Tuesday, April 12, 2016

DOING WORK

Train with lions. Right? EEEK!
I'm back! Well, I wasn't really ever too far away from it.  I guess 'back to the grind'  would be a more accurate statement. Back to what I love most. I love long distance and am over the moon with my decision to do Ironman again. It's just who I am.

I look at everything that I have done over the last six months since my last Ironman and am so content. I had such a nice break and a much needed one. Although my running intensified in every way, easy time on the bike and in the pool have paid some pretty big dividends so far.
Recovery ride after Blackrock
Last year, I focused on becoming a better more solid cyclist and through time trailing really developed some good strength and also great confidence. Winning the series last year in my AG was pretty exciting and I am contemplating on doing some more of these this season for training. They really are good for training! Anyway, last week, coach had me do my good ole CP20. I always dread these, but kind of look forward to them at the same time. They hurt, but as cyclists we want to know where we are in our fitness.  I was unsure of where my bike strength was having only cycled very easy and short distances over these last 6 months. During my warm up, I began to dread what was about to come. These tests are important to see where your bike fitness is. Since I am really just now starting to train, I didn't really want to see power lower than last year or even the year before, but I was prepared for it. After a quick warm up it was go time. Full throttle. For 20 minutes. I don't do anything half-assed and this test is not the time to wimp out.  You just suck it up, push and know it's going to hurt like hell. The first ten minutes weren't too killer, then 12, then 14. OMG this is starting to hurt. Push, power, push, breathe, don't vomit. Oh, you just vomited a little. Swallow it. Breathe. All good. OOHHH, this hurts.  I imagined myself in the time trial. The last lap. Pushing. I thought my legs were going to blow----one more minute. You can, you can. Grunt, snort, blow, vomit. DONE! I rolled off the bike and was in the position below for about 10 minutes before I could move. Work hurts. If it doesn't hurt, it certainly doesn't change you and that is something that I have become very comfortable with in the last year and a half. Pain.

Vomit level & not able to move ;) 
I was finally able to stumble down to coach and take him my power meter. I couldn't even look because I didn't want to see low numbers. You can imagine my surprise when he told me it was my highest power test yet. Higher than last year!?!?? I haven't been training and I was able to power through my CP20 and have my highest numbers yet??? What???  Over 250 FTP is pretty exciting and going into a flat race this fall...exactly where I want to be early season. I am pretty ecstatic with that. I have just started training, so I really was shocked. I read recently that time off the bike is the key to getting stronger. I now believe that. Although I cycled throughout the winter, it was short and easy. A few strength sessions here and there. I also think that my leg strength has improved a lot. With the trail running, mountain running and all the strength and conditioning work this year...these things have made a big difference. In running and cycling. I'm seeing super huge gains in my running and all of the trail running has really made me stronger. I love hills now. Prefer them to flat actually. I am running fitter and faster than I have ever run before and I couldn't be happier. On the trails the pace is a little slower, but when translated to the pavement, I am sometimes really surprised.  I have gained so much confidence in my running and am planning to continue trail racing throughout the summer for training. I have had some achilles tendonitis flares from Table Rock and Blackrock, but it's manageable and actually starting to get better (hopefully). I was planning on NOT doing Leatherwood Ultra, but my AT is feeling better, so am putting in back on the schedule. Looking forward to that one. It's on my old turf and old training grounds. My swimming is consistent as always, and I am happy with where my swims are. Only able to swim 2x weekly at the moment, but not planning on killing myself in the pool this year. I need to build back some swim endurance, but that's about it. Speed is good. Strength is good. Just need to go from those comfy 2800yd swims back to the longer ones.

Long runs are on the trails these days
Next month is Quest for the Crest Vertical 10k, as long as the AT is ok, still doing it. Leadville in June may or may not happen. With the new job starting for me, it's going to be tough to make it work, but it's not out of the picture just yet. Still planning on the Xterra Series and also now on the waitlist for The Bear and The Scream. Ironman in October, then perhaps some more run races late in the year.

This year is about having lots of fun. Not that it's not always fun, but sometimes we tend to put too much pressure on ourselves as amateur athletes. It really is all about having fun and in having fun, sometimes we become better all around than when we take things too seriously. I want to be as strong as I can, have as much fun as I can and enjoy every minute of the ride. Being able to do what I do at 42 is pretty freaking awesome. Being able to show my kids this...means everything.

Cheers~

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