Wednesday, October 19, 2011
As the weather starts to change to colder mornings and earlier sun sets it indicates the end of the triathlon season and ushers in the fall activities. Many of my friends over the past several years have used this time to transition training to focus on a marathon. I watched as they used this training build a launching pad to an Ironman the following season. I have joined them on some of the long runs and listen to them as they talk about the building long runs, weekly speed work and trying to stay free from injury. I even made the commitment several years ago when I was able to get into the St. George Marathon and on my 24 mile long run my IT band put me down for several months. I was somewhat glad that it happened because I am really scared of that distance and especially racing it. I have never done a half marathon by itself and by the time I get to the run on a half Ironman I spend more time walking then running (so far, this soon will change).
In signing up for Ironman CDA I know that I will have to change how I race and as much as it will be a physical journey it will be more a mental battle for me to learn how to execute a plan that will get me across the finish line strong and happy. I want to race the entire effort and not put myself into survival mode because I pushed too hard earlier in the day. This has been my reality over the last 3 half Ironman’s that I have done. I have spent more time walking a run course than running the run course. I have spent more time dealing with dehydration and making it to the finish by any means then running a stronger 2nd half of the run then the first. I really don’t care what the time on the clock shows as long as I am able to stay in control of the day. I do not have a problem taking myself beyond my limits and hoping that I can survive and being surprised when I come up short race after race.
So with such a specific goal I have been working with Coach Beth on a marathon training plan that requires me to follow a very detailed training schedule. Not just following a typical speed day, easy day and the normal long run with some cross training we are actually putting a lot more into what I do. We started with a current treadmill test to help me get a current read on my training heart rate zones. Each workout has warm-up levels and specific HR targets to stay in. My running has ramped up and so we are working hard to keep me free from injury . I use the HR alerts training aid on my Garmin 305 and stay loyal to where my workout tells me to be. This last week’s long run had 3 different efforts in the workout and it was fun to work hard to execute to the level that was written in the workout. I am training with 5 others for the Sacramento Marathon in December and all 6 of us are working hard to stay loyal to our training plans. We all did the warm-up together and as we moved into our second zone we split with a couple having to slow down and let the group go on. Falling back in a group run because it’s outside of your effort is one of the hardest things to mentally do. Everyone on that run could stay with the pack but that would mean blowing off the HR effort and not getting the most out of the workout. So at the halfway point I moved from the low side of my range to the high side. I had company join me on this build and so we were now into 3 groups. We had a third increase and by that time I was dropped and stayed loyal to my effort. When my alarm would start beeping I would have to slow down. Anyone within 25 feet of me would hear the alarm and know that I was at the top end of the written effort. I would then slow down and watch as others kept going at the same pace. But I finished the run strong. I executed 100% to what I was told to do and felt great about it.
At breakfast after the run we all joked about how we all went from staying with the group to stay more loyal to our written effort for the workout. I am excited to see how this progresses for we are only 6 weeks away. Even more exciting is that I get to run this race with Anne. This will be her 2nd Marathon and watching her build last year and then race was simply awesome. Being able to do a lot of the training runs with her has made this journey better for me and for us. She has such a smooth run and makes it look effortless even though I know she is working hard.
Love you Anne,