It's been a few years (6) since I've trained for an early season long course triathlon. 6 years ago it was American Triple T in May. This time it's Clermont Challenge 1/2 IM and Olympic in just 3 weeks. Shit! While I don't have huge expectations for my upcoming race performance--for one thing, all my bike training will have been on the trainer--I still do not want to suck, so I've been hitting it hard since I officially began "training" on December 1:
- Finished the grueling Tour of Sufferlandria (week of 1/26).
- Won my AG at 2 supersprint triathlons (weeks of 2/2 and 2/16)
- Did back to back Olympic+ NothingMans (this past weekend).
NothingMans are opportunities to test out nutrition and pacing, which are really one and the same. Whenever someone says they had stomach issues in a race, well, it means they screwed up their pacing, too. You can't practice one without practicing the other. When I have a NothingMan (more than a sprint) on the menu, I am thinking about it and preparing for it several days in advance, the same as a "real" race, because I need to be in good nutritional (and sleep) status in order to perform well. I take my NothingMans seriously!
For this weekend, I used my old wetsuit for the swim, even though I swam in a pool. Once again, glad I did--I had a bit of mid-back soreness after wearing it Friday and Saturday, so I did some additional stretching Saturday night since I was wearing it again Sunday. It also let me get my arms used to swimming in the suit. I will wear it at least once a week up until race day.
The original plan for this weekend's NothingMans was to do Olympic distance (1500 swim, 25-mile bike, 10k run) both days, but on Friday I decided I wanted to swim 1/2 IM distance on Saturday, since I hadn't done that (straight swim--most of my swims are about 3,000 yards lately) in awhile. I also decided I would just bike 1:30 both days, because that would give me good bike volume for the week.
My pool was fucking hot both days. I was overheating wearing the suit, but it was still worth it to wear it. On Saturday, a woman in the locker room told me I should be a wetsuit model! How sweet of her to say that! I was actually worried I might not fit in the thing because I'm up a few pounds up (which I think is due to my thyryoid petering out more--will find out today), but it fit just fine. But I was a total spaz, and forgot to put on Bodyglide, so it was tough getting it on Saturday morning. I also forgot to bring a towel with me! I had just put my crap into a locker and realized I had no towel. I was like, fuck it, I'm not driving back home--I will just have to drip dry!
Once I got in and started swimming, I played games in my head--I didn't really need to swim 2100, so I just made myself a deal that if I didn't feel like I was slowing down too much by the time I hit 1500 that I'd just keep going. Well, I was fine, so I finished out the 2100. It was great to get the suit off. I changed into my biking clothes in the locker room and drove home to bike.
I was using a custom Infinit mix after the swim and for the bike and run. I'd queued up music to listen to (random older dance CDs) while I biked and ran, and had fun listening to stuff I hadn't heard in a few years. On the bike, I did my typical :30 warmup, then I did 4 intervals of mostly 1/2 IM watts plus. Getting off the bike, I did a relaxed but not lollygagging transition to get on the treadmill. After I ran for about :10 (I started out super easy), I started thinking that it would be good for me to get in 13.1 miles of running across the 2 NothingMans, so I made an executive decision to do 6.6 miles on Saturday and 6.5 on Sunday. What's a couple more tenths of a mile, anyway?
I felt pretty good running. I was actually surprised, since I'd beaten myself into submission a week ago between the warmup, actual race, and then running after that race. I kept in mind that I had to do this all over again on Sunday. I ate well at lunch and dinner, and aside from grocery shopping and cooking a nice meal (strip steaks Italian style in a tomato paste/Marsala/red wine/garlic reduction and sauteed Belgian endive/carrots), I laid around. Saturday night it was supposed to snow, and I was hoping we didn't get too much because I didn't want to have to shovel a lot just to go to the pool and swim 1500!
Here's my finishing sticker for Saturday, which was a 2100 swim, 32.5 mile bike and 6.6 mile run:
I actually slept until 5AM yesterday, which is odd for me, but hey, I'll take it! But I didn't want to start too late in the morning, either. Since I'd failed to take my Synthroid in the middle of the night, I had to take it right away and then wait 1/2 hour until I could eat or drink anything. I washed dishes, knowing I'd be creating 4 more bottles that day, and still had to wait a few minutes before I could have coffee and breakfast. Even though I could get away with eating maybe 1.5 hours before starting, I don't like doing that, especially since I wasn't particularly hungry when I woke up. But I got on my breakfast just after 5:30, and figured I'd start at 7:30. Well, we did get about 1/4" of snow, and I wanted to get that off the driveway anyway, and figured it would be a good little warmup. It only took me about :10 to do it, but I felt like I hadn't fully digested my breakfast in order to start by 7:30.
I ended up starting at 8:05, but even then, I felt queasy in the pool, because even though this was just a NothingMan, my body reacts the same as for an actual race, and it had only been 2.5 hours since I'd eaten, so that combined with a hot pool had me feeling like I would puke at any moment. Oh and I remembered a towel yesterday, and I also remembered Bodyglide, so my wetsuit went on quite easily. I kept wanting to slow down because I SO wanted to puke, but I didn't, and I finished and got the suit off, stretched a bit, suited up to bike and headed home.
It was snowing very lightly, which was nice to look at out the window while I was on the bike. My legs felt somewhat worked over from Saturday, but not too bad. My warmup pace was a little slower than on Saturday, but then I picked it up and ended up riding faster/harder on Sunday! But then I was wondering how I'd feel on the run. Same as for Saturday, I transitioned quickly (after throwing a load of laundry into the washer), and did my warmup same as on Saturday. I was surprised that my legs didn't feel so bad, so I figured I'd try and run just a bit faster than the day before. About :43 in, I accidentally stopped the treadmill instead of a pause (to get another bottle of Infinit out of the fridge), and was like now I have to do math to figure out how much more to go. I got my shit together, and since I wanted to end the run at a full minute, ended up running 6.52 miles. So Sunday's NothingMan was 1500 swim, 33.3 bike and 6.52 run, giving me this awesome sticker:
I have one more "big" week of training (although today is a much needed rest day) and then I actually sort of taper--well not really--I am considering this a "train through" set of races. I'm doing a 4-hour ride on Saturday and a 2-2:15 run on Sunday, so another 1/2 IM plus across 2 days, which is no big deal really, but that 4-hour ride will probably suck at some level.
So part of me wants to change the Sufferfest motto to IWBMATTKMT: I Will Beat My Ass Today To Kick Mine Tomorrow.