Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Break Training and Welcome to Hell!

This week I am off for Spring break (one of the benefits of being a teacher).  Ken wanted to go somewhere as a family, and I told him that I couldn't get away and miss training.  April is peak Ironman training month and I just don't want to miss anything, nor do I want to try to fit it in on vacation, because that never goes as intended too.  He decided to take the kids and go camping with his brother and his kids in Southern Utah leaving me with 72 glorious hours to myself.  Hmmmmmm....what to do, what to do.....

I immediately knew I would call my fellow crazy friend Kim and arrange some quality training.  Kim and I met online (I love to say that, it just sounds so funny) on Beginner Triathlete and actually met up in person a year ago at IM StG 70.3.  We were instant kindred spirits.  We are both high school English teachers, both triathletes who love this crazy sport, and both quick witted. She is training for Ironman Couer de Laine. She is one of those people that just puts a smile on your face.  Anyhow, she lives in West Wendover, Nevada, about a 2.5 hour drive from me.  It was also her spring break, so this was going to work out perfectly!  She has always told me a ton about her swimming at a natural spring lake called Blue Lake that is about a half hour south of her.  I am so envious that she gets to swim in such a place year round and told her someday I would love to come and join her.  Well, this week was finally time to try it!

I arrived yesterday afternoon and we met for Mexican food.  We then went back to her house and watched a documentary called The Distance about 3 different Age Group athletes that are all training for IM Wisconsin.  It followed them throughout their year of preparations, jobs, family, etc leading up to the race.  Kim and I sat and laughed, nodded our heads in agreement at parts, or simply made fun of the people in the film.  We also had many "What the crap have we signed up for" moments where we just looked at each other and thought we have indeed truly lost our minds.  Good film, but honestly, if you are not a triathlete, it may bore you to tears.

It is very pretty out there!
We got up this morning and went trail running first.  Both of our plans called for a one hour run.  We drove a couple of miles out of town (not hard to do, it is in the middle of nowhere) where we parked the car and she took me on her favorite trails. It was fun, dusty, hilly, windy, and a great work out.  Thank heaven the wind calmed down though!!  I thoroughly enjoyed this run, but couldn't wait to swim :)

We went back to her house, ate a quick breakfast, changed clothes and were off to swim.  We took my Jeep and she directed me down to a State Highway that you follow for awhile, then turn onto a gravel road, that turns more into like a 4 wheeling kind of road.  There are only two signs telling you where to go, and you could easily miss them and even after that it is a series of twists and turns on this road to get you to literally the middle of nowhere.  There is this gorgeous Caribbean blue lake amidst the tumble weed and rocks.  Kim explained that she even comes here when there is snow everywhere because it stays around 70 degrees year round.  With a wetsuit on, that is a perfect temperature.  Weather today was around 45, windy, and sunny.  Very chilly, but, like she said, once we were in the water, it was perfect.

Two soon to be IronWomen!
Blue Lake is a popular spot for fishermen, scuba divers, and others, but today it was just us and two guys that were fishing.  The lake is pretty shallow along the perimeter, but will then quickly drop off to pretty much bottomless.  Apparently a plane is down there somewhere.  I immediately noticed as we were swimming that it is crystal clean and you can see pretty white sand right below you.  You can also see fish as well as you swim.  So freaking cool!  I was in immediate heaven out here!  I tried to swim the perimeter as Kim explained she does, but it would all of a sudden be too shallow and I was dragging knuckles and would actually get out and walk to where it would drop off again and I could swim.  I eventually just swam back and forth across it and practiced sighting.  I had several "All is right with the world" moments while doing this.  There was something magical, liberating, and freeing about looking up at a clear blue sky with sun and clouds surrounded by dessert, then looking down into the water on your down stroke and seeing the blue water, the fish, and the white sand.  I was like a kid at Christmas.  Pure heaven.  It reminded me how of all the workouts that we do as triathletes, open water swimming is my true Happy Place.  I loved every second of it.  With the wind, the waves got choppy at parts and I made myself swim against the chop for practice, and even though I wasn't going fast, I felt like it!

Our hour swim went way too fast.  It honestly felt like playing, not like "training" at all.  I got my planned 2600 meters in (thank you Garmin!) and we then had to get out of the water into the cold and get back to the car.  It wasn't even that bad!  It made for such a fun training day and I loved doing it with Kim!

This brings me to another thought I have been having.  I am now just a hair over 6 weeks from race day.  That is four weeks of solid training and a two week taper.  Holy Crap is that coming fast!  So, pretty much that means that the month of April is brutal as far as training goes.  As I look at Training Peaks and what it has in store for me over the next month, I truly believe if I can survive this month, I can survive anything, and that includes the race itself :)

I have now started referring to April as Hell Month for that specific reason.  Other than next weekend when I will be in Seattle, every Saturday has either a 16 mile run or some horribly painful brick workout.  This is along with the Friday night long rides which in all reality will most likely be on my trainer and are now up to 5 hours in length and getting longer.  The "short" work outs in the middle of the week are longer and more intense as well.  Like I said, April is now Hell Month :)

But, in keeping perspective on all of this, I know it will fly by.  I am loving it, as much as I dread it in the weeks ahead.  I have loved this journey so far.  It has gone too fast.  I have had ups and downs and moments where I am feeling like the strongest woman in the world and others where I lay in my bed at night and wonder what the heck did I get myself into and how much did I pay for this???.  The other night was one of those.  I was trying to break down how the day might go.  I visualized the swim, getting out, changing in T1, then getting on my bike.  Then I started to think about how I wanted to break the bike into segments as the whole thing will probably take 6-7 hours. Then I had a thought..."what the crap are you doing?  You don't even like riding that long!  It makes your butt hurt! Who the heck does that?  Did you not learn anything from the Triple Bypass?  But OH NO!  You didn't learn!  Because you are going to top that off with a full marathon because you wouldn't have suffered enough already, huh?  Did you forget how much you hate marathons???  Whatever happened to being content with 70.3s?"  So yes, I had a little mental meltdown. There may or may not have been tears involved.  Don't worry, after a day of training like today, I am over it :)

So, that is where I am at.  I am training well, feeling good, and enjoying my break.  I am committed to seeing these next 42 days till Go Time through and can't wait to see what it looks like from the other side :)  Happy Training and racing all!

My version of Heaven on Earth.  Thank you God for days like today and places like this!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great way to spend your Spring Break! Hope hell month is going's going pretty well here (so far)!