Training Update – 5 weeks to go!

You may remember that when I started this blog it was to record and update my training progress, but as you can see I got a bit off track. It seemed a record of things like the number of miles I ran, etc. just seemed boring and even I didn’t want to read about that. Lately though lots of folks have been asking how my training is going and the triathlon is quickly approaching so I thought it is about time for an update on my progress.

First I can’t believe how the time has flown by. Seemed like I just started this whole thing but I know a lot of time and miles have passed – 14 weeks down to be exact. When I first started this back in February I glanced ahead at some of the later workouts with fear and a bit of skepticism at the idea that I would actually do some of those. But, here I am, actually doing the miles and doing them pretty well.

In case you are interested in the nitty gritty details, although every week is a little different in workout duration and intensity,  I am now generally running and biking three times a week, swimming twice and trying to squeeze in a strength training session each week as well. The running has built up to 6 miles and the biking up to 25 with swims as long as 2000 meters. On the two days I don’t work (Mon and Thurs) I do two things – biking and swimming this past Monday for instance and running and swimming on Thursdays, and on other days I run or bike only. I still meet up with the team for a group work out on Saturday mornings. I try to take two days off a week if possible and never run two days in a row. I think this rest time has been crucial to prevent injuries and save my knees. I do less swimming than biking or running because it is my strength. I swam in high school and feel pretty good about swimming. It is also the shortest portion of the race and improving in the swim (which I’m unlikely to do anyway) won’t buy me much overall. My goal with the swim is to finish the 1500 meters feeling like I’ve done nothing yet so I have energy left for the bike and run. The run will take it all out of me.

Last Saturday’s group workout was another “brick” with biking and then running. It was our longest thus far and basically was the same as the race we will do without the swim. We biked 25 miles down to Jordan Lake and then ran 6. I felt surprisingly good the whole time and was thrilled with the sense of accomplishment at the end. I have learned the benefit of strategic fueling along the way with Gu products (Vanilla Bean flavor with caffeine is my favorite) along with something to eat before the workout of course. That really seems to prevent that total body exhaustion I had felt in prior long bricks and I hope it helps in the race too.

It has been an amazing experience so far – a true mental and physical challenge. With a life as busy as mine filled with lots of day to day “fires” to put out it was easy to never try anything new or push myself in a different way. I think I used to do this more as a kid – learning something new or trying something different, and I’m enjoying that sense of accomplishment I had missed. And… in addition to being good for me, I’m now pushing $7000 raised for the LLS (the website is very slow to show it all) which is unbelievable.

So, in the spirit of further challenge, I’m off this weekend to Topsail Beach to do a sprint triathlon. It is shorter than our big one in June and arranged a bit differently but it will allow for good practice swimming in open water, putting the wetsuit on and off and transitioning from the bike to run (twice!) plus it will allow me to judge how far I’ve come and feel good about it. I did this race before two years ago (first and only triathlon so far) and I expect to blow my old time out of the water, but we’ll see. I’m fighting a bad cold and sore throat so I’m ready with my excuses. Even if the race goes badly it’ll certainly be fun to be back at Surf City where I spent many wonderful childhood days and hang out with my extended family for the weekend. I’ll try to post a picture or at least update when we’re back. Thanks for all the support!

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