Wow - I can't believe I'm saying this but we are racing on Saturday in historic Prague!
When we planned our 5-week trip to Czech to visit Karel's family and race Ironman Austria, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to race the 2nd running of Challenge Prague to conclude our race-cation. This will be an exciting opportunity for Karel to race in Czech and I have a feeling it's going to be a race to remember as you can't beat the location and the views we will see on the swim and run course are going to be incredible!
As for training, it's been an interesting past few weeks. I felt I recovered quickly for Ironman Austria as my muscles felt rather good the first week but then again, we also did very little exercise and then the next week was rather light. However, that second week was a bit frustrating for me because my muscles felt ok but I was still feeling incredibly low in energy. It was just an empty feeling that I knew wasn't normal for me but something that is common post Ironman - the highs and lows of Ironman recovery. One day you feel great and then the next day you feel like someone sucked the energy out of you. Oddly though, I was feeling rather good on the bike and swim but running was slow to feel my energy level rise. I respected my body with freedom to just run without structure, walk whenever I wanted and I also ran on the trails because I love trail running, I give myself permission to run at various paces based on the terrain and it allows me to be in nature and it's less impact for my body. We've also been biking a lot because it's how we can combine sight-seeing, move blood and also take advantage of the many bike-friendly routes. Three weeks after the Ironman (this past week) included all structured training sessions (with a purpose to each workout and most sessions with a main set) and I was pleased that my body has been responding well (finally) and feeling fresher with each passing day. I've also made sure to fuel well - which isn't hard when we have such a great selection of feel-good food, including homemade meals prepared by Karel's mom.
I was asked by a Trimarni follower how our bodies will react to racing so close to an Ironman and my response was "that's a good question!" I've never raced a half Ironman (or anything less than that distance) after an Ironman in one season. And the only time I have raced after an Ironman was another Ironman (~8 and 10 weeks for the two times I did it, respectively). So this will be a new experience for my body but I'm also not going into the race with any expectations or pressures. I want to have fun and also treat it as a training day where I give my best knowing that I just did a very tough effort at Ironman Austria and I still have another Ironman left this season in 7 weeks (Ironman Wisconsin). I want to make sure that I can recover quickly from this race to get back into my Ironman training when we settle back into the states the following week. I also need to be respectful of my body that I can't dig deep or take any risks at this race as I am still carrying around some fatigue from this past week of training after the Ironman - and it was a big week of training for me. As for Karel, he is still recovering from the Ironman but he has a long season still ahead of him with Augusta 70.3, the Ironman World Championship 3 weeks later and then Ironman Florida 3 weeks after that so he won't be doing anything silly but still giving his best for the day in a competitive setting. It's going to be a fun experience for us both.
Here are a few pictures of our last week of training in Czech. I am just loving this different training environment with outdoor pool swimming (lately it's been short course meters), running in the Podyjí National Park and riding on the very bike friendly roads in Czech and Austria.