I just wrapped up week 10 of my training plan. It hit me this week, that though the building of volume and the adding of miles and time has been very well done and gradual, I have officially left my comfort zone.
My training sessions during the week are now longer and more intense than I would do on my own, or have ever done for that matter.
My long runs and rides are also more than I would do if left to do my own Saturday long run or ride.
They are the length that leave me sore and fatigued and are mentally challenging at times. Especially the trainer rides. I really have to push myself to get through those. I can knock out a long run of 8-12 miles with relative ease, but now that I am over that, I feel the effects later in the day, or even a few days later.
I am to the stage of training where things start to hurt. This week it was a lot. My shoulder which has been an ongoing issue was really bad. I finally decided to get it checked out. I went to a Sports Medicine Orthopedist who told me that it is in fact not my shoulder, but my neck. I have at some point developed what is more or less arthritis in my neck between disks C6-C7. There is really nothing you can do about it, just generally avoid whatever makes it hurt. In my case it is biking that aggravates it. Where I am not about to give up cycling, the doctor says just do whatever I can or want, but know that it is going to hurt as it is more or less pinching a nerve that causes the shoulder pain. Lovely. I am not showing any signs of permanent damage, so I am free to train and race as I please, but knowing that it will hurt. Great!
I finished a 13 mile run yesterday and as I have started to have just minor aches and pains with my longer runs, I wore compression sleeves over my calves. Well, that took care of the pain or niggles in that area, but my ankle gave me hell. My left ankle has been an issue since high school. Any time I over use it, it complains for a bit and then is fine. So I didn't think anything of it till I woke up this morning to find that it was not only a bit sore, but bruised and slightly swollen too. What the crap? Ironman training just might kill me at this rate!
It's the stage of training where you bust out the KT tape, take ibuprofen with more frequency, use the foam roller religiously, and hit the sack earlier than you already do. All while trying to not eat everything in sight :)
But, I am one to look at the positive. I am thankful to be able to do what I do. I am thankful for my health and body that allow me to abuse it over and over again and have it bounce back for more.
What have I learned in training lately?
-I have changed up my run nutrition just slightly. I have always stuck to a Gu every 45 minutes or so. However, in reading that most triathletes need to take in 200-300 calories/hour during a triathlon. I do this on the bike, but not the run. I decided to tweak this a little and see if I noticed a difference. I now take a Gu every 3 miles instead of every 4. I also sip Gatorade Endurance in between Gu's. The Gatorade has been working well on the bike, so I decided to see how it goes on the run as well. So when I carry my 4 bottle hydration belt, two of those are water and two are Gatorade. The past two weeks I have done this and I have noticed increased energy on the runs. Nothing drastic, but I have noticed that I don't feel like complete death at the end of the run or during. Plus, as weird as it sounds, it helps break up the run for me. I can say to myself, "Only 2 more miles till my next Gu/Gatorade". Hey, its the little things, right?
So, there are 83 days until Ironman Texas. Here's to getting comfortable being uncomfortable and hoping this body holds up in the process. Happy Training and racing all!