Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Down to T-minus 16ish weeks to IM Mont Tremblant

Where has the time gone?!?  Nearly 8wks of training is complete, and I just cannot believe it.  At the end of this week, my base phase will be over and I will move into the build phase which I expect will kick my ass like never before.  I just can't believe there is only 16wks left.

I am certainly proud of what I have accomplished to date.  Lots of early mornings, consistently hitting the planned workouts, nailing intensity.  I can feel my base improve, and my endurance too.  And mentally things are changing as well.  More drive, and more willingness to suffer when I know I am in the right zone.  The foundation is getting setup well.

My swim is solid.  Getting roughly 2.5hrs a week totalling 6-7km of consistent and solid effort.  Pace has improved, strength is building, and form keeps getting polished up.  Swimming with Storm Triathlon has been worth every single penny and I recommend them highly to anyone in the Ottawa area.

My cycling is improving all around, but I do need to hit some real hills, rather than the simulated ones on the trainer.  Just waiting for the weather to dry up and warm up again (we just had some late snow here).  Long rides are up at 3hrs already, but I am staying strong and solid throughout.  For the long rides on the trainer, I make sure I do Spinervals 13.0 and/or 30.0 to ensure a high quality workout, rather than just turning the cranks.  It makes the workout harder, but it will pay off better too.

Running is my weakness by far, but it is going well.  While I would love to be faster, I am more focused on hitting the right intensity level to build a proper base.  So far I have done just that, keeping the vast majority of my runs in Z2 and avoiding Z3 as much as possible.  Even with sprint workouts, the speed work hits Z4.  But there is a big gap to full - Z2 pace is roughly 6min15 on a km, where Z4 pace is roughly 4min25.  To me that seems like a big spread...mind you the sprints have only been 30sec.  Will see how that changes in the build phase.  Long runs gave been 90min to date, and they are going well, even when the preceding day had a 3hr ride.  I may have a chance to get into the sold-out half marathon in May, which will turn into a fancy training run for me, but it will make a good measure of my progress so far.

My training plan has brick workouts every second week, and so far I gave completed 3.  They have gone surprisingly well.  My run pace still exceeds 6min but I am solid in Z2 for it. 

I am very fortunate to have a family and workplace that allows me to head towards this lofty goal, and I always make sure that I am not taking advantage of any of my support.  These folks are my support system and they are doing a lot for me without my asking.  In return I do what I can to impact them as little as possible.  Many of my workouts start at 4.30am or after 8.30pm to help me ensure that.  I know that as the weeks progress, the session times will grow and I may not be able to hold to this behavior.  If that is the case, I will do what I can now, and ask for help later when it is needed.

I am a lucky man, and training like this has made it very clear.  More and more, I see Ironman as so much more than just a race.  You just have to keep your eyes open to see that.  In your daily grind you don't realize all that is around you, what you are so fortunate to have and to share in, what you really have been blessed with.  You can take "blessed" in either the religious or general sense - that's up to you - but it is the same in the end.  There is just so much in daily life that is glossed over, discarded, taken for granted, ignored, expected.  The training I have committed to has, surprisingly, identified a lot of this in myself.  I find myself getting happier, more relaxed, more forgiving as the days go on.  Yeah, I am more tired, but all for the greater good, apparently.  It's easy to get dragged down and bitter, but challenge what you do in a day and you realize there is a lot in life to be proud of.

It has been quite the journey so far, as you can clearly see (it's a good thing the bus takes a long time so I can easily dump this).  I am excited to are what is coming next in all facets of life and training.  What a ride.

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