Are we there yet :)

Interesting time in the training cycle…4 weeks to go to Ironman Florida this Saturday.

And that means, that the ‘training’ part is about done…1 more week, makes it 3 weeks to go, and the risk-averse starting to taper things off either now, or 3 weeks out

…the hard-core/risk-takers, go one more week, and then cut it back with 2 weeks to go…

The long and the short of it is, that whatever fitness we have right now is essentially what we’ll have at the starting line at Ironman Florida…unless we blow it…try to squeeze something more in…and get injured, sick, and don’t have time to fully recover…and we’re getting inside that window now.

Just over a week ago, I was reporting a scratchy throat, turning into some congestion so cut it back to _only_ 11 hours of training last week…I was watching it closely every day, and as I started every workout…never turned into anything really bad, so squeezed in enough training to keep things going without totally standing down…so good

So this week, I wanted to get in 2 key workouts: a long run that I skipped last week, and a long, continuous 2.4 mile swim…that I haven’t gotten in yet…the demons in my head have been carrying on about the swim thing in particular…can I even swim continuously for 1:30-1:45? … the demons bet I may not…

So what did I do?…took another forced day off to start the week…goes to an old training adage that age group athlete’s tend to make the same fatal mistake

…don’t go hard enough when it’s time to go hard…because they can’t…because they don’t go easy enough when it’s time to go easy…

So this past Sunday…still coughing a bit, and contemplating whether I should take off a few days to be ‘safe’…we got the ‘OMG I’M ENGAGED’ phone call from a dear, young friend of ours…ah the optimism of youth 🙂

…we made a quick decision to jump in the car, drive 3 hours, take her out for a celebratory dinner with another couple of close friends, stay overnight, and drive back the next day…Monday.

…so ‘another’ day off from training on Monday

…BTW that second martini on Sunday night was poor judgement…the first one was just sooo smooth…but really not a good idea

…if we didn’t have a 4 hour dinner ahead of us with all the trimmings, including some very fine bottles of wine, it wouldn’t have been as bad an idea…in a bit of good planning however, the restaurant that we chose was in the hotel that we were staying in…that piece of good judgement, made for a much easier trip to bed than it would have been otherwise

So Tuesday long run..2.5 hours…16 miles…3 miles in the center with a bit of intensity just for fun, but pretty easy otherwise…lots left at the end…good

…Wednesday…now that was a tough one…the demons in my head nattering about my ability to even last the 2.4 mile swimming time/distance…keeping me up at night…so I set off to get it done.

…after a 200 yard warm-up, and still somewhat stiff from the long run the day before, after a few laps I wasn’t sure that I was up to it…my stroke count was in the 20-22/25 yard range…on fresher days in a warm-up I can usually finesse it down to 18-20 strokes pretty quickly…but decided it was just the demons, and not reality…so I decided to get it on, and swim until 1:45 came up on the watch or I expired in the attempt

…I swam for 1 hour and 46 minutes in the 25 yard pool of the YMCA…my Swimsense watch tells me that I had a total of 8 minutes of rest breaks…hydration…still that lingering cough/dry throat thing…so swimming time of 1:38…and that I travelled 4,000 yards…so 200 yards short of 2.4 miles…I had no idea how far I had gone…and that I averaged 20 strokes per 25 yards…for 160 lengths of the pool…every 30 seconds or so…wall…turn…gentle pushoff to save the knees…20’ish strokes…counting strokes…keeping the stroke pieces in place…160 lengths…repeat for over 1.5 hours…fun right 🙂

So here’s what I know about my swimming:

  • I can actually swim for 2.4 miles… + …I could have kept on going at the effort level that I was at…who knows for how long…not Cuba-Florida long, but I’d guess that I’d still be swimming an hour later…may not be as pretty anymore, but would still be moving
  • I can keep up a stroke count of right around 20’ish/25 yards for 2.4’ish miles
  • To do that, it’s still pretty d*** slow 😐

Here’s what I don’t yet know about my swimming…the optimist in me asks:

  • how fast am I really without those slow wall turns in a 25 yard pool
  • how much will the extra buoyancy of the wetsuit & salt water help me with keeping my stroke together at a faster stroke rate

So with 4 weeks to go, open water, long course 50M pools, long swims with the wetsuit, all in order to dial in some of the final answers.

As it turns out, my bike and run power/pacing are pretty much dialed in…I have a really strong idea already on where those targets will be on race day…the swim is the last piece.

…as I sit here today, it may come down to a 1:30-1:40 swim target…seems to be about my current 2.4 mile speed for a 18-20 stroke/25 yard efficient stroke…or a 20-22 stroke rate, and _maybe_ a 1:20-1:30 target…so if it’s an extra 2 strokes/25 yards, is it worth it for an extra 10 minutes?…that’s 336 extra strokes

…and Ironman racing is all about patience, and staying inside the lines of ability, and having enough left to nail the run

…so as I sit here today, with 4 weeks to go, I’d probably just enjoy the swim, come out relaxed, put the 336 strokes of energy in the bank, ace the bike, nail the run, and be done

…but I do still have 4 weeks to determine ‘my final answer’

…I _need_ to get into my wetsuit and see what I can _really_ do 🙂

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