Week 7 - Back to the Grind {Steven’s Ironman Experience}

Back to the grind (physically AND mentally)! After really slacking off last week as I recovered after my race, the plan for this week was to get back on track with my training. The weekend started off with a long ride (planned for 3 ½ hours) and an hour of swimming on Saturday followed by a 2 ½ run on Sunday. My times/distances during the week have been kept to about an hour and a half at the most just to keep my fitness up while I build my endurance with the long workouts on the weekends.

My Saturday ride started off great until about mile 25 when I got a flat tire. I’m not really sure what I hit as it was just a slow leak and I didn’t find anything stuck in my tire. After a quick tube change, I was back up and going. At about mile 30 though, the heat started getting to me and I could feel my energy levels continue to fall. I just didn’t eat enough that morning to sustain me for the length of that ride. About mile 35, I ended up having to stop at a store for a Gatorade and some candy just to get some sugar back in my system. That helped a little but I ended up cutting my workout about an hour short. I just wasn’t quite ready to push that hard only 6 days post-race. After the ride and mowing the yard to “recover”, I had nothing left in me to go swim so I decided to put that off to Sunday.

Going off my workout from the previous day, I decided to go a little easier on the run. I planned to add several walking segments in to make sure I didn’t hit the wall again. For my 2 ½ run, the plan was to run for 25 minutes and then walk for 5. I started out around 11am as I am trying to build up my heat tolerance as well. I felt great for the first 6-7 miles but then my legs really started feeling heavy. I kept trying to push through the fatigue to make it to the next walking segment. Finally, I started feeling a little bit of pain in my previously injured ankle. After spending 4 months in physical therapy trying to get my ankle completely healed, I decided that this was not something I wanted to risk running through. I ended up just walking the last hour and finished the day around 13 miles even with the walk breaks mixed in.

At this point, I was a little disappointed that 2 workouts in a row had not gone as planned. I was hoping I could turn it around with an easy swim but no such luck. The pool was packed and there were about 15 people crammed into the 4 swim lanes available for lap swimming. I ended up having to wait around for a space to open up before I could finally get in. By this time, the pool was getting ready to close so I ended up only getting about 30 minutes in. I ended up 0 for 3 for the weekend on hitting my workout goals.

With a planned rest day on Monday, it gave me a chance to really recover from the rough weekend and just sit back and relax. I told myself I would get back on track on Tuesday. Well, Tuesday’s weather ruined my run so Wednesday’s ride turned into a brick workout with a 25 mile bike ride immediately followed by a 5K run. I must have really needed that extra day off because that was the best I ever felt while running after getting off the bike.

Even though my workouts didn’t go exactly as planned, I did what I could. The worst thing at this point would be to try to push myself too hard and end up getting sick/injured. I will gladly take a missed workout on 1 day over being forced to miss a week or more because I tried to do too much. The next few weeks are going to be just as challenging mentally as they are physically because I have no major events to look forward until my race, which is now only 43 days out. Still far enough that I am not nervous about it yet but also close enough that I know I have a lot of work to get done before it gets here.

Steven Harben
Recreation Programmer
City of Wylie