My legs were tired, it was hot and humid, the wind was blowing and I was riding behind Karel on his new Speed Concept.
33 days until Kona and I think I just finished one of my hardest training blocks ever.
Thank you BODY!
5 hour ride + 15 min run
1 hour warm-up, building to 10 watts below IM pace (legs took a while to warm-up thanks to the stress I placed on my body from Saturday's 3:15 bike + 9.5 mile run).
35 min IM pace w/ 5 min EZ
Main set 3x's:
35 minutes @ Half IM pace (watts) w/ 4 minutes in between (see below of details of this set)
Steady riding upper Z2 until finished
Total hours: 4:58
15 min run off the bike (RPE 75-80%, ended up holding 8-8:15 min/miles)
Since Karel is training for a half IM (Miami 70.3 in the end of October), his training is a bit different than mine right now. He ran 1 hour before the bike and then joined me on my 2nd interval. After I did 35 minutes of riding at my IM pace and then recovered for 5 minutes, Karel joined me and we were ready for the main set.
The duration for the main sets has grown over the past few weeks and no more am I feeling the "low" I use to feel around 2.5 hours during my long rides. While training for IM Lake Placid, I knew that my endurance was going to come slowly after not running for 90 days (Feb - April) due to my chronic hip/back issues. But I continue to focus on the CANs with my exercise/training routine and enjoying everyday with my healthy, pain free body. Now, I feel my endurance is better than ever and since the training is getting very intense and specific, I am super mindful of resting my body before I really need to rest it. I really love the progression that Karel has given me with my training for it was a work in progress. I spent all last year working on my speed as Karel did not want me to do an IM but instead work on the little things that will improve my endurance. Hence, get faster before you go longer. I remember blogging last year about doing my first Olympic distance tri in 4 years! Oh the nerves!! Then there was The Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater . Then another Olympic distance tri (first time for Karel!). And then I was able to put it all together at Branson 70.3
Anyways, the body is an amazing thing and I don't feel it is always respected. It takes a lot of time to train the body and mind, not only in athletics but with anything in life. You just have to have patience and I think our society loves quick fixes. Our society wants something to happen today just like.
Sometimes we have to shut up the mind to make the body go that extra mile to get stronger but many times, we don't listen to the body when it is speaking.
I feel athletes are no more stubborn than the rest of the population for many people push the body (or don't listen to it) when it needs to rest or slow down. I think for many of us, we just don't want to miss out on life and because of that, this is the reason why we should listen and constantly pay attention to the body and what we choose to feed it, do with it and most importantly, how we speak to it.
On Sunday, my main set was more than just 35 minutes at Half IM pace. It involved no tail wind (thanks to Karel choosing country roads with the long blades of grass blowing right at me or to my side) and very little shade from the heat. It was perfect Kona prep and Karel constantly reminded me what I was about to do with my body in Kona in about 4 weeks for 140.6 miles. "It's not going to be easy Marni. You can never beat the wind."
Riding with Karel is amazing. I can't tell you how much I learn and benefit from him as a cat 1 cyclist for many many years. His knowledge of bikes is one thing as well as his passion for anything on two wheels but it is his attention to details and tactics that really make him so smart as an athlete.
The set was as follows:
10 minutes of me in front riding half IM pace.
Then Karel would go in front and hold a similar pace (he did this workout for me so he obviously wasn't pushing his watts) and I had to stay draft legal (7 meters) behind Karel. He wanted me to pay attention to my speed and watts and to stay draft legal but still be "competitive" with who was in front of me. This is something I have a hard time with as I typically stay a bit too focused on myself and don't take a lot of risks when it comes to being pushed by the other girls who pass me. Karel wanted me to be relentless within my own ability and I felt like this was one of the hardest sets I have ever done and it really pushed my limits (physically and mentally).
I repeat myself quite often but the thought in my mind is that I am always grateful for what my body allows me to do. There have been many times in my life when I have wanted to give up - when things aren't easy, when obstacles arise or when it seems like everyone else has it easier than me.
For the past few years, I have experienced a lot in life and I owe it all to my body. We go to great lengths to reach goals together and because of it, I have really taken advantage of life.
I constantly remind myself that my body does not have to let me do "this". When I train I push my body and challenge myself. I get sore, tired and rely on sport nutrition because I am depleting my body of nutrients, fluids and electrolytes. I see patients in the hospital who are too tired to get out of bed, lay in pain, are unable to think straight and feel miserable - not because they just did a marathon or an IM or biked 100 miles that day but because their body is failing them at that time.
This morning I received an email from a Trimarni follower and it 100% sums up everything I believe in. With permission from Sarah S. I wanted to share this note from her which she shares her thoughts after finishing her first Ironman distance triathlon. There's a great lesson in thanking the body.
I started Ironman Arizona last November but DNF'd due to dehydration about 100 miles into the bike....Rev 3 Cedar Point was my redemption race.
First of all though, you really have changed the way I think about my body and my relationship with food. I don't come from an athletic background at all....I couldn't run over a mile until 2009, never really rode a bike until 2010 and couldn't swim a lap until 2011. So this has been quite the journey!
I never have had a healthy relationship with food but reading your blog has taught me that as athletes especially food is FUEL and we need to treat our bodies right. Also, thanks to you the whole day yesterday I kept reminding myself to thank my body for being awesome.
When it got hard (which it did a lot) and I wasn't preforming how I *thought* I should, or going as fast as I had hoped, instead of being angry at my body or dragging myself down, like I used to do, I thanked my body for letting me get through training and for carrying me through this race.
In the past I would have felt bad for myself and thought "you're so slow, you're near the back, why do you even do this?" but yesterday not a single negative thought entered my mind the whole day.
I spent hours thanking my legs and my lungs and encouraging my body to keep moving forward. It's still a new way of thinking for me, but I love it!
How did Sarah's race turn out? Here's the end of her race report:
Miles 18-22 were the worst, I just gritted my teeth and used every single ounce of grit and determination and will I could to move one foot in front of the other. With about 4 miles to go I started feeling good again! I actually did a little bit of slow running and let myself get a tiny bit excited about finishing but not too much because I still had over an hour to go at my pace. I could see the lights of cedar point getting closer and soon I could see and hear the finish line. Miraculously once I got in the chute all the pain vanished and I was able to run again. I took it all in…everyone cheering my name like I was a rockstar and the tears started flowing….I did it! A 6:23 marathon isn't what I hoped for (about an hour slower) but it didn't matter, I was so proud of myself. After 15:19 of swim, bike, and run! I am an Ironman! After years of training and a DNF last year, I did it. It was the hardest day of my life and nothing anyone can do or say will prepare you for how deep you have to dig out there. I am just so proud of myself!