Weekend wrap-up: 19 days out from Kona

What a great feeling to be starting my less than 20-day countdown until the 2015 Ironman World Championship with a healthy and strong body and mind. 

On paper, this past week of Kona training was tough and not to mention, our hilly terrain makes everything tougher when we train.
But I'm not complaining - training for my 10th Ironman in my new city/state of Greenville, SC has been so much fun! There is never a shortage of bike routes to keep me entertained and I just love all my running hill courses for running (in addition to being 2 miles from Furman University).
 Monday was a needed day off from cardio (a little PM mobility strength) and Tuesday was a 8.7 mile AM form focused run and 4100 yard PM swim. On Wednesday, Karel and I did a higher intensity bike with 2 x 20 minute best effort intervals w/ 10 min EZ spin in between and we followed our 2:42 bike with a form focused 3.5 mile run.
Thursday was a speedy 4400 yard AM swim with 3 rounds of 8 x 100's strong effort and then in the evening, I did a very super duper EZ 4 mile run before my massage.
On Thurs evening, our athlete Joe came in town to train with Karel for 3 days and they did a 2 hour PM ride on Thursday evening (followed by Sidewall Pizza in downtown Traveler's Rest).
We all went for a 2 hour ride (which was rather technical - but still beautiful and fun) on Friday morning and then Karel and Joe went for a 13 mile interval run. I passed on the run to rest my body for the weekend and in the evening, we all had a delicious dinner from made on our grill while watching the ITU race on TV from Chicago. 

The guys made burgers and I had a delicious grilled portobello mushroom (cooked on the vegetarian-friendly side of the grill) topped with rosemary hummus and pepper jack cheese on top dark leafy greens, steamed veggies with butter and salt, mixed beans and grilled peppers and onion.

On Saturday morning, we set out for what was planned to be a 4 hour ride that Karel planned for us......but because Karel had never done part of the route before, he didn't realize that part of the route was on a gravel road. Opps! We realized this when the road ended as we were cycling. Karel discovers new routes all the time with Mapmyride but sometimes, a fun road turns into no road and I was not entertained by the thought of riding on gravel, 3 weeks out from Kona. Karel said he will explore that gravel road by himself on another ride - post Kona.

Anyways, we started our ride from our house and we headed up Ceaser's Head. Karel rode steady while Joe and I sat on Karel's wheel. Thanks to me having fresher legs than the guys, I managed to hang-on for the ride. Karel pulled me up Ceaser's Head and I clocked my fastest ever time up that mountain - 39 minutes for 6.3 miles!
After a quick stop to refill bottles, we headed down the other side of Ceaser's Head and entered North Carolina. Although we had to adjust Karel's planned route, the ride was still so beautiful. I just love riding in North Carolina - the pavement is so smooth!

Because of our little detour, the ride ended up being a bit longer than planned but we all had enough fuel and hydration and with 2 stops to refill bottles along our route, we finished strong with 5 hours and 20 minutes of riding, 92 miles and 11,000-ish feet of climbing.

After the ride, Karel and Joe ran an EZ 15 minute run off the bike and I finished off my brick with 4 strong miles.

On Sunday morning, we were all feeling a bit beat-up but thank goodness for having others for accountability and motivation. The temperature really warmed up on Saturday and Sunday so it was great for Karel and I do not have to layer-up for our long run.

We all started the run together for the first 4 miles with a 30-second walk break each mile to help wake-up the body and postpone fatigue.
After the first 4 miles, Karel and Joe continued on with a form-focused run (they picked it up the last few miles for their 1:40 run) and I started my set on a very rolling hill course: 

4 mile EZ warmup (with Joe and Karel)

MS 3xs: 
20 min at Ironman effort
5 min strong 
2 min walk recovery, then repeat MS

EZ jog cool down
Total: 14.82 miles, 2:03, 1100 feet of climbing

Splits from the run:
MS: (first 3 splits/paces are from the 20 minutes at IM effort and the last split is the pace for the 5 minutes strong)
7:31, 8:05, 7:40, 7:07 min/mile
2 min walk
7:44, 8:04, 8:14, 7:22 min/mile
2 min walk
7:48, 7:28, 8:28, 7:13
Last .7 miles - 8:57

I couldn't be more pleased with how my body is performing right now but also, how it has handled the training throughout this entire season. It's hard to believe that I started my training for the season with our foundation plan back in November 2014 and now Karel and I are less than 3 weeks until our last race of the season!

By far, this has been my most favorite Ironman journey. I have really enjoyed the challenging workouts and the specific progression of training phases but also, sharing this entire journey with Karel.

I am so thankful for what my body has allowed me to do this season and I am so excited to board our plane to Kona next Tuesday and to race at the 2015 Ironman World Championship in 19 days!!!!