I didn't really take much of a look at the big picture, but despite me feeling like my volume had been low since September, my last couple of weeks have been quite consistent, and also big enough to explain why I've felt so tired: (end of September to now) 21, 17.25, 12 (week after the half iron), 20.75, 21.75, 20.5. So last week I made sure to bring it down.
Following the Marathon weekend, I ran an up-tempo 6 on Monday, and then decided to get in my last long run on Tuesday. I targeted it because it was going to be far enough out that I could recover, but also because the weather looked like it was going to be great - and it was. Temperature was over 70 degrees on the day, which was a little closer to what the temp will be this weekend, but, after a few weeks of cooler temps, it was a bit of a shock. I set out for my Gwynns Falls Trail 17 miler, which is a nice run that goes gradually uphill, then more uphill, then some rolling, then into the hills of Druid Hill Park (very hard) before shooting downhill for 4 miles to the end. I've done this run a handful of times this year, most recently with Brennan and Joel, when I felt awesome and we ran just a few ticks under 2 hours. On this day, I didn't feel as good, I was a little worried that I had "wasted" my good feeling on the previous night's run. I started off and knew I was running pretty quick, but I could also tell hydration was going to be a factor later in the run. Specifically, lack of hydration as there is nowhere to get water along the way, and I didn't carry any. I brought two ClifShot gels at least.
I made it out of the GFT a little quicker than last time, and then up to Dru Hill with about the same advantage. Last time, Brennan and I blazed the hills in the park. This time, I didn't have it in me. I was starting to really feel the tightening of muscles, and my HR seemed high. With the 4 miles downhill remaining, my hips and knee were none too pleased. I ended up finishing about a minute slower than last time, which means I lost something like 2.5 minutes over the last 50. Yikes!
I bounced back, and made sure to keep efforts relaxed over the next few days. I got back in the pool on Wednesday night and had a good swim, which involved 4x800 as the main set, alternating swim, pull. I kept each interval the same as the previous one, and left the pool 4200m richer. Thursday was another chill day, with just an easy 6 with Ed. I had misplaced my watch, I'm pretty sure I dropped it at the gym, so that's gone, which sucks. Mostly because I need to go buy another one now, but also because I had grown to like it. Our run was uneventful until, back on Fleet, in Fells Point, I hit a parking meter with my right hand. It hurt bad. My brain was just not working, there was no reason I should have hit that meter. Or lost my watch.
My hand continued to hurt, swelling up and turning black and blue pretty fast. On Friday, I hit the pool for what I was hoping to be a good 2x1900m workout, and in the short warmup I could feel my hand. My middle finger was numb, and my hand did not feel good. It didn't impede my workout, fortunately, but the broken clock and no watch annoyed me. So I just went on feel, and whatever, in the end that's all that counts anyway (more on this in a minute).
I had to drive up to NJ on Friday night again, which I wasn't super psyched to have to do after just having gone up to NY last weekend, but my sister was participating in one of those Tough Mudder
Got back and it was dark, and looked at the clock inside - 4:59! How was it so dark? Sucks.
Sunday morning was the Tough Mudder race, and I'll leave my opinion about this, and events like it, for another time, but suffice to say I was on my feet for quite a while. It was after 2 that I got home, and still had to drive back to MD so I could get in the pool. Pool closes at 6:30, I got back at 5:45. I was originally hoping to do a longer straight swim, but with the time constraints, settled for 2000m. I felt good again, and now I feel like I'm set up for a good swim.
After the swim, it was warm and I headed out for a 6 mile run and boom, the day was done. 10.5 hours on the week, my legs feel like they've returned, and I head into race week a little fresher. It was 35 miles of running, just the one day of 50 miles on the bike, and 10.5km in the pool.
Today it's insanely warm and I am going to resist the urge to do anything and take the day completely off. It's been a while since I took a day off, and I feel like I'd rather do it early in the week than later. We fly out Thursday, so I'll swim Thursday morning and run a few when we get there. Friday will be a lap of the bike course. Saturday hop in the water briefly for the practice swim, then another short run. Which leaves me Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll swim and run a little tomorrow, and ride some Wednesday. Weather looks like rain and dropping temps over the next few days.
I'll also have to get myself a new watch. We have all our nutrition things, thanks to Brian Shea at Personal Best Nutrition. Other than that, most of the other packing I do is on auto. Brain will start to kick in and just put things in a bag. I try to bring as little as I can. You're going to Tempe, not Africa, and it's the Ironman - they have everything there.
In the slightly annoying news department, my chilblains are back. Those are the terrible little blisters I get on my hands and feet when the temperatures start to drop. They are back with a vengeance this year, showing up earlier, despite the relatively mild temperatures, and they are hurting more than ever before. Fortunately nothing that gets in the way, it's just annoying to have to write, open anything up, etc. More posting this week!