Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Taper Begins...

I just finished my last long and/or hard workout.  It was 4200 yards in the pool or the actual 2.4 mile Ironman swim distance.  I was able to go faster than my time at Ironman Canada.  Just amazing since the wetsuit and draft really helped me go fast that day.  3 years since and I've actually learned how to swim somewhat so I can go faster without expending so much effort.  The goal of 63 minutes is in reach for sure.

As Lance would say, it's not about the bike.  That's so true in the Ironman.  The run is the toughest part not only because it's at the end but because it's a MARATHON.  Marathon's by themselves are tough affairs but after pedaling for 5+ hours become tougher.  My run was going great last month.  I had completed my first 18 miler at just a little over my goal pace and felt pretty good at the end.  I was injury free and feeling it was all coming together and then it happened on a cold afternoon in Oregon.

I had a 10 mile tempo run planned for Wednesday.  I arrived in Oregon on Monday night and went for an easy 4 miler Tuesday morning to loosen up the legs.  On that 4 miler, I had some serious tendon pain in my right ankle.  I've had this pain before so I knew what to do but man it was out of the blue.  I iced and took some Aleve to help it out.  I was thinking of moving my tempo to Thursday but the foot felt pretty good Wednesday morning so I'd just give it a go.  I warmed up or so I thought and it was pretty good so I started the journey of 10 miles of pure fun.

I was dialed into my goal pace and clipping the miles off.  The foot wasn't bugging me very much so it was all good.  I did my best to find the flattest loop I could but it still had a slight up for a good 2 miles and slight down for 2 miles per loop.  As I was cruising "down" towards the 8 mile mark, I was just trying to maintain a pace.  I took a stride and my left hamstring tensed a little.  This hamstring is been a problem each of the last 3 years so every time it even gives me a hint I back off.  I immediately backed off the pace and my stride but by the third step it "yanked".  CRAP!!  I stopped dead in my tracks.  There was no reason to try and "gut" it out.  I started walking back to the gym, cussing about every 5 step at my rotten luck.  It was October 26th.

The good news at the time was I still had just over 3 weeks to go and could still cycle and swim.  Last year, I took 4 days off and was back slowly and healed up for the Baltimore marathon.  My schedule and weather this time would allow 6 days of rehab before the first test.  The rehab consisted of rolling the crap out of it.  I had been rolling both hamstrings and calves every night for about a month but I gave the bad hamstring some extra roll-love. Ice and some more ice as well.  The thing I changed was I didn't stretch it for a full day.  Last year, I yanked the hamstring sprinting the end of an Olympic for like 37th place.  I immediately started stretching it.  Well, a bunch of folks on my favorite time waster site, Slowtwitch recommended not doing that.

Another thing I did was I changed my diet a bit.  I started really pounding protein so much so that I had to add some additional fiber to my diet, if ya know what I mean. ;)  Day 6 comes around, I go for a nice easy bike ride to loosen up the hammy and then hit the 4 miler.  It was good for about 1 mile and then it slowly started bugging me again.  Hmm...this isn't good.  I've taken 6 days off and my taper is suppose to start in another 5 days.  Ugh what am I going to do...

More stretching, more rolling and more ice.  The next day I'd figure to try it again but I barely made it to the half mile point before it was too painful to continue.  DOUBLE HOLY CRAP!!   This is what I was thinking.  This was Wednesday where I should be slogging out my last 18 miler and I can't even run 1/2 mile.

Injuries are brutal mentally especially for me as I've really focused 10 months of all my workouts for the Ironman.  Every workout has been geared towards Nov. 20th and now this.  Time to find something good to think about or I would be elbow deep in a super size Dorito bag.  The good thing was I had done an 18 miler already and had completed a 6, 7, 8, and 9 mile tempo runs.  I had done three 100 mile bike rides and one 118 mile ride.  I had done about two months worth of serious bike tempo rides as well.  As some say, a lot of the hay was already in the barn.

Just take some more running days off and come back fully healed.  Well I was successful in an easy 4 miles last Friday and I did 9 miles on Sunday.  I tried to dial up some speed to test the hamstring on Sunday but it still didn't like that.  I figure to put in a 4 mile tempo run at 6:30 pace on Tuesday.  That pace should feel easy and if it does my confidence will be BACK.

The taper has begun as I only rode 56 miles during the weekend total as opposed to 156 I had been doing for the past weekends.  That 9 mile run felt like I hadn't even really done anything.  I'm sure I'm going to get a little restless this week.  I'm starting to dial back the diet as well.  No need to keep trying to eat 4K calories every day just to keep up.

I fly to Arizona on Sunday and the rest of the family arrives on the 18th.  I'm feeling anxious already.  It's so close now.

1 comment:

  1. You are going to be great, Al--Frito Lay and I are cheering you on from Kansas!


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