Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Big Day Training

I would lying if I said I wasn't nervous about my training schedule for the weekend.  Saturday was my first 'Ironman Big Day' training session.  The week didn't allow any breaks or tapering to prepare for the big weekend.  Going into Saturday I was feeling a bit tired from the week's training sessions but excited and anxious to see what I could do.

I was lucky enough to have the company of a great training partner for the entire Saturday training session.   Trevor is in his final push of training toward the Inaugural Ironman NYC.  We started the day pretty early to load the car and head down to Lake Anna State Park.  Little did we know we would hit some uber traffic on the way down.  Our training got started a bit later than we had planned but the day was all about the training, we didn't have anything to get back to the city for.  

Lake Anna State Park

Once at Lake Anna we scoped out the No Wake and No Boats bouys, bypassed the beach area and jumped into the lake for an open water swim.  We swam for an hour back and forth along the No Boats bouys.  The advantage of not following a course and relying on Garmin for distance and pace - everything counts, no horrible sighting mistakes!  From end to end it was about 500-750m depending on the route and which bouy's you followed.  The swim was not boring and it definitely didn't feel like we had been in the water for an hour.  As much as I like to 'race' I know it will be important for me to swim smart and remain calm at Louisville.  I am hoping that there is a nice down river current for the long stretch of the IM swim.

Once out of the water we loaded up our bikes, put down some nutrition and headed out of the state park for 3 loops ( + some) of the Kinetic 1/2 bike course.  I spent one day earlier this year training on this course and another day racing on this course - I really like this course, a lot.  Little traffic, rolling hills, and good scenery.  We held a strong & comfortable pace of about 20mph for the ride.  The heat started to turn up as we started our 3rd loop so we had to stop off to refuel with PB sandwiches and gatorade.  I'm still working on perfecting the nutrition plan for IM but I am getting a better idea of what works with me and what does not.  I know solid foods will be important for me on the bike while gradually switching over to more gels and liquids during the run.  78 miles later my legs were still feeling pretty great as well rolled back into the state park.

Now we didn't stress transition time during this big day training session but we tried to make them quick and concise.  Once getting our bikes locked up we got some fluids and met up with a friend of Trevor's to pace us on a nice run through trails of the park.  We started at about a 9:00/mile pace and ran along the shaded trails of the state park.  As our run progressed the dark clouds began to roll in.  We finished up a 6.6 mile loop and I refilled my water before setting out for another 4.5 miles.  For ease and familiarity, as well as some self inflicted pain I decided to run a loop of the Kinetic 1/2 run course.  This run course starts out perfectly up hill, rolls through the camping area and cabins and finishes with a nice down hill portion.  I made it about 3 miles into the run before the sky's opened up, the thunder rolled in and torrential downpours started.  Luckily, we had pre-planned for this and Trevor knew the exact route I was taking so he was there in no time with the car.  I was bummed that I had to stop 9.5 miles into my run, but I felt great.   It would have been nice to complete the run but I have heard it's best to stop when you feel like you can do one more.  I'd rather have stopped then end up injured or anything else.
Skyline Drive

I can see that my training has come a long way since I first set out on this Ironman journey.  I've learned and continue to learn a ton about myself, and most importantly I am enjoying all the in's and out's of the training.  Yeah it sucks missing time with my family, trips to Northern Michigan, friends birthdays, etc. but I knew that when I signed up for this and I don't regret it for a second.  On the other side of things is made my trip to Colorado for the Courage Classic a totally justifiable training trip!  On Sunday I rode 'SkyMass' with the DC crew to prepare for CO.  I'll save the details for later, but it was an awesome ride, a great challenge, and a mentally tough training day after Saturday.  I look forward to taking it easy for a couple days as I travel and acclimate a bit to CO before hitting it hard with some great riding and brick runs in such a beautiful part of the country.

Once back from CO I have one more "Big Day" training session and then I'll slowly taper down to IM Louisville.  Chrissie Wellington recently posted the following in her blog, and I think it's very important to remember - "A wise Buddha once said that “the arrow that hits the bull’s-eye is the result of 100 misses”. So next time you have a bad race, wallow, cry, stomp, learn and bank the lessons and then try to move on. Yes, the race result is important. You have invested a huge amount of time and energy in achieving your goal – as have those around you – but ultimately it is about the journey to that start line, enjoying each and every moment and never letting that race day performance – good or bad – totally define you."


  1. I want to say thank you Holli, for still blogging about your training. It keeps me motivated to start Tri training and do my own IM someday soon!

  2. I am for sure putting a PB&J in my special needs bag. Maybe a mini snickers bar too since it saved the day when I was bonking on my 100 mile ride by myself.

    Have fun in CO.

    Can't believe we only have 6 weeks left and only a couple more long/hard weekends.

  3. You are so motivational for me. I am currently training for a marathon and often find myself dreading the long runs.... I needed the reminder about enjoying each and every moment. Love ya!