It’s finally in the BAG! I anticipated a tough final week and thought it was all coming true after a very uncomfortable turbo session on Monday night. Dreading the swim the following morning how surprised was I not to blast the swim but to get back to some sort of normality with regards to timing.
And so the week played out for perhaps the first time ever, to the script. Another blitzing Tuesday treadmill run where I told myself make it count it is the last one (I lied, still gotta do it next week just a tad shorter). Another strong Wednesday morning and for the first time in weeks my coached swim session was a success. Caught unawares after my warm up I was coaxed into 5sets of 500 which these days I could almost say is a walk in the park (it isn’t but that’s how I get my head round the monotony). Would my final long IM swim come to haunt in the morning? It didn’t! WOW. Not quick but I didn’t fall asleep and it was a solid effort.
I emailed Coach Vinnie some time back as I was starting to question the efforts I was giving. Once any training was finished, particularly in the swim and on the run I explained I was not feeling particularly jaded; returning to a’ normal’ state so quickly that I thought I maybe wasn’t trying hard enough. I guess the huge pay off after so much consistent training is not just the amount of food that I can tuck away it is the level of fitness that has been achieved. I don’t feel very fit when walking upstairs during work in the day but when training it is apparent fitness and more importantly endurance is there in abundance. Who would have thought training when tired with no rests week in week out would make you fitter and stronger. Well if you can get your head round that conundrum – it really does work.
And so to my Thursday night run. Totally shocked myself here, knocking almost 30secs per k off what I normally run off the bike. OK so it wasn’t a brick, but 30seconds in a k is huge especially when I found it comfortable – getting worried!
Friday turbo, thanks to The Catherine Tate Show and then the men’s German triathlon on TV made this all the easier today.
Saturday the last ride to PD for a while I would like to think! My long rides have been limited to 6hours in the saddle, knowing this is hard to stick to especially when going to PD I told myself give or take 15minutes either side. Since we started putting PD on the menu for Saturdays I have got quicker each time without really paying attention to what I was doing. I know I was riding pretty hard this Saturday, but I don’t want to think I was killing it. Always keep that thought in the back of your mind that the job is not finished when you get off the bike. So, and especially so as I am told in Langkawi, it is not wise to leave it all on the bike. This week for the first time I scrapped under the 6hour mark, stunned is pretty much an underestimation. Gosh if I could only do that on race day...
Thought I may have screwed up the run, knowing I had pushed but NO. The intervals were punched out and got quicker and quicker. Man if I didn’t know any better I would say someone was spiking my drinks!
Sunday run I woke up and thought let’s give this last one a good crack. Yeah right, I may be able to deceive the guys on the bike by using big gears but there is no way to hide the fatigue in my legs on that Sunday run. All 2hours and 40minutes were not pleasant but the satisfaction once I had stopped staggering around the car park was pure ecstasy!
I am now ready for that taper. As I mentioned earlier in the week it is not what I expected but it does make sense and my hours in the first week have been cut by a third. The journey is nearing an end but it hasn’t just been a 20week journey. For me I have been training for this one day since Feb. 22nd last year. A lot has been sacrificed particularly since December. No evenings out or late nights, weekend afternoons have been rare and sporadic resigning myself to the fact I MUST REST as soon as training is finished. I may sound a bit like a sad case but I do not regret my decision to do this at all. I have learnt much over what I conceive to be a very short time and also believe if I had tried at anytime to burn the candle at both ends then I probably would never have got through the past 19weeks unscathed. As it is I feel tired but strong, healthy and fit.
It’s not for everyone; each person has their own reason to train, and their own reason behind tackling and training for an IM. Primarily social interaction is the key motivator. This is what captured my heart, being able to train with a variety of colourful characters from different backgrounds with one common interest that supersedes what we do for a living, how much we earn or what language we speak. Sport is a wonderful thing and in triathlon I have found it more so. We spend so much time training together it is only natural your training buddies become an important part of your life. And despite the many walls I have fallen off and bumped into in the past weeks I can hand on heart say that I have never laughed so hard and smiled so much as when I am training with the guys. Lately the laughing has really started to hurt as the lactic in my legs just doesn’t go away, but I am still smiling, it doesn’t hurt to smile now does it :-)
All the hard work is done go enjoy your taper and ready yourself for battle because in the words of one hit wonder Europe and Sponge Bob, The Final Countdown has begun!