Unfortunately, I feel pretty awesome this week.
I say unfortunately because I would not have expected, or hoped, to feel very good a few days after an ironman. But when you get sick and don't end up running a marathon (opting to walk and just take longer), you tend to recover much quicker. That was the case last week, as I got back into the (reduced) swing of things:
Monday - OFF.
Tuesday - 1 mile, easy.
Wednesday - 1000m swim/7 mile run. I intended on swimming a little bit more, and when I got into the pool I felt awesome. But it was really cold, and I got a really bad headache so I just got out. Found out later that the pool's heater had been broken for 3 weeks. My run was a little longer than I anticipated, but I didn't want to make Ed and Pat amend their run too much so I just sucked it up. Just about 50 minutes, I was ready to be done by the end.
Thursday - 2 hour ride. I felt pretty good, I don't think I could have put in any kind of real effort, my left quad in particular was still a bit sore, but I was also generally surprised I felt at all good. It was a month before I got on the bike after Arizona, although more of that was related to it being cold, and having to ride the trainer when I started back up.
Friday - 6 mile run/3000m swim. I ran early with Pat and Ed, and I was tired, probably more from it being 5:30 in the morning than anything. It was so dark, and it was really humid. When I got in the pool later in the day, I felt awesome again. I ended up doing 3x200, 6x100, 10x50 and then 600 pull as my main set, and just felt really comfortable. The heater had been fixed so it was much better.
Saturday - 2000m swim. I had to drive to Connecticut today so I knew I'd only have time to get in one thing, and I also didn't really care if I took the day off. But, it worked out that I was able to get in the pool so I swam, and felt good again. Whodathunk that the week after IM I would feel better in the pool than I did all summer.
Sunday - 7 miles at Hartshorne Woods. This is one of my favorite places to run at home (NJ) but also a spot of great peril, as I broke my ankle in there back in 2003. The Hurricane last week had messed it up pretty good, but it was runnable, so I took Alyssa in there and put her through the wringer. She had a workout of 20min w/u, then short fartlek intervals of 15sec-30-30-45-60-75-90 and back down with 1:1 rest, then 20min c/d. This is a really hard place to run, so it wasn't ideal for that type of workout, but I think she had to run a bit faster overall on the run than she would have on her own so it all worked out.
For the week, that meant 6000m in the pool, 21 miles of running and 34 miles on the bike for just under 6 hours. I feel like that's a pretty good post-ironman week, not too much but not so little that I wasn't doing anything. Tonight (Monday) I ran 9 miles in the hardest rain I've ever run in, courtesy of Tropical Storm Lee. I'm racing again this coming Saturday at the Lancaster Family YMCA Triathlon, one of my favorite races of the year. It's every bit as challenging as Columbia (course-wise) but a lot more low-key, and it's a great time of year to race. I was disappointed to hear my buddy Andrew Yoder wasn't going to be there this year, but it's also kind of nice that someone else will get the opportunity to win!
With August firmly in the rearview mirror, I'll take a minute to grade myself:
Swimming - A. Had Louisville not gone as well as it did, I would probably be giving myself a D right now, but because it went well, I'm in a better mood. I swam like absolute dog shit at Luray, and every day I dragged myself into the pool was terrible. I was so unmotivated and so unhappy about the state of my swimming, but apparently it wasn't as bad as I thought, or I cut the course. Either way, getting under an hour was a big deal for me and I feel much more confident now, and that's even begun to show just this week in the pool. I was close to getting to 40k in the water for the month, but ended up with just 34,000 meters. Very little by anyone's standards.
Cycling - B+. By August I had mostly stopped going to Wednesday Night Ride, and instead opted for the slightly easier Thursday Night Ride instead. I tried to keep my miles per ride high, but I think I rode less times per week. I finished up the month with 572 miles. I was going to try to ride Tuesday or Wednesday of last week to get to an even 600 but I didn't really care. If I were grading myself on my races, I would probably give myself a lower grade. Luray went bad, but it was more a problem with the bike. I had a good race at that Pine Grove TT, but still had bike troubles. I finally got it settled for Louisville, and then getting sick removed the chance of having the ride I expected. But, I still rode 18 minutes faster than I did for the distance last year, and I know that over the next few months I can tweak a few things and should be able to be closer to that 5 hour mark.
Running - B. Again, looking at the races and I had a so-so run at Luray (compared to some it wasn't too bad, but it wasn't great), I had a decent track race (17:46 5000m following a 5:19 warmup mile) and then a stupefying 5:52 marathon that included more sitting than running. But, I know that one was a little out of my hands, and, just based on how I've been running this week, I don't feel bad at all about my fitness. I ran 142 miles for the month, which was a little less than last August, but of course I was trying to get my mileage up that month in order to be able TO race the ironman in November.
This summer has been one of the most sports-filled summers I can remember, with so much being televised. It also helped that in early August we were gifted with Universal Sports - it finally came to DirecTV! For me, that has meant I've been able to watch the Vuelta, Diamond League Meets and every event of the World Track and Field Championships. The US had a great meet, with some truly great performances. The Vuelta stands as the most boring of the Grand Tours, only because the roads are so shitty and the scenery is so heinous, but the race has actually been quite exciting. Tom Boonen broke his hand the other day as he crashed out of the Vuelta, and now is unsure of his ability to start the WC race later this month. But I was laughing when I read that it had been painful for him to ride as it was because of an open wound on his perineum. AKA his Taint. I know your pain, bro.
Then, the news filtered through that LeoPard Trek might be folding/joining forces with Team RadioShack, and it was confirmed - only it's RadioShack that is folding! RadioShack and Nissan will become sponsors of the LeoPard team, which holds the UCI license, so the new team will be something like RadioShack-Nissan-Trek. The roster is sick. Between that and Omega-Pharma-Lotto-QuickStep it's a battle for the super team. I don't know if it's good for cycling, but at the very least it will be interesting.
At Track Worlds, I felt bad for my girl Allyson Felix, who despite earning 4 medals (becoming only the 4th person in history to do so) did not win either of her individual events, and I'm sure it was a result of having to run the 400 heats and then the 200 heats. I think she'll be better off focusing on one for next year. She needs that Olympic Gold in the 200! Maggie Vessey ran three solid 800s, and Jenny Barringer Simpson had a great win in the 1500. For the guys, Matt Centrowitz (a native Marylander) won his semi-final heat with gusto, the kid seriously ran like an old pro as he fought and maintained his position, and went into a stacked final where he picked up an unbelievable bronze medal. Our field events, minus the shot putters, were really good - including our Jumpers (triple, long and high - all gold). There is one more Diamond League meet on this weekend and then track disappears for a while, but Cycling WCs is soon and it's also marathon season, so there will be plenty to watch during the fall. INCLUDING Ironman Louisville, end of September on Universal Sports.
Around here you can tell that marathon season is approaching, as everyone has been getting in their long runs and there seem to be many tired legs. The first one up is Chicago Marathon (Ed) and then Baltimore Marathon (Pat). After that it's Marine Corps, then NYC (Brennan, Joel, Carly, Nina, Suzanne and Diane), Richmond (Kris) and Philadelphia. Of course, I have my own marathon to run, again after the bike, in November, so I'll probably try and get in a few longer runs over the next two months. This Sunday, we will once again host the RM Classic 5k, a race that started after I got hurt in 2009. We run it on the track and it usually sees some pretty fast times.
I'm just pretty pleased that I've recovered this well. I remember back to last year when I felt terrible for a while. More than feeling beat up, I was definitely not feeling training for anything serious. Now, it's a different time and it's still early in the season, but I am really ready to go again. I have been gradually getting over this sickness, although I still have a lot of gross stuff in my nose, which is annoying. Alyssa and I went to my friends Jay and Mona's wedding in Greenwich CT over the weekend, which was a lot of fun, and got to spend a little bit of time at home and check in with a McGrath family function on Sunday at one of my uncle's.
I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that the World Champion Green Bay Packers kick off the NFL season on Thursday night against the Saints, in Green Bay, where Brennan will be a communicant of the holiness that is Packer football.
But for now, I can sleep easy as the TERPS just beat The U in their first trip ever to College Park. A sign of changing times in Terpville? The uniforms are crazy, the helmets are crazy, but a win is a win. Even if 9 players on Miami were not allowed to play tonight!