I went into the week with no expectations. I knew it was my last build week with long, hard workouts before I start tapering for Boise. With the uncertainty of how my lungs would react to the inhaler and steroids, I kept an open mind so I would not be disappointed if I failed to complete the workouts on my schedule.
So far I have been moderately happy with my new
breathing device inhaler. It seems to help with my breathing, even though I continue to cough up gunk from time to time. I imagine this is something that will only be resolved with time. It doesn’t seem to interfere much with my performance on the bike or run, but definitely hinders me in the water because I breathe much differently. I don’t think the steroids did anything for me aside from make me a bit irritated (just ask my husband…and think PMS style). I guess progress is progress even if it’s not 100 percent. If I could wave a sparkly magic wand (if I had a magic wand it would absolutely have to be sparkly) I would. At this point I am fairly confident I can complete Boise with no major setbacks.
Monday: Rest day. Justin was in Spokane for a conference so I took advantage of his absence by working an eleven-hour day, and was glad to get caught up on work and grading.
Tuesday: This was probably my best ride this year. I completed 74.1 miles in 3hrs and 44min with a total ascent of 2,846ft. That’s a pace of 19.8mph!! Whoa. The last time I did that ride on my own two months ago I averaged 17.8mph. I like seeing progress and improvement.
Wednesday: Reunited with the track. Ah, my happy place. I completed a warm-up, short set of intervals, 30 minutes at threshold pace, and cool down, all in the company of one of the fitness classes at the college. They were doing a mix of yoga, resistance training, and track workout, so it didn’t really interfere with my workout. I actually like being in the company of others. I finished 6.42 miles in 46 minutes (average pace 7:11) followed by a .6 mile cool down at 8 min pace. Felt great!
Thursday: My 4th official brick that included a 2hr ride (39.6 miles) and 6 mile run. The ride was gorgeous and I revisited the China Hat climb that I flatted on the last time I attempted a brick. Success.
By the time I transitioned to the run it was HOT! I know people in other areas always deal with mid-80 degree temps, but when you are not used to it, it feels like 100 degrees. And, to top it off, I rushed out so quickly that I forgot my nutrition. STUPID! After two miles I realized that I didn’t have my GU or salt and started to panic. On a hot day like this where even my fingernails were sweating, I knew it would be consequential. I decided to change my route last minute and stick to areas with lots of drinking fountains and water. I completed the 6 miles in 47 minutes.
Friday: My FIRST open water swim ever and was it ever an experience. First off, I LOVE my new Blueseventy Reaction wetsuit. It is super comfortable, doesn’t chafe or rub me wrong, and kept me warm in the frigid temps.
Second, I can’t believe how buoyant I was in the water. All this time I’ve been thinking swim or die, swim or die, swim or die, but no. If I have to stop for any reason (heaven forbid) I am now assured that I would have to try hard to drown.
Unfortunately, the weather at the reservoir took a massive turn for the worst and the winds were whipping around at 25-30 mph creating whitecaps. The good news – I now know how to swim in really nasty conditions. The bad news – if it is that bad on race day you might as well as stick a fork in me. In all honesty, I highly recommend doing a couple open water swims before doing a triathlon. It is like night and day from swimming in a pool. I feel somewhat relieved now that I have a sensation for what it will be like, even though I am still scared!
Justin paddled alongside me in a kayak while I swam with his friend Roger, who is 70 years old but still swims Masters every day and competes in multiple triathlons annually. We were going to head to their so called “secret spot” on the Deschutes River after the swim, but given the windy and rainy conditions we decided to call it a day and head home after the swim and a late lunch in Prineville.
Saturday: Woke up and decided it would be a good day to climb up to the mountains. I did one of my favorite rides to Mt. Bachelor and back (and then some).
The views at the top pretty much speak for themselves. Once the snow melts, this will be a cycling, hiking, camping, and kayaking wonderland in the Cascades!
Following my ride we decided to take another shot at fishing the “secret spot.” Apparently it’s not much of a secret, as there was a group of about a dozen frat boys camped down there for the weekend. None of them were fishing though, so Justin and Roger pretty much had the river to themselves for the afternoon and evening. I kicked back with a can of margarita and was happy as can be.
The fishing was slow, but they caught a few nice trout and the weather, the company, and the scenery could not be beat. I can’t wait to come back and camp down here (without the obnoxious frat boys, of course)!
Sunday: 2500yd swim and 12.4 mile run. I originally had a 3000yd swim on my schedule, but after 2500yds I held on to the edge of the pool fuming with frustration. My arms were tired (puny stick arms), my coughing was beginning to flare up, and Justin had already swam 4050 yards. Ugh. Just ugh! Knowing that I still had a long run ahead of me, I decided it was time to stop. Out of the pool and onto my run I went.
The run started out great, but I struggled a bit at times as the heat was getting to me. My legs were fatigued and I was still battling out my swim issues, which were mentally bringing me down. By the time I finished my run I was a sweaty emotional mess.
Week 13 Totals:
Swim: 1hr 17mins, 3,500 yards
Bike: 8hrs 28mins, 161.7 miles
Run: 3hrs 17mins, 25.2 miles
Time: 13 hours 02 minutes
It was a good week! I had some great breakthroughs on the bike, ran my fastest 10K pace ever, and was able to experience the open water environment in true bad-weather fashion.
As “the day” grows closer, I find myself on an emotional roller coaster. One day I have the confidence of a narcissistic king, the next I feel as though my cat Benny could perform better (and we all know how much cats love water, right?). And it’s not just from day to day. It can even be from workout to workout or from hour to hour that my confidence and my emotions swing. I want SO BADLY to do well, stay strong, and meet all of my goals, hopes, and expectations. I know I can withstand the intensity and challenges that are brought on by the bike and run, but the uncertainty of the swim is drowning me. Figuratively speaking, of course. I think Phaedra read my mind about swimming when she posted this about being fearless.
This next week will be a time to work on the nerves, settle the emotions, and get mentally psyched for a great event. Deep breathes. Deep breathes.
What event in your life has challenged you emotionally and/or mentally more than any other?