Month 8? Week 32? Week 1?
Since I officially started training for Ironman Couer d’Alene on February 1st after being cleared for full exercise from my hip surgery you could say this is Month 8 or week 32. Training for Ironman Arizona is basically just a 10 month training plan with a seven week break in it. This is all true, however due to the seven week break being caused by the accident I am starting over. Making this week 1 of Ironman training for Arizona Ironman to be held November 20th.
I have been hinting throughout my recovery from the accident that I would be competing at Ironman Arizona (IM AZ) but never “officially” announced (to the extent that saying it makes it official) it till coming back from vacation. Really we, my husband and I, had signed me up for it a couple days after the accident. More than anything it was my husband that did as I was balking at the cost; an Ironman Foundation entry fee was a pretty penny. So while I continued to balk at it my husband went and signed me up, as he knew it was something I needed to do. We learned our lesson with Ironman CdA and bought insurance on the entry fee for IM Arizona with the knowledge that I had until October 6th to be able to get all my money back, in case recovery did not go as planned.
It wasn’t until about two weeks ago that I had any confidence that finishing and competing at IM AZ was even possible. Truthfully, I am not sure that until the end of this week did I really comprehend that I would be able to do it.
If I was to pick what I was more nervous to start between biking or running I would have a hard time telling you which. The first part of the week I spent on the trainer as I desperately needed a new back tire, mine was completely balled from IM CdA training, and I wanted to work on getting my endurance back up in my legs. I am not a fan of trainer rides, while I think that aspects of them are helpful I don’t feel that they make me as strong as being on the road does. Plus, riding on a trainer is not why I fell in love with biking. I enjoy the feel of the road whistling under my tires, watching the miles tick away on my watch, the places you go, the wind on my skin (head winds are a different story), and just all around being outside.
On Friday my husband took my bike in to have my tire exchange for a fresh one which meant that I could head outside on Saturday. To say I didn’t have second guesses or felt nervous to ride on the road would be a bald faced lie. In fact I was terrified. Friday night all I could see in my head as I went to sleep was the accident and all I could hear was the crunch of the lady’s car as she hit me from behind.
Getting on the road this week was really important to me because I knew that I needed to get over those nerves. I needed to face it head on and remind myself that it was just an accident and you can’t live your life in fear of things like that. So mid morning Saturday I went out for my first official IM AZ training ride. Just as I predicted the hours I had spent on the trainer did not do justice to the power needed for riding outside especially when you are blasted with a 20 mile an hour head wind. Despite the headwind, which trashed my legs during the first half of the ride, it was a gorgeous day for a ride, perfect for riding, and just what I needed to help with my nerves.
Finished the day with 48.4 miles which I was pretty proud of first being my first ride back after a seven week break.
Following the Saturday ride I went out to replicate the same distance today (Sunday) however found that all the training I had put in during the first week had trashed my legs and they had nothing in them. My left leg has some catching up to do strength wise, despite working hard to keep my strength up during recovery, while I felt strong on the bike I could tell that my right leg was providing most of the power. I could really tell today as my right leg was exhausted. I finished the day with only 30 miles for my Sunday ride. It was not what I wanted however it was a good reminder that I have a lot of work to do still, as well as a good reminder that you have to let yourself ease into things something rather than go balls to the wall.
I mentioned that I had tried running while on vacation and it was really tough. So I was nervous to start running again. Running is awkward and uncomfortable for me to do right now. I may have said that after my hip surgery however I don’t remember the discomfort being as high after surgery when I restarted running. Upon telling my physical therapist my worries he very kindly told me that I needed to start running. It would be uncomfortable and awkward for the first three weeks but you just have to get through that, he said.
So Wednesday I tried running. It was awkward, slow, and uncomfortable. However, here I am five days later and have run three times since then, each time decreasing my miles per minute.
The break does not hurt while I run but everything else feels uncomfortable. It has been seven weeks since the accident and with a 6-8 week heal time for the break it should be healed which makes sense for it not hurting. The rest of the joint and tendons surrounding the ankle is a little bit of a different story, but it keeps improving. I was able to run Wednesday, Friday, and today for a total of 7 miles for the week.
I only made it into the pool once this week, which is ok with me. I do not enjoy swimming especially now that swim practice is over and I am back in the 25 yd indoor pool at our gym. My goal is to swim once or twice a week and to get a couple open water swims in during September as it will soon get to cold for me to hop in the water around here ( I am a big baby when it comes to cold water).
Week 1 was a success and a big reminder of how tired ironman training makes me. Its not that I didn’t remember but it is easy to forget the feeling of tired. Thankfully now I don’t have to be as concerned that I am eating as though I am ironman training because I am! 🙂
There is a lot of work I have still to do in order to be ready for IM AZ but I am pleased at how much my base (Ironman CdA training) has stayed with me. I know that I will get there the key will be to be patient and not get frustrated that I am unable to pick up where I left off.
Thank you for staying with me through this journey, it has been a roller coaster but what’s life without a little bit of excitement!