusted. Last Sunday I rode 65 miles in five hours, kicking up my mph from 11 to 13. Now I’m working to average 15 mph.

As for running, I needed to find enjoyment in it and to eliminate blisters and toe nails from falling off. Last Saturday (after swimming a mile) I ran for 2h/45m, partly in the rain then in the heat. Too hot. After two hours I went into a grocery store to get a protein drink. I was so red that the produce manager thought something was wrong with me and had me sit in the cooler for 5 minutes. At first it seemed unnecessary, but instantly appreciated the kind gesture.

In the end my running challenges were solved with new shoes, new socks, a hydration belt, vaseline, and the rain. Yesterday I put them all together. Smeared vaseline between my toes, put on the new shoes, sock, wore the hydration belt and ran in the pouring rain. It was GREAT. Only four miles. About 50 minutes. Still slow, about 12 mph, but it was so much fun. The best part was running past two elementary schools and watching the bundled kids walking slowing to school. I on the other hand felt like a kid playing in the rain. Pure enjoyment.

Still not sure how it’s all going to come together, but during this home stretch I’m feeling far more positive than negative.

The next six weeks will be action packed. Next Sunday running the Long Beach 1/2 marathon. The following Sunday racing in the Challenged Athletes Foundation triathlon (same distance as a 1/2 Ironman). I still have to practice swimming with a wet suit. Do 3-5 open water swims. Run a 15 & 18 mile practice. Ride one more century, and practice riding with racing tires. Then once a week do a brick practice (riding 2-5 hours then running 1-3 hours). It’d be great if I could get to Tempe and ride the course. Not sure how to fit that in. Best of all, some how, some way I’ll get a massage or two. Life is good.