Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ten weeks!

Ironman Coeur d'Alene is now less than ten weeks away! While there is plenty of time for me to do a lot more training, I am definitely to the point where it will be here before I know it. In addition, ten weeks to go marks the end of my "training" phase and the beginning of my "competition" phase. This weekend, I'll be taking part in the first event where my performance really matters to me. Next weekend, on April 28, I'll be doing my first triathlon of the season. And one week after that, I'll be competing in my first half-Iron in preparation for CdA. Here's the check-in:

--My left heel still hurts. I seem to have kicked the posterior tibialis tendinitis that was dogging me, and I have nearly weaned myself off the arch pads that the podiatrist gave me for it. My bursitis continues to hurt, though, particularly at the start of runs. Over the weekend, I did my first brick, and the pain in the first half-mile was jarring even though I had spent five hours on the bike. (Other than that, the run actually went very well.) It has felt gradually better over the past few weeks, and it felt good enough the last few mornings for me to venture a morning run today. (Being able to run in the morning--when my foot is not quite as warmed up--would help a great deal in my training.) The morning run went well; I started on the unpaved path in the park across from our house like I have done for nearly every run of late. My foot was warmed up by the mile mark, and it felt normal enough for me to leave the park and run on the roads by the three-mile mark. It hurts right now, though. I came to the sobering conclusion this weekend that it may be a while before I'm running entirely pain-free. I probably won't rid myself of this bursitis until after CdA. The only two things that seem to make it feel any better are compression socks (thank you, CEP and Swiftwick) and--dare I say it--shockwave therapy.

--Despite the bursitis, I'm feeling good on the run. I did a couple of workouts last week, and I was speedier than both my coach and I thought I would be. My longest run is still only ten miles (which I've done several times), but I'm confident that I can go longer without major issues . . . as long as I let my foot warm up on a soft surface first.

--My cycling is pretty fantastic. On Saturday, I rode a hilly century on my tri bike at just under Ironman intensity. My HR was low, my power was good, my speed was fast despite my not using aero gear, and most importantly, I felt pretty comfortable on my bike. This weekend will be a 102-mile gran fondo that climbs to the highest point in Alabama (twice) and has several other shorter climbs along the way. Here's the profile:

It will be my fourth straight weekend of 100-mile rides. I'm looking forward to it.

--I've come to the conclusion that for me, cycling is the linchpin of the entire race. I have the ability and training to ride a very good bike split on this course. However, if I get really excited about the swim and go too hard in the first segment or I don't execute my nutrition strategy well, both my bike and my run will suffer. In addition, I cannot let my bike fitness slide in the two months leading up to the race, as I did in the run-up to Cozumel. I'm going to lobby my coach to continue my cycling-heavy training program in the next ten weeks.

--My swimming is coming along quite well. Over the winter, I had a real breakthrough in terms of speed in the water. I'm now a full-minute under my 500y best from before Ironman Cozumel. I'm swimming easily for 3000y or more at the pace that used to be my PR 500y pace only six months ago. It is my hope that this will put me in CdA about five to ten minutes in front of what I swam in Cozumel. Granted, Cozumel was mysteriously fast for everyone, but CdA's super-cold swim is wetsuit legal, which helps me a lot given that body positioning is my biggest issue. Further, according to RunTri.com, the average swim in Cozumel was 1:14 my year, while the average swim in CdA last year was 1:20. One way or another, I'll be right in the middle of this craziness:

The fun starts at about 1:40. Do you see the way that the entire group just empties into the water?? I like mass swim starts. I get a charge out of the chaos. Coeur d'Alene, I believe, will put my enjoyment of mass starts to the test!

--I have not yet nailed down my nutrition strategy. I have decided that I'll be using Powerbar products, though, given that Ironman Peform is the on-course drink for Ironman CdA. I like Powerbar's bars--which I have used for years--and I have grown to appreciate their thinner-consistency gels. I'm going to start practicing my race-specific nutrition over the next few weeks, and it will likely be a topic that I describe in future blog posts.

I'm nowhere near the homestretch, but I'm definitely getting to the a key block of training. So far, so good.


  1. Have you tried sleeping in a Strassburg sock for your heel pain? I have similar a.m. pain in both of my heels that I'm pretty sure is bursitis and the socks help me so much!! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I have a sock. I wear it every now and then, but I have never really dedicated myself to trying it. The podiatrist suggested that I put an insole it it so that it doesn't just pull back only on my toes but rather on my whole foot. I'll give it an honest try tonight since you suggested it. :-)

  2. SO proud of you! Keep pushing through it!