I'm going to stick with the same concept as last week. Quick recap of workouts and then a bit more on thoughts and feelings (which is more interesting to read about anyways).
Tuesday: 30 tempo minutes on the trainer for 1:10 total
Wednesday: 2.5 miles tempo at 8:20 for 5 miles total
Thursday: 1:10 on the trainer
Friday: 8 running miles at 9:28
Saturday: 14 running miles at ~9:47
Sunday: 45 biking miles at 20.1 MPH
Yesterday I met up with Steve, the guy that's going to be coaching me for Ironman Chattanooga, and his friend Jill to ride my long ride. After an email exchange earlier this week related to thoughts on goal paces for Rev3 (more on those thoughts to come later), he mentioned he was riding at Flatwoods Park on Sunday and that I could meet him. He's crazy fast and completed August 70.3 in 4:51, averaging 21.5+ on the bike before going on to keep a 7:37/mile pace on the run. I had no idea what he was thinking, but he said he was going to take it easy because he's tapering for Ironman Florida next Saturday and that I could draft the pace he'd be keeping. I think it was also to help me figure out what I could do in two weeks. I'm not one to hide my fears usually, so I threw out that I was nervous about drafting and the pace.
He just told me not to worry.
|We have a reason for posing like this; it has to do with someone we both know through a triathlon club.|
So I showed up, met Jill, asked how fast she rides, and was thoroughly freaked out before I found my big girl panties and hopped on their wheel. After being told they'd "take it easy" for the first two miles, I found myself riding my normal pace. Uh? Easy? When we got to the actual loop itself (we did the 7 mile loop of the actual park 6 times) they decided the first loop would be between 20-21. I hung on (drafting makes a pretty noticeable difference, with up to 30% reduction in effort depending on how close you get to the wheel in front of you, but I get nervous being too close). Then we started loop number 2 and Steve told me they'd pick it up a little. They did. They got up to 21-22 at times. I fell back a few feet a few times, but I was able to then pull myself back using intervals of sorts.
Then after the second loop I decided I just couldn't hang on. I said I was going to drop back, to which Steve responded, "No, you're not. You just need to get closer to Jill's wheel and you can hang on." Though I'd probably have been mad had I not known I could do it, I was actually really happy with this response. I needed a kick in the butt to get and stay in gear, and for the next 3 loops I hung onto their draft and rode my heart out. It was hard. It was probably faster than tempo pace for me. For the last loop, they picked it up above 22, and that's when they proceeded to drop me. I pushed as hard as I could, they waited at the halfway point, and then they dropped me again as they climbed above 22. I didn't care, though, because I was still holding a good pace on my own and I was glad that they picked it up if they wanted to.
We finished and headed back to the parking lot, and I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment. My Garmin told me I had ridden 45.16 miles at an average pace of 20.1 MPH. That's killer for me, and though I know the drafting aided a lot, I still had to ride that pace myself! And in addition to a handful of other training rides this season, it was a confidence booster.
My legs are sore, but I have a renewed sense of pride in my hard work this training cycle. And to be honest, yes, my tired legs are ready for taper. This was supposed to be my second or third week of peak training, but aside from the long tempo rides and runs, it hasn't felt that much harder. I'm not sure if that means I'm doing it right and have been training hard all along or that I haven't been pushing hard enough on these peak weeks.
Yesterday's ride was harder, but in a fulfilling way. And I think that's why I love this sport. There are so many different kinds of workouts in three sports (though swimming gets so little of my focus) that I'm always able to set mini goals to achieve, which is so motivating.
I have one more week of harder training before a 50 mile ride/10 mile run weekend next weekend, and then it's taper time. I'm planning on taking the 50 mile ride easier next week to work on being in my aero bars (I still owe a post on this) and eating and drinking on the bike. But my runs are still staying higher because I'm also still training for Jacksonville Bank Marathon at the end of December. Apparently the taper for a half Ironman is around the same length of time as taper for a half marathon. I was hoping for a little more.
What are your thoughts on taper?
Do you enjoy it and look forward to it, or do you get taper crazies?
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