It's incredible to me that I am almost through with my biggest training week in a very long time, and that that means that my big race is only four weeks away. At the same time, I am definitely itching to get back to my old routes. I don't feel the same sense of urgency as I did last year when I wanted out of Tucson, probably because I'm not by myself and the roads here are a lot nicer, but still. It's been almost three months and it's more than another month until I finally drive back and I'm ready to get back to my old routes. I just have the little matter of an Ironman race to get through first. Let's just not think about how awesome that drive from Texas to New Hampshire is going to feel immediately following my first such race in nearly two years. Ouch probably doesn't begin to describe it.
But that is a ways away for now. Right now I'm just doing a whole lot of training. This week involved a crazy amount of time spent riding my bike, among of course plenty of swimming and running to go with it. The weather hasn't been so great here this week. After an absolutely gorgeous March the sun really didn't come out at all this week. Yesterday afternoon for a bit, but that was about it. That meant a bit of trainer time. I guess the good thing about that is I can't overshoot my rides, even though I really never do that anyway, and I don't have to end the longer rides with this really mean, long, steep climb at only two miles from home that I get stuck with so often.
I'm finally showing a bit of promise on the running side of things, although for every encouraging run there is an equal if not greater discouraging one. That said, a lot of those bad runs could be explained by constantly hilly terrain (even though Texas is flat!) extreme leg fatigue from crazy volume, and the fact that I'm trying to be really, really good as far as what I'm eating. And while that is good from a weight loss standpoint, it often makes my workouts feel like crap with the exception of random ten-minute bursts that occur after I eat a gel. But I can't take gels every fifteen minutes! Anyway, I'm still happy with how things are going there. Swimming is also going pretty well, and biking I can't really tell because I wind up climbing so many hills here my overall average speed isn't really a good gauge of progress.
One thing I am very glad to have over with is the seven hour ride. This is the biggest ride before the Ironman, four weeks out from race day. To be honest, since I don't tend to mind long rides in general, this one isn't a huge deal to me, either. It just takes an hour longer. The only time I really can't stand it is early in the ride, being, say, two hours in and having to know in my head that I still have five more to go. But once I get past halfway, it's not really a big deal. Am I the only one who does these rides alone? I've done a few with people when they fall during a training camp, but for the most part it's just me setting off at sunrise and coming back seven hours later a whole lot sweatier and with a jersey full of bar and gel wrappers. It's actually kind of amazing that it went by fairly fast.
And it was fairly uneventful. The only notable things were the trucker who yelled at me to get on the sidewalk as he rode by, surely delayed at least seven seconds from his destination and obviously not aware that sidewalks are for pedestrians, and the fact that for some reason there was an excessive amount of road kill on this ride. I've ridden this route plenty of times and definitely never come across so many dead animals. We're talking in the dozens. Squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, possums, armadillo, racoons... definitely not something I enjoy riding by every few miles.
So one more decently difficult day tomorrow and then I get a rest week. I will very much be looking forward to having a day off completely when I can just stay in bed. I've sort of reached that point in the training when at the end of the day I'm exhausted but at the same time I have a hard time falling asleep or I wake up too early or I wake up randomly in the middle of the night. Also not helpful is the fact that I appear to have a teenager living in the bedroom in the apartment above ours and he likes to play music with heavy base that he seems to time starting precisely the moment I decide to shut off the light and continuing on for thirty minutes to maybe two hours. Awesome. Just one of the other reasons I'm kind of ready to head home.
Oh, another reason I need to go home? Let's just say that after my broken foot incident I had to start wearing a different set of clothing I happen to own, which includes most of what I brought here. And, well, I need to dig through and find some of that other stuff I used to wear when I was a much fitter athlete. At least it is physically possible to wear clothes that are too big rather than the other way around. It just doesn't really look all that great. Not that I'm really complaining.
Well, that's about it. Four weeks to go!