Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Saturday, July 11, 2015

21 Days to Boulder and the L.B.B. (Last Big Brick)

21 Days to Go!  Yesterday I completed my last big brick workout leading up to Ironman.  It was definitely my "longest" workout of the year taking a little under 8 hours to complete.  Part one was a full 112 miles on the bike.  I broke this into two sections, the first was a 56 mile ride out to the end of the test track and back.  On the return trip, I ran into some construction traffic, and while it was only in the last 5 miles, it was enough to send me out the other direction after stopping back at the house for a bit of water and more Gatorade.
The second half of the ride was definitely tougher.  I was battling a fairly strong headwind through most of the first 30 miles which impacted both my time and my attitude.  I also began to worry about whether or not I'd thought through enough nutrition/ hydration.  This concern only increased when I found myself at 76 miles with no water and a half bottle of Gatorade.  I realized that the temperature had jumped considerably since earlier in the morning and so now I was drinking more fluids than previously.  For a few minutes, I considered bagging the rest of the ride and heading back to the house, but then the silver lining appeared to me.  Even though my ride wasn't ideal, I was getting the perfect opportunity to see how I could adapt and push through uncomfortable and unexpected situations.  Using the day as an opportunity, I figured that the worst case scenario would be to discover what not to do.   I stuck with it and rode 25 more miles, pushing steadily into the wind until I got to a gas station where I could stop and purchase more hydration.  My choice was a bottled water and an ice cold can of Coca Cola.  I must say that both of those tasted absolutely fantastic after 102 miles of riding! (Note: I would highly recommend keeping five dollars handy in your repair kit.  There have been countless times where I've appreciated being able to buy a couple of items while out on a ride. Credit cards are good too, but not accepted everywhere as compared to cash).  After about 6 hours and 30 minutes of riding (including about 10 minutes where I stopped), I made it back home and got ready for part two of the workout.
Details from the Bike!
After five minutes at home, I headed back out the door for a six mile run.  It was the heat of the day (temps in the upper 80's/ low 90's and little shade) and the perfect opportunity to assess how I would feel running after such a long bike ride.  It's kind of funny  but it actually felt really good to slip out of my cycling shoes and into a pair of running shoes.  The run felt really good despite the heat.  I tried to pay attention to my heart rate and while I couldn't keep it super low, I was able to run at a comfortable pace and averaged right around 10 minute miles.  This included a walk break of 1 minute which I took at every half mile and one mile point along the run (simulating my strategy for the race).  I did two loops for the run which allowed me to have an "aid station" at the 3 mile mark.  I took plenty of time on this break (probably 4 minutes) to drink plenty of fluids and to hydrate (Tip: Wet a hand towel, place it in a zip lock, and place it in the freezer the night before a long run in hot weather. Very nice to have available during or after the run).
Run Details
After six miles of running (about an hour), I finished my workout very satisfied.  I felt like I could go further, but don't get me wrong, I was plenty happy to be finished!  Here are a few takeaways from the workout:
  1. Fuel early and often: I was tempted to skip some nutrition during the early part of the bike.  I had to remind myself I was fueling for later in the day and not just in the moment.
  2. Push through the dark places: Initially, I got frustrated when the ride wasn't going as well as I wanted.  But in the end, there was maybe a twenty minute difference in the outcome.  I certainly hope to have a better ride during Ironman, but if I don't, I now know that it won't be the end of the world.
  3. Look forward to the run: I think the conventional attitude with the IM run is to dread it.  A survival state of mind takes hold.  To me it felt really good to start running after that long ride.  I'm going to approach it with the thought of how awesome it's going to feel to start running after riding for so long.
  4. Hydration, hydration, hydration:  Before I began the workout yesterday, my scale read 168.9 lbs.  During the ride I consumed several water bottles and I probably drank an additional 50 oz. of fluid during the run and when I was finished (not to mention the Gatorade Endurance and the Coke).  Other than the 25 miles with minimal fluid, I was literally sipping something almost all day long.   After working out, but before I jumped in the shower, I weighed myself again.  160.8 lbs.  That means I lost a total of about 8 lbs. minimum during the workout and probably a bit more considering that I did take in a fair amount of fluid all day long.  
With 21 days to go, I'll start to dial it back a little.  Next week my wife and I will be in sunny Mexico to celebrate 20 years of marriage.  I will use this as an opportunity to do some OWS and while the ocean isn't quite the same as the Boulder reservoir, I will get to practice some longer distances as well as swimming without lane lines and markers.  I've purchased a safe swim buoy which will be fun to try.  I also plan to fit in one more long run while we're there and spend a little bit of time on spin bike in the fitness center.   The timing isn't the best, but it will also prevent me from going crazy and doing a ton of volume.

When we return, I still have a couple of "run off the bike" workouts, but at that point there will only be a couple of weeks to go so I'll be more into taper mode. I will do some of these at a higher intensity than Ironman pace.  But what I'll really be working on is being well rested and mentally prepared.  Psychological preparation hasn't been a topic I've discussed much to this point, but I will have a post or two in the upcoming weeks dedicated to that.  As usual, I will also post my race plan as I prepare for the big event.

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