Sunday, June 15, 2014

Taper time!

Peak week officially ended today, and I am so excited about the taper (at this point)!  I know, a lot of people complain about tapering and the madness that it can induce.  To be honest, this might be the first time that I've followed a solid training plan and been able to fully appreciate a taper, so the taper crazies may yet come my way.  I know that it's early days yet to be excited about stepping back from training, but I think that I'll be busy enough preparing for our trip and also doing the usual beginning-of-summer-things like getting a haircut, going to the dentist, meeting friends for lunch, and taking care of a few loose ends from the end-of-the-school-year so I shouldn't go too nuts.  Additionally, a friend who has completed multiple IM races gave me advice that I loved to hear: "Sleep.  A lot."

As for peak week, it ended up being more hours than I would have expected, mainly thanks to a long brick workout on Monday and a crazy long ride yesterday.  Throughout my weekly training plan, the word "last" peppered the descriptions of the workouts, and that helped me get through each workout and also really commit to each one.   Friday, I clocked in my last really long swim, and while swimming 4,000 yards still challenges me, I remember a few weeks ago how I wanted to take a nap immediately after a 4,000 yard swim.  Now, I think that I might, just maybe, be able to go on a ride and then run a bit after that.  Ha!

Yesterday, I especially needed the push to get up at 5:00 am after a much later night than expected, but if I hadn't committed to the ride, I probably would have stayed in bed for at least another hour and done a different ride.  However, I somehow managed to get out of bed and head out on one of California Triathlon's "Epic Rides" for 2014, meeting up at 6:30 am!  Despite not feeling 100% (so bad of me to have a late night!) and feeling quite nervous about the ride, it was well-worth all of the suffering.  And suffering there was, as we climbed the Angeles Crest Highway until it hit Highway 39, when we (or I) had a not-so-speedy descent.  The ride was pretty amazing, especially the first half, and I felt good on the climb.  I also tried to take in as much of the scenery as I could - I'd never even driven that far on the 2, so it was a real treat to experience it on the bike and to appreciate the wildflowers, yucca and amazing views.  There was some car traffic, but as we climbed higher and higher, that really thinned out, and I loved the sense of remoteness as I pedaled along on my bike.

Here we are climbing - it was a beautiful day for a ride!  Yes, I'm overdressed which was fine for the first part of the ride, and then I shed my layers.

And at the summit of the climb - looking forward to the descent.

I definitely slowed down at the end, and as I meandered thru one community after another for the last 15-20 miles, I took it easy with the stop signs, stop lights and traffic.  The last thing I wanted was an accident 2 weeks before IMCA.  I finally finished the ride in over 7 hours, with 90 miles and about 9,000 feet of climbing.  Even though this was shorter than the 112 miles I'll tackle in Coeur d'Alene, I think that this ride was harder than what I'll confront there.  Or so I hope!  

Today, then, I tackled the last long run with 4 1-mile intervals at a faster pace.  My legs were sluggish when I started out the run, but they loosened up, and the intervals actually felt pretty good.  I was so happy that it was the last run AND that I was able to run!  During so many of these longer runs, I've thought back to February/March when I could barely run a few miles without pain and when I envisioned myself walking the entire ironman marathon.  While I still might end up walking some or even most of the marathon, I've tried to appreciate the solid training runs that I've been able to experience and, quite often, enjoy.

One other random note - I haven't had a super crazy appetite, except for yesterday after the ride when I felt like this:
And I devoured almost everything in sight.

I acknowledge that this week would have felt far more unmanageable had I been working, so my summer schedule probably helped me avoid a total peak-week-meltdown.  Instead, it was a nice culmination of training (wait, maybe that is the race?), and while I wasn't speedy on the ride yesterday nor on the run today, I felt pretty good, all things considered!  Even a month ago, I think that I would have questioned whether I could put in the time and/or distance that I managed to cover this week, so all of this training has been an interesting experience, surprising me time and again, usually in a positive way!  Going into the IM training process, my biggest fear was getting injured and not being able to put in the miles, especially on the run, so I've been thankful to end the major build and peak weeks feeling tired but healthy.  

And now - here's to resting, getting in some recovery time, and prepping for the race!


mindful mule said...

You're ready! Rest well.

Did you ride down 39 or back down the 2?

Kristina said...

Rob - Rode down 39. I was going to ride back down the 2, but decided to do a loop. Have you gone all the way down the 39? It's fun - jeez, I felt like we were so far out there! And then, all of a sudden we were in Duarte.

mindful mule said...

I've never done that 39 loop - it's one of my top dream rides! It's closed to car traffic at the top? Can't wait to learn more about it soon!

And so excited for your IM!

Kristina said...

It IS closed to traffic at the top and even when it opens up to traffic, there isn't much at all. The descent is fun, even though I wouldn't call it super speedy. But WAY less traffic than the 2, which was quite nice, and except for some patches, a pretty good road.