Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ups and Downs

The past couple of weeks have been a mix of ups and downs - all seemingly stemming from increased training volume.  Let's start with the good stuff.  Royce and Erin came to visit last weekend and we had a great few days of sibling time.  Royce had an appointment with a customer just outside the Charlotte area, making my place a perfect hotel.  Check out my handsome little brother and his beautiful bride!  He cleans up pretty well when business demands it.

Friday afternoon we grabbed lunch from Laurel Market and spent the afternoon at McDowell Nature Preserve along the banks of Lake Wylie.  We all agreed that Laurel Market makes the absolute best sandwiches.  It was an oddly cool afternoon and between wind, overcast skies, and threats of rain we were actually chilled along the water.


The three of us + Kahlua set out on a hike after lunch, covering a few miles of trails.  Kahlua kept close watch on the water, but was never let off her leash to avoid having a very wet and muddy dog on our hands.

A lazy late afternoon was enjoyed by all, complete with long naps and lounging on the back deck.  That night we had a fantastic dinner at 300 East.  My picks from their restaurant week menu included a salad with port wine soaked cherries and goat cheese, miso-glazed salmon with brown rice and sautéed spinach, and goat cheese panna cotta.

Speaking of food, here's what I've been been eating over the past few weeks.

Veggie Burgers, Grilled Corn-On-The-Cob, Potato Salad
Caramel Latte from Not Just Coffee
My bribe and recovery after a 14 mile Saturday morning run.
Tofu-Lentil Stir-Fry, Kale Chips, Grilled Flatbread
Breakfast for Dinner
Veggie-filled Omelet and Cherries
I've been addicted to tomato sandwiches, especially on a new loaf of Hummus Bread from Great Harvest.  The combination of toasted fresh bread, home-grown tomatoes, and a homemade basil pesto makes for a simple and delicious meal.  One night I added a fried egg for an extra protein boost.

Sweet Chili Salmon, Turnips Two Ways (roasted and mashed), Sautéed Zucchini and Onion
Let's talk about training for a moment.  With t-minus 63 days remaining until I tow the starting line at Ironman Chattanooga, training has understandably increased in volume.  I was handling it well until suddenly I wasn't.  Two weeks ago I was ready to throw in the towel and forget about Ironman.  I was simultaneously feeling overwhelmed, sleep deprived, and generally frustrated with the feeling that I was always two steps behind.  In general, I excel with multi-tasking and thrive when I'm the busiest, but there is nothing easy about the weekly combination of 15+ hours of swim/bike/run, prep and recovery from workouts, 60-80 hours of work, reading and preparing for cases/conferences, eating, and sleeping.

It took me a few days to regroup and get my head back in the game, but I'm back and recommitted to the next 2 months of of training.  This quote was posted on an Ironman Chattanooga Facebook page juts as I was struggling, and it resonates strongly.  

Speaking of mental toughness, I needed every ounce possible to survive four hours on the trainer on a rainy Saturday morning.  4 x (45 minutes @80% FTP, 15 minutes @ 90% FTP) without recovery between sets was a test of my sanity and commitment.  Despite pouring a disgusting volume of sweat and being bored out of my mind, I completed the workout as prescribed.

24 Hours of Booty kicked off last night, and I've been looking forward to this weekend for many months.  It's a national event to raise money for cancer research and also provides a large contribution to our hospital's cancer center.  From Friday at 7pm to Saturday at 7pm, cyclists ride endless circles around the "Booty Loop," a 2.84 mile route through Myers Park.  My plan was to ride a few laps on Friday night and then wake-up really early on Saturday to knock out 100 miles.  Friday night's weather was perfect and the opening ceremonies were heart-wrenching and inspiring.  I rode 25 miles with my teammates and then opted for some sleep.

This morning I left the house at 4:45am and rode the short distance from my house to the Booty Loop to begin my 100 mile ride.  Riding in the pitch darkness with only flashing bike lights to illuminate the road was awesome and definitely my favorite hour of the day.  Aside from the boredom of riding in circles, the ride went really good.  My new favorite riding fuel is fresh Great Harvest bread smothered with nutella or crunchy peanut butter and jelly.  That, combined with a cup of Peet's coffee at the half-way point really energized me.

At the 85 mile mark, I made one last quick stop into "Bootyville" for a gel and water to fuel the last 15 miles and prepare me for my 8 mile run to follow.  Just as I was headed back out onto the course, I crossed a speed bump (the same one I had crossed multiple times earlier in the day), heard a loud crack, and was instantly crashing onto my left side.  My Felt Bayonet base bar snapped completely in half on the left side, obviously some sort of manufacturing defect.

The costs of the crash are a bruised hip (the same hip that has already been bugging me), a sore knee, and road rash on my leg.  Right now, I'm frustrated that it had to happen just one week before a key race.  However, I'm also really thankful that it wasn't any worse.  I can only imaging how terrible it could have been if it had happened while I was up to speed in aero position.  Now I'm just hoping Felt will warranty their faulty product.

So at that point, riding the remaining 15 miles wasn't much of an option.  Instead, I very gingerly rode the 1.5 miles back home while balancing on a single handlebar.  Remember that 8 mile brick run that was on the schedule to follow my ride?  Despite soreness and blood dripping down my leg, I sucked it up and knocked out a solid 5+ miles (cutting it short to avoid making the injury any worse).

In total between Friday and Saturday I rode 110 miles, all in the name of cancer.  If you're interesting in contributing to my fundraising effort, here's my page where you can make an online donation.

Last, but not least, I present to you the official training update.  

Week 26
Swim: 10500 yards
Bike: 4 hours, 50 minutes (no long ride due to working all weekend)
Run: 20 miles (including a 14 mile long run)
Total: 11 hours, 45 minutes

Week 27 - This was the week of struggle that I discussed.  For the first time since I started Ironman training, I intentionally skipped a workout.
Swim: 10800 yards (including 4 x 1000m at 1:30/100 pace)
Bike: 10 hours, 30 minutes (including the dreaded 4-hour trainer ride and a long brick)
Run: 18.2 miles (skipped one run and cut my 15 mile run short due to work)
Total: 16 hours

Week 28 - Regained my focus and knocked out some quality training.
Swim: 9600 yards
Bike: 7 hours, 50 minutes (including 110 miles at 24 Hours of Booty)
Run: 30 miles
Total: 14 hours, 45 minutes

All I have to do is get through a swim workout tomorrow (2 x 2000 yards for time) and then it's taper time!  My mind and body are definitely in need of some recovery.  Next weekend I'll be racing a half-ironman at Lake Logan!

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