I am deeply entrenched into the training program, and it has successfully overtaken just about every aspect of my life. Midway into the sixth week, I am starting to experience the telltale signs of training stress: the tweaks, the aches, the fatigue. I am trying to stay focused, and keep my eyes on the prize. The prize being that feeling of crossing the finish line and knowing that I have pushed my body and spent all of its resources without taking it all for granted.
Last week's training was tough, I'm not going to lie. As much as I would love to sit here and say that I am coasting through each training session, I just can't. Even the swims are tough, and those usually feel like a rest day for me. The fourth training week was a recovery week, meaning the workouts were shorter and less strenuous than the week before, and I was successful at completing each and every minute of them. Last week, the fifth week, not only put me back on the track, but it thrust me into the fast lane. While I completed every minute of every scheduled workout of the week, I paid for it in pain and exhaustion. The training plan seems to ignore the 10% rule, and my mileage was jacked up a lot more than that, particularly in the running department, arguably my weakest link in the triathlon chain.
A rough 75-minute run on Sunday on a really hilly course has left me spent. I worked through it during Monday's 60-minute swim, successfully completing five 500-yard sets intermingled with some 100-yard backstroke recovery sets, for a total of 3100 yards. Yesterday brought a 60-minute bike ride, and my legs wanted nothing to do with it. I got through it, at a glacial 14-15 mph average pace.
My hamstring is giving me fits again, and I am just so fearful of being injured. I do not want to be the one who limps through a race for 9 hours. I want to be the one who triumphantly completes the race, feeling spent but strong.
This morning, the plan was to do a 60-minute interval run. My husband and I were up and out the door before 5 a.m., and it became quickly apparent that there would be no intervals, and that 60 minutes was a laughable suggestion. I came to the conclusion that I still have 10 weeks of training and that little Half Ironman triathlon to get through, and I'd like to do it injury-free, so we hobbled through a mere 30-minute run, choosing to listen to our bodies rather than pound through the pain. Sometimes it is smarter to back off in order to be able to keep playing until the end of the game.
If it sounds difficult, it is. If I sound beaten down, I'm not quite there. The workouts are tough, but the gratitude I feel toward my body at the end of the day makes it worth it. With as little time that we are given in our bodies, I think it is a shame to waste that time not seeing what they are capable of.
Overall, I am enjoying the training. Most days after a workout, I feel strong and pleased with my progress, even if I feel weakened and sore. The aches and the tweaks are to be expected, I have done this enough at this point to know that. What I need to continue to work on is my recovery and my nutrition, both of which are lacking. It's difficult to take the time to stretch, roll, and rest when I've already taken so much time away from my family to do the workouts. I suppose that I can swim, bike, and run through some of the fatigue and pain, but I will never be able to outpace that damned guilt.
Onward and upward!