Reflections on a training cycle

Whoa. How the hell am I tapering for an Ironman already? How is it late August? How is it almost my birthday? What. the. fuck.

Man, the past few months have been rough. I barely even feel like I have time to update my training log these days, let along write about it (Sorry. Well not really). It’s workout, eat, work, eat, workout, eat, work, sleep, repeat. This all peaked with 3 consecutive weekend Death Bricks:

  1. 100mi ride, 8mi run
  2. 120mi ride, 45min run
  3. 4hr ride, 2hr run

All hovering around race effort. These fuckers take you from absolute “I’m gonna rock this race” euphoria to “I’m actually going to quit this sport right here, right now” depression, which I assume will all be feelings I have during the Ironman itself. Talk about a mindfuck.

Me, since June

Let’s give you an example: Death Brick #3. The week had gone super shitty already. I traveled to Santa Cruz for a meeting Mon-Wed and only got one run in (though it was beautiful and awesome). That left me with a lot of working out to do when I got back. Except my plane ride was full of kids and one of those rascals gave me some sort of bug that put me on my ass on Thursday. It’s now Friday morning, I may or may not be still sick, and I’ve done a single workout since Death Brick #2. Oh and it’s the week before I start tapering. Crap.

Swim Friday. Goes terrible. Swim Saturday. Goes terrible. Run easy 15mi Saturday. Goes terrible. Wake up Sunday. Okay, the route I’m looking at is only 70-75mi. I can crush this and end the week on a good note.

I go out. And proceed to have an abysmal ride. Possibly the worst ride of my life. I almost cut it at 40, but finally convince myself that’s totally unacceptable. I know logically that I’m probably still recovering from travel and illness and I ran 15mi the day before. Logic, however, isn’t making anything better. Struggling through the back half of the ride, I start needing a poop break at about mile 50. Oh, okay, no worries—there’s a school around mile 60 with a port-o-potty, I can make it. It’s not my first emergency of this sort and definitely not my last. I’m good at this!

And I do make it to the school. Head to the port-o-potty.


The school’s fence is open. I’ll use a real bathroom.


He shoots. HE SCOR……….

If you’re playing bingo at home, you finally get to mark the “complete mental breakdown brought on by an inability to poop” box. I had reverted to a 3 year old and threw a tantrum. Not only that, but I didn’t even have the strength to sob during it. Here’s what I did instead:

I sat in the shade. Took out my phone. And played Candy Crush.

It’s like Piers Morgan just kept hitting that button in my head.

Seriously. I’ve never been so mentally defeated in my life. The lowest of the lows. After playing for an unknown amount of time, I said outloud (like actually outloud with people around), “Wait, what on earth is going on? How long have I been here doing this? Why am I not on my bike?” I really had no idea. Ironman is weird. I got up and rode home slowly to my bathroom and texted my coach.

“Dunno if I can do this run…”

“Run 1 mile. See what happens. Get out the door.”

“I hate you”

“You can bail after 10 minutes if its a disaster. But go 10 minutes.”

“It won’t be a disaster. Ugh.”

“Then get the fuck out there. Xoxo.”

And so I left my apartment, running shoes on. And proceeded to run a half marathon in 85 minutes before I realized I was absolutely, without a doubt, torching this t-run. A bit weary that I’d do some damage running my open marathon pace for another 35minutes (for a total of 30k or so), I pulled back a bit, finishing 18+ miles in the 2 hours.

5 hours and 40 minutes of working out. Full-on implosion to the best run I’d had since the 2011 Chicago Marathon. Such is the roller coaster of Ironman training.

And, in case you were wondering, that’s why I’ll never complain about a marathon cycle ever again. Well that and the fact that I slept less for less time that night than I had worked out.

Coming soon: some thoughts on customer service, pre-race jitters, and a race plug!

Speaking of roller coasters, I rode one that’s the same age as my grandmother last week:


About siegfried

just a runner. kinda a triathlete. and a big couch sitter.
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