Well, I simply could NOT resist. I bit the bullet and signed up for Ironman Louisville again. I was lacking serious motivation in my training sessions throughout the month of April/May, so I spoke with coach about it. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get pumped about small races that I was contemplating doing. Coach laid it out to me in just a few simple words..."You're an Ironman athlete. That's what you are, it's what you've become." Wow, you know what coach? You are absolutely right. Nothing motivates me quite like 140.6. I love having 3000+ athletes around me. Not 70. I love the buzzing finish line, the roaring crowds, the amazing atmosphere. Most importantly, I love the challenge, I love the journey and that second you cross the finish line exhausted from a hard day's battle...it's what motivates me. Like nothing else. This is why I do it.
He me to think about it. Give it a week. I'll up the training and then after a week, let's see where we are. He bumped up my training that week and all of the sudden...I was feeling motivated again. I would get chills in this summer heat while riding just thinking about racing long distance again. That's when I knew. I had to do Ironman again.
So, I'm registered. All good except, less than 8 weeks to train! EEEEK! Normally, Rich will have me train around five to six months for an Ironman. WOW! Bring it coach.
Coach designed a plan to fit my needs and it's basically a peak plan. I am peaking each and every weekend. I had a fairly solid base already which is good. With two late season Ironman races last year, I went into the winter months still getting in some pretty solid sessions, so I kept my fitness up. I started half ironman training in March, so was relatively fit already. Otherwise, I may not have been up for this challenge. AND...challenge it certainly is!!
Every week I have nine training sessions. Five e2 sessions, which are easy endurance. Three tough speed sessions for swim/bike/run and ONE looooong bike or run session every weekend. So, each weekend I will have either a long run from 18-20 miles, and the following weekend will be my 85-100 mile bike. Peak training. In my normal Ironman training (6 months) I would only do two long sessions a month up until the last couple months. This block is so much harder. I try to recover as much as possible in between. I keep my easy sessions easy, dedicate myself to the hard sessions, and give my absolute best effort in the long sessions.
The long bikes and runs have been really tough with the summer heat. Especially the long runs. I embrace the suck in these sessions though as Ironman Louisville is usually a scorcher. It was 104 degrees when I raced Louisville in 2010, and that year IMLOU had the the highest DNF rate Ironman to date because of the heat. However, people know this about Louisville, so just all part of the game. I have to really dial back pace to keep my heart rate down in my training sessions.
I do listen to my body and I rest as much as possible. I feel truly blessed to have a body that handles the tremendous work load that I have recently placed upon it. I went from three hour rides to six hours rides with no build in-between. From nine mile runs to eighteen mile runs with no build in between. That's quite the jump and my body has made the transition pretty smoothly. Some typical soreness and muscle aches, but am pretty dang lucky thus far. No niggles. No injuries.
The hardest part of this is the fatigue. I have to be very careful not to cross the line with this. I have to make smart choices. Actually, coach makes those choices for me, thankfully. No time trial for me last week, and this is why. My training is set in place and I have to stick to it like glue.
So far, all is going well and now I only have two more weeks of the craziness. Then it's taper time. I am more than excited to be racing my 5th Ironman in a few weeks especially this one. Louisville was my first Ironman and even though it's hot, hilly and tough, it's a very special place for me. That's why I keep going back and I'm really looking forward to it.
Ironman Augusta 70.3 will follow four weeks after IMLOU. I'm looking forward to that one too :)