Week 37: Last Training Week in SF

It’s hard to believe this is my final blog post about Ironman training. It’s been an unbelievable, life-changing, challenging journey and I’m so ready to see my hard work pay off next Sunday. I’ll do a couple more ad hoc posts this week leading up to race day, but in the meantime I just want to thank you all for following along and encouraging me throughout this experience. Your support means the world.

This past week was all about interval-based training and race week preparation. I made packing lists and itineraries, I read the Athlete Guide in detail, I planned out race outfit options based on the weather, I bought cheap winter clothes and hand warmers, and most importantly… I sought advice from Ironman finishers.

In general I feel prepared and excited, but definitely nervous to conquer this crazy challenge. There are factors out of my control that will be tough to foresee, of course. But instead of worrying about these things, I just plan on dealing with them the best I can, or coming up with Plan B (e.g. inclement weather, bike mechanical issues, muscle cramping, exhaustion,  pain, etc.). Overcoming adversity and pushing through obstacles is partially what Ironman is all about.

I’m definitely excited, though, and the excitement will only build from here after I arrive in Tahoe (today!), go through the Ironman Athlete Village, hang out with my teammates and friends, see my family, and preview the course again. Can’t wait!!

Party on the Bike Path

On Saturday morning I went out for a short solo bike ride (I never ride by myself but I wanted to get an early start) as a final spin and mechanical check before Tahoe. I rode up to Hawk Hill where I was met with dense fog but luckily very few tourists. It was very quiet and calming up there, so I took a moment to reflect on my training and Ironman in general.

Foggy morning. Clear mind. At Hawk Hill overlooking the GG Bridge.

Foggy morning. Clear mind. At Hawk Hill overlooking the GG Bridge.

I continued my ride on the Mill Valley Bike Path (a popular thoroughfare)  and… wait… is that Anne, Trish, Al, and Chuck!?! Yes it is!! I was smiling ear to ear when I saw my great Team in Training friends. We laughed, hugged, got caught up, and then… wait… is that Chris and Mike (my GGTC teammates) riding by? Yes it is!! They also stopped to chat. But wait… Jesse!? Yup, Jesse from my group also zoomed by and stopped. We took a photo and were starting to talk about Tahoe when… wait… Sam!?? Yup, Sam from my Lavaman Team in Training group (also doing IMLT) rode by and stopped. Then it was Tim and Suzy and their kids. And before long we had a party in Mill Valley! I also bumped into Mike (GGTC coach) and Alex (from GGTC) making for a very fun and exciting bike ride that started out so lonely! Loved it!!

I ended up finishing the bike ride with Jesse which was fun. We went to Tiburon and Belvedere before returning back over the bridge (no tourist collisions, thank god!) and into SF.

Part of the Ironman Lake Tahoe Golden Gate Tri Club crew!

Part of the Ironman Lake Tahoe Golden Gate Tri Club crew! Jesse, Chris, and Mike.

Last Long Run

Sunday was my last run in SF and the final chance to test any run gear or nutrition. I wore the outfit that I plan on wearing during Ironman (GGTC tri top, tri shorts, sunglasses, handheld water bottle, Pearl Izumi shoes) and ate 1/2 of what I plan to eat on race morning.

I wasn’t meeting anyone so I decided to head over to warm and sunny Marin to run on the bike path and through Tiburon for a less-crowded option compared to SF.

I started at the Mill Valley Middle School and ran towards Tiburon until I saw signs for “Public Shore”. I followed that for a little while and was pleasantly surprised at how quiet that path was with beautiful water and mountain scenery. I had been on parts of it before, but I discovered new nooks and crannies.

Overall I ran 7.1 miles at an aerobic pace, dripping sweat in the hot sun, and happy with the morning. Also saw some of the Every Man Jack guys running on the path. I did mention the beautiful scenery, right? 😉

Running in Tiburon. Sunny and amazing morning.

Running in Tiburon. Sunny and amazing morning.

After the run I stopped by my favorite trifecta, first to Cafe del Soul for a quinoa wrap and then to SFRC to see Jenny and buy wool socks. Jenny had paced her friend 25 miles through the night during his 100 mile race. Wow!!!

Then it was back home to pack and get organized to leave for Tahoe!

Large baggies are great for packing! And I'll re-use them on race day inside my gear and special needs bags.

Large baggies are great for packing! And I’ll re-use them on race day inside my gear and special needs bags.

Getting Speedier

On Wednesday morning I started my tempo run without really thinking too much about pace or goals. But when I started running I felt so good! Maybe because our volume from the weekend was so much lower than usual? Or maybe I’m just getting faster? Either way, I ran the 6.2 miles at an average of 7:52 minutes per mile which is by far the fastest I’ve been able to hold a tempo run. Normally I average out in the 8:15-8:30 min/mile pace. So I was really happy to see that I’ve been getting better!

Post-run foam rolling session.

Post-run foam rolling session.

Last Year it was Smoke and Hypothermia, this Year It’s…

  • Smoke from fires in King Mountain (El Dorado County)
  • Smoke from fires in Yosemite
  • Rain and thunderstorms
  • Heat in the afternoon
  • Freezing cold post-swim onto the bike

I’m part of a Facebook group for IMLT where people post photos, advice, ask questions, etc. And the last few days have been dominated by discussions of weather and fires.

Honestly, all you can do is prepare for any type of condition and hope for the best. My race day nerves are already started to creep up on me, and the last thing I need is to be nervous about factors out of my control! So I’ve packed water-proof hats, jackets, and extra socks for my race bags. Should be interesting to see how this all plays out.

As of today the fire has spread over 3900 acres and is 10% contained. Maybe some rain this Saturday will actually help?

Screenshot 2014-09-15 10.27.46

39 degrees in the morning, thunderstorms this weekend...?

39 degrees in the morning, thunderstorms this weekend…?

This Week’s Training Log

  • 14th. Run. Tiburon run 7.2 miles. Last SF long run. 9:07/mile
  • 13th. Run. Brick run 2.1 miles. 9:20/mile.
  • 13th. Bike. Final bike ride in SF. 34 miles.
  • 12th. Swim. Morning swim drills and intervals. 45 mins. 1650 yards.
  • 11th. Bike. Final M2 class. 24 miles.
  • 10th. Run. Morning run 6.2 miles. 7:52/mile.
  • 9th. Bike. M2 power cycle class. 22 miles.
  • 8th. Swim. 30 minutes in the pool 1850 yards.

Thanks Everyone. Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.

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