The last two weeks are taper. But I started that a couple days early.
This last week was supposed to be the biggest on the plan. I knew it would be very tough to score every workout, and I planned on freeing Tuesday for my 19th wedding anniversary (no contest there). But I didn't know just how tough it would get. This turned into one of "those" weeks.
No, let me correct that. This week was the one where I made too many of the wrong decisions. I let my fatigue, aches and pains lead my decisions on the final hard week. Instead of hitting over 15hrs of training, I got 5. All because of my decisions. Not because of all the flats I got this week. Not because of the high heat and humidity here still. Because of me.
Do I regret my decisions? Somewhat, but not too much. I was feeling "on the edge" of sickness or injury, so I backed off - perhaps a bit too much. But now I'm ready for the next week for sure.
Do I feel bad about these decisions? Yes, only because I'm scared of not succeeding at this race. I'm starting to get terrified of the Ironman now, second-guessing my condition, and my ability to get the job done in two weeks.
People ask me if I think I'm prepared for it. I'm not sure you can ever be prepared for it - kind of like having kids: you just can't anticipate and prepare for everything that might occur. I tell them that I have no choice now - whether or not I'm prepared, it just doesn't matter anymore.
So where am I with two weeks left?
- Taper. Every study shows that going too hard on the taper removes your training benefit for the race. Yes, I missed a pile of stuff, but this is the taper. Just get back on the wagon and hit the plan.
- Swim fitness - no worries here. I know I can hit the swim in 1h10 roughly. What I do need to do is get out of the once-a-week swim and double that. One swim for threshold work. One swim for longer base work.
- Bike fitness - I think it's there, even though the legs are done. There is no strength left in them for long. But anything under 90min is still strong even with the dead legs. Mentally, I am questioning my ability to hold the hills over 180k. But I do know that all of the hard, long efforts I put in are done successfully on dead legs. I just need to remember to trust the plan, and trust myself.
- Run fitness - Always my weakpoint, but it's improved. No speed improvement, but the stamina has increased. Even last night, 5min into the run I felt like I had run 10k already. But I held the run, even with the dead legs, even with the hot and hazy weather. It was a 6min/km pace, but it was done.
Will I finish the Ironman? Yes. Will I finish when I want to? Dunno.
What I do know is that this week will be different than the last. It's only two weeks away, a measly 14 days. Then it's done. I need to remember that, and remember that the extra bit of sacrifice will pay off.
Stick the plan, savour the taper.
And don't stop praying.