Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ironguides Journal WK20

The first week of my taper; never having done a proper one of these before I envisioned blissful feelings, boundless energy & happiness. People have spoken about how great you feel whilst on the taper, and since many of my buddies had already been rubbing my face in it, parading around without aches and pains ready to race, my turn had finally come, and I wanted me some of that!
It didn’t quite play out as I had visualised. In fact this week turned out to be the hardest yet. Not hard in the physical sense but damn tough in the mental sense. Here’s what happened (I will try to be brief):
Monday: Shortened swim by all of 600m. Not too bad but mid swim I suddenly seized up. I was thinking about that finish line and suddenly saw myself fighting on all fours to cross the line before another competitor in my age group. It was a battle between the two of us! Crawling, falling, and wobbling trying to get to the line first. (Does this sound familiar?). Panic and fear suddenly gripped me and I sank! Sounds funny and rather bizarre now, will this premonition play out on Saturday? God knows, I can’t even tell you who crossed the line first! Got out the pool and went to work very emotional and cried.
Evening turbo: Again a shortened 74minute version, really unpleasant, not feeling great at all.
Tuesday: Shortened swim again and shortened by myself even further as panic attacks and asthma gripped me. What is up with my emotions??? In a complete and utter mess I got out and immediately penned an email to Coach Vinnie.
He replied almost immediately, and described what I was going through as (yup you guessed it) completely normal. He also highlighted many other symptoms I had not mentioned but was suffering from. Boy this guy is good. To quote part of his reply, because you may find this rather insightful:
“When we switch into "taper" mode after a long period of consistent training, we make a journey from one state of physicality into another. What is happening is that your body is moving from "fight" mode into "heal" mode. The training systems that were on fire are shutting down because you are no longer subjecting your body to the physical training (stress) stimuli.
This change means that the balance of hormones in your body is changing. The level of hormones secreted to sustain your high levels of physical exertion during training is dropping, while the level of "restoration" hormones is increasing. This change translates to a sensation of fatigue in the body.
Your muscles will start to "gum up" as they lay down healing tissue without constant movement breaking down the tissue -- so it is important to move. That is why we don't take extended periods totally off during a taper -- you will seize up!
Your body will feel sluggish as you have been used to a very high rate of oxygenation and movement of fluids. Your metabolism will be out of whack as the amount of energy you are used to consuming drops. Your digestion will feel a little off, your head foggy, and you feel all the little aches and pains the season brings on.
All totally normal! In fact, what would be cause for concern would be if you didn't feel these things at all! That would imply you hadn't trained enough, or that you are entering into "taper mode" too late. Right now, about 10-12 days out from race day, is the ideal time to go through what you are experiencing.” – Coach Vinnie.

Evening run: Again slightly shortened. I had also decided not to blast it as I have been doing. Still did a fair pace with chronic indigestion, fighting off the urge to hurl over the machine (as you read above-completely normal!).
Wednesday bike/run brick: Easy peasy bike on Scott. Only 2hours in duration with a solid 45min run at 5min k pace – not bad.
Evening coached swim: During warm up my arms wanted to fall off. Man oh man they hurt. Swam for 1hr15min doing 100’s with stroke correction, a good session with some breakthrough on the stroke I think.
Thursday swim: Left the watch on the bedside table and did my 200’s blind as instructed. Fast, slow – didn’t care, just tried to be consistent whatever the pace was.
Thursday run: Only 35minutes and the painful legs is still a worry.
Friday turbo: Shortened again and a lower resistance, are my legs starting to finally feel better or am I imagining it??
Saturday Ride: 4hrs was the target at a SUPER easy pace. The idea was if 30kph is my norm then ride 26kph, felt good, lactic finally going I believe. To get the time done I went a little longer and the guys waited for me back at the Batu18 coffee shop – thanks guys!
Brick JOG: Lovely jubbly, if only I could feel like this when I run.
Sunday run: Shortened to 1:45 (bliss)! Instructed to keep it flat (taking care of the pins) we all know KL does not offer much ‘flat’. A treadmill run was advised but 105min on the treadmill – no thanks. I did some on my own, some with the guys, the great thing with running to the clock I just make it up as I go along not caring for the distance – it’s such a relaxing way to run. In the bag and the legs didn’t feel buggered - result
Summary: I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully the engines will be revving come Saturday. It has been tough feeling so rubbish knowing the race is so near. On Monday and Tuesday I could not contemplate being ready, but since Wednesday I have begun to feel a little better each day. I no longer have aches and pains when I wake up, hell I can do my morning cat stretch without fear of something going twang! So all’s good and I still have 5days to go. Doesn’t sound much but I do now believe, I nearly lost faith this week but it is back with me now and I am POSITIVE!
BTW: Sorry, tried to keep it short, but oh well, it’s me!

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