Every post-Ironman rest period must come to an end, and some sooner than others. My last break, after Kona, was 5 weeks long. I didn't really earn that one since I left off the part about running the marathon at the end of the race (as a side note, I think I forgot to mention that walking half of the Utah marathon made me really, really glad that I didn't walk the marathon in Kona on my stress fracture) In a way I sort of left out that part again. I mean, I made it 26.2 miles, but there wasn't a whole lot of running involved. The plus side to that is I wasn't nearly as beat up as I otherwise might have been had I actually run that ridiculous course that my Garmin told me had roughly 91 feet per mile of climbing. You know the benchmark my coach uses to determine if a course is "hilly"? 40 feet per mile. Yikes.
Anyway, the great thing about getting back into it right now is that at the moment, the weather is absolutely fantastic. It's tough in the fall when it's getting cold and might snow and daylight is disappearing fast. Not so this time around. The trees are green, the sun is around a lot and I've even gotten some open water swimming in. I don't think I've ever in my life considered getting into an outdoor body of water in New Hampshire this early in the season. It's nice to have that option.
Of course, as always, getting started again isn't really that fun. I mean, I do want to be out there training, it's just that suddenly everything is at least 10 times harder than before. Anytime I take even the slightest break from running it inevitably feels like an out-of-body experience when I go try it again. Fortunately it doesn't feel as bad as it did the first time, but unfortunately, I'm even slower than I was before, which is something I can't really afford to be. At least I am pretty sure that it should come back quick. Biking is similarly difficult as my heart rate skyrockets without actually going that fast, but as usual, I am not really worried about my biking. It was just nice to get out there and do a sort of long ride when it was bright and sunny and warm. I've missed going out in just a short-sleeved jersey and shorts, and it looks like the weather is going to be good enough in the near future for that to be the norm.
So after Utah, I am feeling pretty good, I'd say. The focus is coming back quick and I'm looking forward to getting past the oh-my-God-I-forgot-how-to-swim/bike/run-in-only-a-week feeling and also hoping to have a good race at the Mooseman olympic in three short weeks. I've always raced the half there, and I'm glad my switching to the shorter distance coincided with the changing of the bike course to what I'm hearing is, well, a whole lot harder. And with all this good weather maybe there won't be all of that complaining about how cold the water is. I swear, after swimming that 2.4 miles in Utah where they apparently lied about the water temperature so as not to scare us (as if telling us it was 60 would suddenly make it feel that way) I am pretty sure I can handle any swim that wasn't deemed unsafe for competitors by the race director. It actually makes me a little curious what the lowest temperature of any swim in any tri was where they actually made people do it. California 70.3 was 53 degrees I believe when I did it in 2006. I'm betting there are some unfortunate souls out there who've had to swim in colder.
Tomorrow begins another week, another attempt at feeling normal again. Plan is to swim open water in the morning. Can't tell you how much more I look forward to swimming when it is in a lake instead of in a pool!