Today and tomorrow were supposed to be what I had called The Crucible. I thought I was supposed to run three hours back-to-back as a final stamina test going into my taper. I had visions of that scene in Full Metal Jacket where the recruits are running through mud as Private Joker talks about how they're all ready to eat guts and ask for seconds. That's how I felt going into the weekend, but clearly I need to have my vision checked instead.
The intended workout? A five-hour bike ride followed by an hour run.
How did I confuse that? I saw "brick" on my Training Peaks workout for today and had confused a prior conversation with Coach Gerardo about three hour-bricks.
Fortunately, Gerardo was cool about it. He said the workout was still valuable and wouldn't throw off my schedule. Tomorrow, instead of a three-hour run (which really was on the schedule) I now have another three-hour bike ride followed by a 30-minute run. I still have my two-mile swim.
Indeed, the workout was valuable. On the bike, the winds were a little more moderate and I maintained an 20 mph average. A tailwind helped but the cross-winds probably helped balance things out a bit. More important was the run. I thought I was capable of running 16 miles in three hours after cycling three hours. I managed 18.5 miles while largely maintaining my heart-rate in heart-rate zones 2-3 (142-152, 152-158). By the end of the run I was definitely hurting, thinking how difficult an actual Ironman is going to be with an extra 50 miles on the bike and 7.5 miles on the run, not to mention swimming 2.4 miles. Frankly, I know I'm going to be in a lot of pain, beyond what I experienced today. That alone was a wake-up call, but luckily I felt that I could have continued on the run if need-be. The main challenge was being able to lift my legs high enough off the ground to maintain a decent stride, but I'll have to improvise as best I can come race day. I'll get through it, that much I know.
Despite my scheduling mistake today, mentally I'm thrilled. I don't think I would have changed my workout even if I knew it was different. Perhaps I needed that kind of long run after a long-ish bike, therefore willing it in my mind to happen. I was prepared to go aggro this weekend and give it everything I have. That said, I wasn't sure how I'd fare with a back-to-back three-hour run and now I don't have to find out. Even though I'm sore and barely mobile on the couch, I know I can handle tomorrow's training. Which is kinda crazy in itself when I realize I essentially did more than a Half-Ironman today minus the swim portion.
Finally, when I got home and before I discovered the error of my workout ways, I was treated to a nice note from Stephanie congratulating me on my accomplishments. Since I trained solo today (Caleb couldn't make it), it was nice to have someone else acknowledge what I went through. I got that and more both from Steph and her mom. As I sat exhausted in Starbucks with instant cold med-packs applied to my legs, it was the perfect medicine.
So now, after the ice, after the Epsom salt bath, after the shower, after a third meal (protein shake), I'm concluding my evening.
The final push continues tomorrow, with Bob. I'm tired, but I'm more than ready.
26 days and counting.