Kona training - long workouts

I can't believe it.
We are just two weeks away from the 2015 Ironman World Championship.
Over the past week, every now and then, it hits me and I have to take a long exhale to calm my nerves and to bottle up my excitement.

In 14 days, Karel and I, and 1500+ age group and professional triathletes from around the world, will start our  140.6 mile journey on the hot and windy island of Kona, Hawaii.

With every Ironman journey, I learn a lot about myself.
This journey has been unique and special in that I had so much fun training my races this season and I had three great performances to help me re-discover my love for racing.
I also really enjoyed how my body responded to all of the workouts.
And many of those workouts were not easy!!
I've never swam so much before, I've never ran so much before and I've never climbed on my bike so much before.
And despite the training load that I accomplished week after week for the past 11 weeks, I've never felt so strong, durable, resilient and healthy before.....And I remained injury and sickness-free.
Thank you body!

This time around, the biggest change for me was that I had a different mindset with my 10th Ironman journey.
Whereas I put in more time training for this Ironman than ever before, I never had "speed" on my mind.
For the first time in my Ironman journey, I stopped trying to get faster.

If there is one thing that I have learned in training for 9 Ironman's (including 3 Ironman World Championships) from 2006-2014 is that Ironman racing requires a lot more than being fast. Actually, for most of us, you don't really have to be "fast" to do well in (or finish) an Ironman.

A successful Ironman race is the one where fatigue is postponed as much as possible.
A great Ironman performance is when you can keep your body from slowing down as much as possible.
If your body is strong, durable, resilient and healthy when you stand at the start line of your Ironman, you can assure yourself that you are ready for the 140.6 miles that you need to cover to reach the finish line.

Speed can help you cross a finish line quickly in a short distance race but in Ironman racing, a lot more is needed from your body than being "fast" in order to cross the finish line.

For this entire season, I never once trained in order to "be faster." I removed all pressure to train in order to see a drop in time in my swimming and running paces or to see an increase in speed with my cycling.

With a huge weight lifted off my back with every workout, I felt so much more freedom this season because I choose to think differently as to what I wanted to accomplish with every workout.

Week after week, month after month, I found myself recovering faster and faster from workouts. I never carried around lingering fatigue and I found myself always excited to train (sure, some days were a bit tougher than others). I constantly felt my endurance improving with a better ability to pace myself (and even push hard in the end of long workouts). I also felt great form throughout my workouts.
And most of all, I constantly found myself enjoying my workouts because I was carrying a new definition of "successful" to describe a great workout.

And you know what?
I got faster this season while training for the Ironman.

Funny how that mind-stuff works (thanks Dr. G!).

Karel and I sweated it out on the trainers this morning due to rainy and cool conditions in Greenville this morning.
After the ride, it was time for a brick run.

Our last "long" brick is behind us after a great (and needed) recovery week and our next ride on our tri bikes will be in Kona Hawaii on Wednesday!!!

As promised in my last blog post, here are my long workouts for the past 11 weeks of training
(Karel and I didn't do the same miles/time for all of our workouts so this is just my training).
Now if only I can control all these emotions!
I'm trying to keep myself calm with all this excitement and control my pre-race nerves.
No regrets - I feel prepared and ready to go.

Ironman Kona Training
(weekend workouts)

9/26-9/27 - 2 weeks out Saturday: 3:15 hour trainer ride + 4.5 mile run (36:31)
Sunday (planned workout): AM: 30 min spin + 90 minute run + PM: 3500 yard swim (all swims below are in the PM).

9/19-9/20 - 3 weeks out
Saturday: 5:20 ride (92 miles) + 4 mile run (32:40)

Sunday: 2:03 (14.8 miles)

9/12-9/13 - 4 weeks out

Saturday: 5:05 ride (85 miles) + 5.9 mile run (47:28)

Sunday: 1:50 run (13.1 miles)

9/5-9/6 - 5 weeks out

Saturday: 3:07 ride (52 miles) + 4 mile run (31:42)

Sunday: 2:09 bike (37.5 miles) + 15.5 miles (2:08) - Longest run focused brick and longest run

8/29-8/30 - 6 weeks out

Saturday: 3:15 ride (56 miles) + 4 mile run (35:02)

Sunday: 1:45 run (12.3 miles) + 3800 yard swim

8/22-8/23 - 7 weeks out

Boulder train-cation - Biggest weekly training load

8/15- 8/16  - 8 weeks out

Saturday: 3:13 (58 miles) + 6.9 mile run (59:58)

Sunday: travel day

8/8-8/9 - 9 weeks out

Saturday: 100 mile ride (6:06) + 5.5 mile run (45:36) - Longest bike-focused brick and longest ride

Sunday: 1:27 run (10.3 miles) + 3800 yard swim

8/1-8/2 - 10 weeks out

Saturday: 4:50 ride (92 miles) + 2 mile run (17:48)

Sunday: 1:55 (13.1 mile run)

7/25 - 11 weeks out

Lake Placid train cation - Kick-off Kona training

A few notes:
-All of my bike/run workouts were outside except for today's ride on the trainer. I only train on hilly roads.
-All of my runs were by myself and I did about 50% of my long rides alone (otherwise I rode with Karel but not always "with" him).
-Our typical elevation profile when we ride is around 1000-1500 feet of climbing per one-hour of cycling and around 50-150 feet elevation gain per one-mile of running.
-We swim ~3-5 times per week with a few of those being evening swims and on the weekends.
-I typically ran between 8-11 miles once during the week and Wednesday's were typically a longer mid-week brick this summer.
-We did strength training year round with our periodized strength training plan.
-Every workout had a main set/focus.
-Only once on the bike (100 miles) and once on the run (15 miles) did I train just for a total mileage. Everything else was by time.
-I use sport nutrition products for ALL of my workouts. It doesn't matter how short, I have some type of sport nutrition powder in my bottles.
-I spend about 5-10 minutes warming up my body before solo run workouts with dynamic stretching/mobility. Aside from rolling my back once or twice this year, I never use the foam roller or trigger point set.
-My first massage in over a year was in September this year. Karel and I had only 3 massages this year(one being this Monday), all in September. 

-I haven't been sick since 2007, haven't missed a menstrual cycle each month (naturally) since 2007 and haven't had an injury since May 2013 (since then completed 4 Ironman's). Thank you body!