Best Get Moving.
I spectated the Cozumel Ironman this past Sunday. Inspiring, and a bit insane, this 2.4-mile swim (cut to 1.92 miles due to strong currents), 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run draws all shapes, sizes, ages and personalities. I was impressed that, for most of the athletes I met, this wasn’t their first…or even their second. We’re looking at five, ten, twelve – 20 of these 140.6-mile endurance events for many athletes. My husband was a bit of a novelty, this being his second – with a 20 year span between this and his first race. It seems once you do one Ironman, there’s no going back.
People complained of shin splints, hurt hips, broken toes and torn muscles – and this was even before the race started. Despite these aches and pains, the competitors endured fast ocean currents, 25-mph headwinds on the bike and shin-deep puddles on the run. It got me thinking – since I’ve signed up to be part of this cult of crazies, I better start training like one.
So, I started my training for my first Ironman – the inaugural Boulder scheduled for August 3, 2014 – exactly 9 months prior with a rest day. After all, most endurance athletes find rest one of the hardest aspects of training – so why not start with the greatest challenge? Actually, it was a 13-hour day of travel back to Colorado Springs, so I had little choice. Well, I could have run, cycled or swam when we returned, but I’m not that crazy – yet. I have to train for that.
Day -242: Frigid, and I mean 20-below kind of frigid, temps greeted our return and, again, because I have not yet reached full-on crazy status, this means indoor workouts. I taught a cycle class with an extra 15 minutes of revving in zone 2, strength trained for the back, legs and triceps and finished with a 30-minute core class. The focus now is on building lean muscle mass, dropping a few pounds and building stamina in zones 1 and 2 – the zones that I’ll need to be able to sustain forever during an Ironman.
Day -241: Even more frigid, like freeze-your-nostril-hairs/boiling-water-turns-to-ice in minutes kind of frigid. School cancelled for the kids, so I stayed home with them. Nothing like a snow day to make you appreciate a treadmill and trainer. I fit in an hour on the trainer and a 2-mile run on our treadmill. Mind you, I’ve been training for a January 19th marathon, but suffered what I thought was a calf pull at an October half. While in Cozumel, a physical therapist there for the benefit of the Ironman athletes (I have no shame, I signed up for a little active-release treatment and massage too) had a different diagnosis. The tibialis anterior attachment of my extensor hallucis longus muscle (the big toe muscle) is irritated and tight. What a whiner, I know – and I’ll have to suck that kind of whining up to race in August — but it seriously hasn’t let me run for weeks. I’m stepping down to the half in January, knowing that the last thing I want to do is go into August 3rd injured. So, I’m building miles back up slowly – from square one.
Day -240: The cold is getting old. I made it to the pool for an 2,200-yard workout. I dreaded getting in that water but it felt down-right swampy compared to the outdoors. Later, I pushed through another mile on the treadmill and a strength-workout for chest, biceps and legs.
Day -239: Another pool workout – this time 2,000 meters – and an hour on the trainer. I feel a cold coming on, but this doesn’t jive with my motto of “suck it up buttercup.” I’ve taken a little Umcka – short for umckaloabo and officially called Pelargonium sidoides. It comes from a plant native to South Africa, and is said to cut the common cold short. I’ve used it before with great success.
Official training, meaning a 26-week regimented plan, begins in February – but for now, I’m focused, motivated and just a little panicked. My 2014 race schedule through August 3rd is planned:
- Jan 19th: Phoenix Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon
- April 6th: Platte River half marathon
- June 1st: Elephant Rock 62-mile Ride
- June 14th: Boulder 70.3 Ironman
- June 28th: Tribella Sprint Triathlon
- July 18th-19th: Rocky Mountain Epic Relay
and…August 3rd: Boulder 140.6 Ironman
This isn’t saying I won’t throw in an extra run or short triathlon for good measure, but my focus is on the Ironman. Last year, I raced too much and my results showed it. I learned a lot, but now it’s time to focus.
I’m determine to hear “You are an Ironman” in 239 days … and a few hours.