There we have it, folks, after 141 days of continued physical activity, I did actually take a day completely off. I have felt quite good over these last 20 weeks. 20 weeks, man, that's a lot. 5 months. Almost half a year. Obviously there are plenty of people who have streaks much, much, much longer, but for me to go that long (twss) is pretty cool. And it all started with one Get Tough Week.
The reason behind the streak, as I've mentioned, is because I felt like there was no reason I couldn't, or shouldn't, be doing something every day. Certainly there were days I took easy, following my Minimum Standards of Excellence Guidelines (30min/4mi run; 1500m/30min swim; 60min ride). But now that I'm within two weeks, I felt less was going to be more.
As I passed the 100 day mark, I got it in my head that I wanted to hit an even number. Then I passed 120 and thought, "140 would be cool, as the Ironman is 140.6 miles" - so for good measure I did 141. In reality, I could have kept going and been fine, but again, what was the point of another easy swim on the day I wanted to take off?
After my big Halloween weekend, I needed some rest, so I took it easy most of last week. No doubles. Just one activity per day. Short swims. Not much running. Only rode once following Sunday the 31st and that was Saturday the 6th. Volume was just over 11 hours - the lowest I've had since I started training again back in June (even that first week was 14 hours). I figure that was good enough to restore some snap to my legs. For the final two weeks, I was trying to focus on one last solid workout in each discipline. Last Thursday was the swim. I realized one big difference between last year and this year was that I haven't done any long, straight swims. Last year I was building up each week until I got up to 3000 or 3200m or something. This year I wasn't worrying about it. I felt good about the swims I've been doing, I can't even count how many days were 5000m or more, and the recovery is always short so the workouts are almost continuous. Anyway for my workout last Thursday I was looking to do 3x1000m, but as I got rolling I felt pretty awesome. I decided mid-interval I would do 2x1500m, but as I approached the 1500m mark, I thought maybe I'd do 2x1900m.
I swam super comfortably on the first one, picking it up along the way, and finishing in 32:30. As I figure the wetsuit spots me close to 2.5 minutes over that same distance, I felt good about it. After a short break, I got rolling on the second one. I was trying to go quicker on this one, and I did. By 1000m, the pace was getting tougher. I held on to finish at 31:25, although the effort was slightly greater than IM effort. A solid 3800m set.
Over the weekend, a few friends rolled into town to celebrate Kootman's bachelor party. This meant I had time for just my ride on Saturday morning, and Sunday would be determined by a) what time everyone left and b) how hard of a night Saturday was. A + B = only ran 6 miles on Sunday night, very slowly.
As I've been meaning to get in a long run for a while (long being more than the 17 miles I did a few weeks ago), my options had been limited to Monday or Tuesday. At this point I needed as much recovery as possible, not knowing how my body would handle the long run. I set out around 5:15pm on Monday night for my 6 mile loop, got back to the house, downed a Gu and some water, and headed back out to swing by Pat's and head to Fed Hill. I wager I was running right around 7's, and when we hooked up with FHR, there were parts that were definitely well under that. A little under 16 miles in, we now headed back home. Ran a little quicker home than we did there (interesting as it's downhill there, uphill home) and then tacked on a few more minutes to make sure I was at 20 miles. Good job, me. And thanks Pat for running 13+ with me.
Not to skate over this little achievement, this is the longest I've run since Boston 2009. Of course, almost every long run was the "longest since...", but this one was a big run. Hard to believe it's been 19 months since I've run 20 miles.
As a result of the long run, my knee was definitely tender. Tuesday wound up being the day off. Wednesday I woke up and felt better, and after my PT session I was much looser. I just have one more "long" ride, which I intend to get in on Friday. My body seems to handle the long rides much better, and by that I mean a 4-5 hour ride just takes a lot less out of me than most runs over 13. Following the long ride, it will be time to check myself before I wreck myself. I'll probably put myself on a self-imposed media blackout. Rest is the name of the game. My body is feeling good, but I'm always concerned with picking up a random illness right before big events. For an Olympic it's not a big deal, it's a 2 hour race. But for Ironman, I can't even imagine how tough it's got to be competing not at 100%.