Big Week #1 Recap

This past week was my first of two big weeks before I start a progressive tapering for Ironman Wisconsin. What started out with a post-race rest day ended with a beautiful long run in Madison, Wisconsin.

Going into the training week, I was feeling good but somewhat hesitant as I wasn't sure how my body would respond to both higher intensity and volume. Luckily, every day I rebounded, only felt marginally run down, and I pulled it all together. I guess that's what good nutrition, rest, and recovery does!

On Tuesday, I put in a few thousand yards in the pool to work on speed and form. In the evening, I railed on my Jamis Dragon mountain bike for 3.5+ hours. I definitely bonked toward the end of the ride, and unfortunately still had a good distance to get back home and recoup. Sure, I ended up walking my bike up some of the hills in Maasto Hiito. That's totally acceptable. Especially since my bike is a hard tail, my legs were toast, and I probably would have fallen off my bike had I tried to climb the switchbacks. After three hours, I can do whatever I want!

Wednesday was a recovery day. I went for a quick swim to work on technique with Erik H. in the morning, and in the afternoon squeezed in a 7mile run. Adam and I went to dinner with some friends at the Fitz (Eagle River Inn), my old stomping ground. Follow that with some hand-dipped ice cream and a visit to Caleb's cabin on Lake Superior, and I'd say it was a well respected recovery day, indeed.

On Thursday, I focused on my one high-intensity workout of the week: 7miles at lactate threshold, 12miles total. Erik and Adam joined me on the Canal for some killer mile repeats. After a 2.5mile warmup, I averaged miles at: 6:58, 6:55, 6:51, 6:43, 6:32, 6:33, 6:27. Not too shabby, especially since I was able to continuously improve my splits. I allowed for ample recovery, too- with around 50% recovery time after each mile. In the past, I had done some 4 and 5 mile LT workouts in one stretch, but I always went out too fast and couldn't hang on at the end. I hope that I am able to get more out of these workouts by breaking them up and running negative splits. I didn't feel completely wiped when I was done with #7 either, which is usually a good sign. Now, if only I could run a half marathon at 6:40s... That would be the cat's pajamas. We followed the repeats up with a swim in the Portage. No better way to cool off, I suppose! After swimming for a few hundred yards, I decided to float around for a bit and wait for the guys to head back toward the beach. We then headed to Andrew J's for the 250F sauna and barbecue, and it didn't take long for me to be ready for some sleep. I felt absolutely great afterwards, and never developed delayed onset muscle soreness. What a great effort.

Friday was a travel day for me, and I wasn't able to get in a workout. Bummer! I had planned a five-mile recovery run, though, so I wasn't missing too much volume-wise. I drove to Madison, Wisconsin, to visit some friends and join the TriWisconsin club for a course preview. Friday night, Jess, her friend Jamie, and I went to LaBrioche- a delicious and eclectic restaurant about a mile from her apartment. It was the final day of Madison's Restaurant Week. Perfect timing! We had a very luxurious three-course meal for $25. I had the grapefruit and avo spinach salad, skirt steak, and gelato. Jess ordered Mahi Mahi with coconut bisque and chocolate cake (her first fish in how many years?!), and Jamie also dove into the skirt steak (but went with the chevre puff and arugula salad and cobbler).

Saturday morning, I headed to Olin Turville Park to meet Gigi and the TriWisconsin club for a IMoo preview ride. Gigi directed me to some people she thought I could ride with, and I got to see her at the 30, 60, and 90mile aid stations. Unfortunately for her, she broke her elbow and collarbone five weeks ago in a bike crash. Crossing fingers, she meets with the doc tomorrow to find out if she can start running and maybe even compete in September, too. She's one tough chick! I ended up starting out with a woman, Ann, who I hung with the whole time.

The ride started out with a nice, refreshing (?) rain. I hadn't ridden much in the rain before, so I was a little apprehensive. Luckily, it didn't take long to clear up. We headed out along "the stick" to Verona, where we hopped on "the loop" and hammered our way up the hills. I definitely was a little too ambitious on the first lap, and felt it at the second aid station. Luckily, Gigi brought peanut M&Ms! Savior.

Lots of rollers along the course

I am definitely glad I previewed the course. It was challenging, technical, and some of the roads are in a little rough shape. Notes for the future: No matter what, never EVER go out for a long ride without chamois cream. That was not good.

Ann made for a great training partner!

The course was hilly, but the first loop definitely felt more tough than the second. I need to remember to race my own race at IM, not get caught up in what other racers are doing. I can do it. I am learning as I go through this whole process that I am a strong biker, and a smart racer. I have one more BIG WEEK of training ahead of me, and then I start spending more time focusing and fine-tuning.
Big smiles at the top...

On Sunday, Jess let me tag along on her weekend long run with the Run Club of UW. I got to meet Tien Tien, who will be joining me and Jess for the Ragnar Relay (Great River) in a few weeks. She's one speedster! I was a little sore and tired at the beginning of the run, but was feeling good (but definitely ready to stop!) but the end of the 15miles. To think, I need to run a marathon after the bike ride?!? Perhaps I should start visualizing now...

Total for the week: 19hours of training

My goal for Big Week #2 is going to be around 22hours. I'm feeling a little sore, but hopefully today's rest will help me recover. Ah, I LOVE rest days...

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