Ironman Lake Placid Training Week #18


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Week 18 Recap Header

This was an interesting week. Each and every week continues to test my flexibility and dedication to training. This week was no different. After Ironman, one of the things that I will not miss is super early mornings. It is crazy that I can consider 6:15am to be “sleeping in”. I just can’t get used to these days when the alarm goes off at 4-something AM!!

Monday 6/9

PM – 1 hour 45 minutes on the bike trainer with the main set focused on hill repeats. I felt strong on this workout and was pleased with my steady effort throughout. This was a good start to the week.

Tuesday 6/10

AM – 65 minutes on the treadmill with the main set focused on speed. I had 4×10-minute speed work intervals and I had to dig deep to keep a strong effort. Sometimes I feel I can get past the early morning hurdle and start out strong on the run. This morning my legs felt like they were still asleep and it took me a while to get going. I also had several GU Chomps because I felt like I needed a kick to make it through. (I typically have a Stinger Waffle before all my early morning workouts. This is generally enough to sustain me). I felt better on my third interval than the first or second and I finished the fourth by just telling myself that I was almost done! I was happy that I pushed through the initial struggles and even though it did not get easy, mentally I pushed the extent I needed to complete it strong.

PM – 2300-yard swim – This swim session is one that typically falls within the recovery weeks. It is a shorter distance session with focus on drills and form with a few speed sets built in. As is typical, I completed this session without my Garmin, just so I can keep my focus on other things besides time.

Wednesday 6/11

AM – 90 minutes on the bike trainer with the main set focused on lactate threshold efforts – This was a long session, but I really felt good. I put in a solid effort while keeping my heart rate within the desired zone. Once I got off my bike, my legs even felt a bit wobbly! Hard workout!

PM – Well, this was a lesson in flexibility. I had planned to join a group that swims open water at Falls Lake on Wednesday evenings, but there was rain moving through, so I changed my plan. I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would remain only rain and not turn into storms and I could go to the pool. Well, as I am driving from work, the conditions became crappy. I called the pool and they were closed and she said that the weather was bad there. So, I headed home to try to figure out the necessary shifting in my schedule.

After chatting with Tony on trying to figure out my plan b, it was decided that I would not train that evening and push the swim to Thursday evening (in hopes that the forecast would better cooperate).   The run that I had planned for Thursday night would be done that morning (that was the hardest part because time wise it was on the long side, so that meant a super duper early alarm!! Plus my original plan did not have a morning session on Thursday, but the shift changed that).

Thursday 6/12

AM – 1 hour 50 minutes on the treadmill with the main set including a 90-minute steady run. I attempted to set my alarm for 4:30am, but I neglected to hit “save”, so there was really no alarm set at all. I somehow only overslept by 10 minutes, so I was up and trying to warp my brain around this run at 4:40am. Mentally, I was actually in a better place than I thought I would be. I knew I had this run to do and I just had to get my body to agree to it!! The first few miles I felt ok, but was unsure if I was really going to get into the groove that I like. Well, thankfully, I did. I really had a good run. I believe that my body did a good job of accepting the challenge from my brain! The 90-minutes put me at 10.77 miles with an average pace of 8:22.

PM – 3700-yard swim – The main set included 4×15-minute intervals with 1 minute rest between sets. When I has timed sets in the pool, I pick a distance which matches up to the planned times. For a 750-yard set, I am generally just under 15 minutes, so that is the distance I swam. I felt pretty good…I was generally happy with the times of three out of four sets. My times were 14:51, 14:49, 14:58, 14:49. Of course the outlier of 14:58, I would like to see around the same time as the other three. I was definitely pretty wiped at the end of my swim…my day started VERY early and I had two tough training sessions.

Friday 6/13 REST DAY! WOO HOO!!!

Saturday 6/14

This day was a biking adventure. Tony and I decided to take a little road trip and head toward the foothills of NC to take on some biking that included more climbs that what we typically find around here in Raleigh. The area is just outside of Winston Salem and includes three distinct climbs…Pilot Mountain, Sauratown and Hanging Rock. We had never ventured out to this area for cycling, but we had heard about riding in this area from several different folks. I was able to find a route map online that incorporated the three climbs and we were ready to climb (or so we thought)! After we got to town and parked at the beginning of the route, we met a few cyclists that were familiar with the area and the climbs. We got a bit of information from them to ease our navigation and they were super friendly and helpful. We planned to hit Pilot Mountain first, then continue our ride to Sauratown and end with Hanging Rock.

We arrived at Pilot early in the ride and this started an adventure like I had not imagined! Essentially, we were climbing the entrance road into Pilot Mountain State Park. The road was smooth and there was little traffic; the cars we did encounter were slow and cautious. I quickly realized that I had underestimated this climb. I had read what the % grade was, etc, but since I don’t do a lot of specific climbing, I really could not relate to what the grade meant in terms of difficulty. It did not take long until I was huffing and puffing with a heart rate that was off the charts! After the initial little bit, we took a short break to try to mentally re-focus on this challenge. Tony was encouraging me and I was thinking “how the heck am I going to do this???”. We continued along and I was in my easiest gear and going at a snail’s pace. My legs were ON FIRE (I wish I could select a harsher term than fire, because that is how they felt).   A couple of times when I tried to stand, my legs quivered. I was trying my very best to continue forward. I had to stop again because my breathing was out of control. After regaining my composure, we started again…we actually crossed the road at a slight downhill to get clipped in and gain a bit of momentum…otherwise, I would have toppled over with the first few pedal strokes. We made it a bit further until we stopped again and just decided the enormity of how BRUAL this was! Tony was a trooper in that he was doing this FOR ME…PLUS…his tri bike is NO WHERE near step up for climbing. Mine has a compact cassette which essentially gives me an additional easy gear (that what came standard on my bike), which can help on NORMAL climbs. The only thing that would have helped me at that point, would have been an engine!

They don't always listen...

They don’t always listen…

At this point, we decided that we had enough. For the training I was trying to get, this was overkill. We were successful in making it up about 2/3 of the climb. We made our way down, very slow with tapping on the breaks to maintain control and we made it down safely. I have read various sources online about the climb with varying average grades from 7.5% to 9.2%. I also read that the steepest parts of the climb begin about a mile past the park entrance and kick up to over 16% for about a quarter of a mile (which we did). The length of the climb is 2.86 miles with an elevation gain of 1,126 feet.

We continued along the planned route and quickly realized that the rollers we were encountering were good challenges. This is one of the things we came for. Good rollers that had more difficulty than what we encountered at home. For the most part, the ride was good. There were a few areas that the roads were not in the best shape, but overall, they were fair.

We came to the base of the Sauratown climb. We really did not know what to expect at all. All we could see was the initial start, which looked pretty steep. We knew that Pilot was more difficult, but what would we be getting ourselves into by starting another climb? We had exerted A LOT of energy early on. We were debating our choices when we saw a cyclist coming down the climb. He stopped and we were asking him about the climb, what to expect, etc. About this time, the two fellas that we had spoken to in the parking lot before we started our ride showed up. They were going up and encouraged us to climb with them. Afterwards, they were headed back to our starting point. We decided to go for it. It was tough but had less grade and a SLIGHT opportunity for recovery in two or three spots. I really wanted to make it to the top since we were beaten by the first climb. I had to stop to regroup, but Tony really pushed me to keep at it and make it to the top. We did and I was so relived. The decent was tricky with a few hairpin turns, so once again we used caution and slowly made out way down.  This climb totaled 6.29 miles, elevation gain of 1,404 at an average grade of 4.2%.

Our two new cycling friends continued to encourage us during the climb and waited for us at the base.  Tony and I opted to skip the last climb (Hanging Rock)…our new adventure had been more of a challenge than we thought and we had our fair share of climbing at that point! We rode back with the guys on pretty flat terrain which allowed up to really spin out our legs and flush them out. By the time we got back to the car, the legs were feeling half-way decent! In hindsight, I wish we had skipped the Pilot Mountain climb and done Sauratown and taken a stab at Hanging Rock. Pilot really was way more climb that I need to train on for my race and we had to exert so much energy to make it to the point we did.

After the ride, I did a three mile brick, which felt ok.

I did not get in the total time for the ride per my training plan. However, the challenge was huge and it was a hard working day, despite numbers on the Garmin.

Sunday 6/15

This was another day for an open water swim. I planned to meet Tim and Nicole at Falls Lake. They were up for some paddle boarding, so I took advantage of having safety escorts! I was feeling good. The water was so much calmer that the prior week…thank goodness! The water was really, really WARM (too warm)…and for me to say this (I think the pool is chilly), it has to be warm! Overall, I had a good swim. Tim gave me a few pointers on my sighting and the left arm of my stroke, and I really focused on these great suggestions. I completed a 1:01 swim with 1.74 miles.


Time: 11 hours 57 minutes

Swim: 9,062 yards

Bike: 73 miles

Run: 19.69 miles

Stretching/foam rolling: Not as consistent as I had become.

Some Sessions are Stars


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