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Last Week in Review

I’m back from a wonderful weekend of cabining and figured that I’d better sit down and write about my training last week. It was good, bad, and ugly let me tell you.

The Bad:

* I haven’t been doing much for my abs/core the past couple of months. It’s not built in to my training program, and although I know better, I have only done these workouts when I think of it, which is generally once every week or two. My abs began to protest this past week at about mile 6 of my 10 mile tempo run. I had an oblique muscle cramp up, causing me to slow way down and even stop a couple of times to dig out the knot. I know it sounds ridiculous. I am training for an Ironman, and I am getting side cramps. It feels like I am starting high school cross country all over again. The thing is, these aren’t just puny little breathing cramps. These are double over in pain cannot breath or move cramps. I have no idea what’s going on, but my guess is that the oblique muscle is just a little stressed out and that with a little core work, it will get better. It seems to hurt most with twisting while I’m running.

* Wednesday’s easy 3 miler quickly turned into a 1.75 miler as I cramped up early and didn’t want to sacrifice Thursday’s 75 minute run.

* I took Thursday’s run really slow and stayed within 2 miles of my house the whole time just in case disaster hit. I did 3 ½ laps and did manage to get in over 7.5 miles of very slow running. Better slow than not at all. The cramp was there but not bad, and I only had to stop a couple of times to dig it out.

* Friday’s run had to be cut short because of the stupid side cramp again. I had to stop at about 4 ½ miles because I was cramping up really bad about every 1/10 mile. I was worried that I’d stress it out too much and wouldn’t be able to do Sunday’s long run.

The Ugly:

* After Thursday’s run, I was famished. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the best nutritional choices when I got home. My gut quickly protested the sugar overload that I had fed it, and it all came back up. Multiple times. I felt better afterward, but nothing like that has ever happened to me before. I hope it’s not a sign of things to come…

The Good:

* My legs felt really good all week. It was that wretched oblique that held me back. I was flying on my tempo run before the cramp started.

* My 42 mile bike ride on Friday felt great. Steve came with, and although we didn’t have time to get to the big hills, it was a good ride overall. The route we took was fairly flat with some small rolling hills, and there was barely a breeze. My avg. mph was a full 2 miles faster than 2 months ago on the same course. I’m still slow, don’t get me wrong, but I continue to improve. I kept checking the grass nearby for wind because I’d look down at my speedometer and just be cruising at 20-24 mph at times. That’s never happened before.

* Saturday’s open water swim went much better than last time. I wore my wetsuit for the first time, and although the choking feeling around my neck will take a little getting used to, it went better than expected. Thanks to Steve for letting me borrow his goggles! Leave it to me to remind him 4 times to pack them and then forget to pack my own. I probably made it just under a mile. I tried to slow down a bit and just concentrate on my stroke, and it felt much easier than last time. I was going to go a little further, but a storm rolled in, and the thunder chased me out of the water (didn’t see any lightning but was afraid that it was coming).

* I kept my run on Sunday very slow. PAINFULLY slow. Eleven minutes a mile slow. My legs were screaming at me to go faster, but I held back. So did the side cramp. It was always just below the surface ready to break free, but it stayed there. I ran somewhere between 15 and 16 miles (my GPS crapped out for a couple of minutes in the middle of my run). Again, I figured that it was better to get the miles in, even if the time wasn’t ideal. I felt great when I had finished, did some quick stretching, threw on my swim suit, and went waterskiing.

What’s Next:

I feel like this week’s ab fiasco was a wakeup call. I need to start doing more core work, at least 3-4 days per week. I know my core has gotten stronger as a byproduct of all of the other work I’ve been doing, but it needs a little more individual attention.

Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition! I haven’t been the best about keeping a food diary. I’ve been telling myself for weeks that I will. I’m heading into some pretty hefty hours of training, and I need to make sure I’m putting the right kinds of fuel into my body. It has always been very good about telling me when it needs to eat, but I’m starting to doubt its ability during really light and really heavy training. Also, I’m not a big fan of meat, and protein shakes are hard for me to choke down, so I need to be extra cogniscent of how much protein I’m taking in. I’m not really out to lose weight. I knew when I started training that I would likely drop a couple of pounds as a byproduct of the sheer number of calories that I’d be burning (and at the end of winter I probably did have a couple of pounds to lose). At this point, there’s a fine line between eating too few and too many calories. Eat too few and I risk increased recovery time and decreased performance. If I eat too many, I risk having to haul those extra pounds over the hills of Wisconsin. I also need to work on a plan for what I will be eating for the race. Up until now, I’ve just used whatever bar/gel/drink I’ve had around, but I definitely need to start fine tuning that aspect. My long bike rides and half IM at the end of July will be my trial runs.

This week’s training is focused on the bike and culminates with a recon ride on the IMWI course on Saturday. The plan:

M: swim 2350M, bike 90 minutes on hills
T: bike 90 minutes at an RPE of 4
W: bike 120 minutes tempo pace
Th: swim 500, 5 x 100, 400, 4 x 100, 200, 2 x 100, 100, run 1 hour steady RPE 3-4
F: off/travel time
S: long bike – recon on IMWI course,60 min run afterward
Su: I’ll see how I feel. I may bike some more or go for a decent run.

This is a slight modification of my original program, which called for my day off on Thurs instead of Fri and for my long ride to be split into a 2 hr ride on Sat and a 4 hr ride on Sun.

If all goes well, I will have done my first century (and then some!) ride by the end of the week. I’ll also have a better idea of what those WI course hills look like so I can try to mimic them on some of my rides here in MN. Wish me luck!