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Now that I got that last part of the race report out of the way, the off season is beginning!  I had originally planned to start at the beginning of September, but this month has been insane with work and school and lots of travel, so I pushed it back a few weeks.

The Starting Point

After two solid months of eating like crap and not training, I feel like total garbage.  I am WAY beyond my “oh shit” weight, and into “WTF?” territory.  The main cause of this has been the past month.  With all the travel I’ve been doing for school, I’ve barely been home, and have basically had no groceries for the last month.  Because of this, I’ve been scrounging and eating whatever I can find in my cupboard/fridge, which usually results in breakfast, lunch, and dinner consisting of eating peanut butter off a spoon.

Not healthy.

Also, the current class that I’m taking is a field class.  That means an entire semester of field trips and work is crammed into the month of September, because after that, the weather is a crap shoot.  So aside from eating like crap, I’ve had virtually no time to do anything outside of work and school.  No training.  Nothing.  Nada.

Put those two together, and I am generally feeling cruddy.  I still look perfectly fine on the surface.  But I don’t feel that way.  But that ends starting now.

The Plan

Once my field class ends after this coming week, my schedule gets much more flexible.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are still a hot mess, but the rest of the week is pretty good.  The plan is to swim, bike, and run a couple times a week, while getting in a few decent strength sessions too.  I don’t want to try to do too much, because that’s when things fall apart.  So I’m planning on doing short, quality sessions for the swim/bike/run workouts, with a couple longer sessions on the weekends.

Other important things are staying on top of my groceries, and bringing lunch to school/work every day.  Whenever I don’t, I end up so starving by the end of the day, that I come home and inhale everything in my kitchen.  But with a little bit of planning ahead, I don’t have that problem.

The Goals

I have a few goals for this off season.

  1. Lose the excess weight.  I’m sick of it.
  2. Improve strength and flexibility through weightlifting and yoga.
  3. Make some good power gains on the bike through HIIT workouts.
  4. Improve my swimming technique and pace through focused workouts.  My swims are always so unfocused.
  5. Be consistent in writing at least a weekly post on here.  I haven’t written much in the past year or so, and I miss it!

So that’s that for now.  Time to prep my lunch for tomorrow, and head to bed!

Missed the beginning?  Pre-race, The Swim, The Bike.

The Run

I came out of the changing tent in T2 and jogged my way out of the high school area.  The transition exit popped us out on the Boulder Creek Bike Path, and I immediately saw two of my friends on the side of the path, cheering their heads off.

run 1They caught me adjusting my race belt.

So far, I was feeling good!  I had no idea how my foot would hold up, but I figured I would run for a bit and find out.

The sides of the bike path were crammed with spectators, making the run very loud and fun.  Boulder definitely knows how to spectate a run!

The run is a two-loop course that’s shaped like a Y, so there are three out and back legs, and you do the whole thing twice.  This did get a little monotonous, but it was also kind of nice to just focus on the out and back at hand.  It broke things up quite a bit.  I still have mixed feelings about this setup.

I ran along for the first two miles and was feeling pretty good.  The constant ups and downs on the bike path (underpasses) were tiring, but not insurmountable.  Mostly just annoying.  Everyone was very happy and chatty, and I started to find myself settling in with certain people.

After two miles, I started to notice that familiar tightening in my right foot, and knew it was decision time.  I had absolutely NO intention of DNFing, so stopping wasn’t even an option.  It was all about managing the foot for the next 24.2 miles.

I settled in to a run/walk situation.  I knew that if I just walked, my foot wouldn’t get any worse.  I also knew that if I ran too much, it would blow up on me like it did at the Colfax Marathon in May, and I wouldn’t even be able to hobble my way into the finish.  Time goals were now out the window.  This was all about managing.

Around this time, I also settled in with a nice guy named Paul, who was also doing a run/walk system.  We ended up chugging along together for most of the rest of the night.  We pushed each other when the other didn’t want to run, and we kept each other occupied by chatting as we went.  Sometimes, one of us would be feeling pretty decent, so we would run ahead, and the other one would chase for a bit.  It definitely made the drudgery of the Ironman Shuffle more entertaining.

run 2Me and Paul (in the red).

I decided to try something new this time around, and started grabbing a cup of Coke at each aid station.  I had heard good things about it from others, but never drink soda myself.  But man oh MAN, that stuff was like the nectar of the gods on this day.  I may have said exactly that to several of the volunteers throughout the night.  I will definitely do that again.

One other thing that was nice about the Y shaped course was that you had a lot of chances to bump into friends who were also out there.  I caught most of my training buddies at least once.  Including… Molly!  She had made the bike cutoff, and when I saw her coming in the other direction, I may have screamed, and sprinted to her to give her a big hug.  She looked tired, and terrified of being pulled off the course, but she was doing fantastic!

I caught several of my friends out spectating on the course throughout the whole run.  They are the best!

run jumpBeing a doofus.  Paul looks unamused.

The out-and-backs continued into the darkness.  At mile 20, I came to the big screen that the Newton Running Lab had set up, and my friend Laura popped up with her pre-recorded cheer.  It definitely brought a smile to my face.  I can’t even imagine the waterworks that must have caused for the first-timers.  I would have been a mess!  It was definitely a nice little touch.  I hope they do that again next year.

The last 6 miles were fairly quiet.  We were bringing up the rear, but the course definitely seemed more crowded that normal.  I think a lot of people ended up getting hit hard with the altitude, sun intensity, dryness, heat, and deceptively challenging bike and run courses.  At this point, Paul and I had picked up a couple other guys, and the four of us were bringing it in in a group.

We worked our way back toward the high school, and then past it for the final out-and-back.  Up to Eben G Fine park, and then the final (gradual) downhill to Pearl St.  We had been obsessively checking the time all night, and knew we had plenty of time to spare, so there were no worries there.

At this point, my feet were on FIRE.  It was the only problem of the day (aside from managing the tendonitis).  I had stupidly forgotten to change my socks and bodyglide my feet in T2, and now I had blisters on blisters on blisters.  It was AGONY.  Every step made my heels feel like they were on fire.  But that was okay.  I only had one more mile to go.  Then I could pop those suckers and get even.

Perhaps my favorite sign of the day was the one I saw as I came to the high school.  It said “To the finish” with a big arrow.  I happily followed it.

I looped around, off the bike path, and up onto the street.  It was here that my friend Laura caught me – cowbell a-blazing.

blurry finishLaura running me in.

Laura ran up 13th St. with me for two blocks, cheering and cowbelling.  I entered the barricaded area, and into the bright lights of the finish chute.  To my left, a guy who was just about to finish stopped and was about to propose to his spectator girlfriend.  Mike Reilly was freaking out and sprinting toward them, but still managed to squeak out “You did it! You are an Ironman!” as I crossed the finish line.

IM Boulder FinishSuperstar!

I crossed the finish line with a big grin, got my medal from the female pro winner, Danielle Kehoe, and proceeded to hobble my way to Laura, and her boyfriend, Nick, who were waiting for me just a few feet away.

after the finishAfraid to take my shoes off and see these blisters.

I sat on the sidewalk and started taking my shoes off.  It was AWFUL.  I was horrified.  After several minutes of just sitting and enjoying the feeling of being shoeless, Laura, Nick, and I rolled my bike (which they had awesomely collected for me) back to my car, so I could go home, shower, and sleep.

 

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geonerdette at gmail dot com

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