Road to Kona: Embrace the Suck

I may have lost track of exactly what week this is on the road to Kona.  However, I do know that I am about 7 weeks or 50 days out from race day.   That is just under two months to get fast and learn to embrace the suck (or in other words the heat, humidity, mass swim start, and all around craziness that is the Ironman World Championships) I got a good dose of the suck that may be waiting for me a couple weekends ago while in Arizona with my family.  At 95 - 100 degrees, 38% humidity, and a UV index of 9 I successfully lost approximately 6 lbs during my two hour run, that is a 5% weight loss and boy let me tell you I felt it.  One thing that I struggle with immensely is the ability to carry enough water on me during training rides and runs, on a race course there is always water and/or fluids available but when I'm out in the middle of nowhere training it is very difficult to carry enough.

Training has been going really well since starting with coach Heather and I am excited to put it all together on race day.

swimming 2

It was quickly realized that if I want to come close to some of my pipe dreams at Kona I need to figure out how to swim - I mean this literally because it seems as though I mostly just splash around and pretend to swim.   So I got a couple of swim lessons from Annie Warner who is local triathlete here in Spokane.  It is amazing how quickly my times improved just from learning to swim straight vs. the side winding twisting I was doing previously.  Here is the list of things we worked on improving:

  1. Breathing
  2. Proper head rotation
  3. stream lining my body
  4. rotation of my hips and core
  5. hand placement
  6. underwater stroke - to decrease the swiping that I was doing
  7. tightening my core

As you can see the list was fairly long, and probably could continue to increase but that is a lot to think about for now so its a good start.

swimming 1

Biking is still going really well and I am pleased to say that I have adapted to a new style of high cadence biking vs the low muscling my way through my rides that I was previously doing.  This has really helped me to increase my speed without having to push more power and keep my legs fresh for off the bike.

So far I have hit two 100 milers on this Road to Kona.  The most recent one seriously kicked my butt with over 6,000 vertical feet of climbing and 95+ degree heat.   It took me longer than I would have like at just about 6 hrs and my terrain management (something Heather has been having me focus on while biking) was awful.  I ended up going through 7 bottles of nutrition and water that day.

bike ride 10

While I may not be getting the humidity training in that I would like in order to adapt to that the heat has been real.  Between training in Spokane, Arizona, and Hood River these last couple months it has been a rare day that I have not been out in the 90+ degree weather.   The hardest part for me on these hot days is carrying enough liquids, I seem to ALWAYS run out.  On a race course there is always some sort of liquid and/or nutrition available within a decent distance however many of the places that I ride it rare to see a house in the wheat fields let alone a water fountain.

bike ride 9

Running has been surprisingly up and down for me.  The last couple weeks I seem to have one day where I feel as though I can fly and the next I'm dragging ass and running through cement.  When running has always been your strongest piece of the triathlon this can be a little bit frustrating.   I just want to be SUPER FAST!!!

running 8

Up next is Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga here in about two weeks.  We are training through this race so taper won't officially start until after this week, in fact Coach Heather just sent me a kick ass awesomely tough week.  One of my favorite parts of working with a coach is seeing what crazy she has set up for me each week come Sunday.  They say that Ironman 70.3 Worlds is going to be a brutal one, they set up a killer course designed to test even the toughest athlete so it will be a great test effort for Kona.

running 9

Sitting at 2 weeks from one of the biggest races I've ever done and 7 weeks out from THE BIGGEST race I have ever done nerves are starting to hit me hard and I have these swings of complete panic:

  1. NO way I will be ready
  2. That mass swim start.....
  3. The heat and hummidty
  4. Will I be able to handle it?
  5. I need to swim faster
  6. I need to bike faster
  7. I need to run faster
  8. I just need to be faster
  9. That mass swim start....

Nerves are normal and I know that I cannot totally control the day, all I can control is how hard I have worked and how much fun I have on that day.

Thank you to all who have been following my journey on this road to Kona.  Stay tuned as I hope to remember to give a pre-70.3 Worlds update.

Happy Sunday!!