Last week was all about getting a feel for how much suffering I should be putting myself through on race day. That meant bricks and time trials. Hmm, what to say except for, “Everything hurts including my ego.”
Monday: I wanted to feel how difficult swimming would be after running, so I did a run-swim-run aquathlon at the gym. I started off with three kilometers on the treadmill at a moderately fast pace, then hopped into the pool to swim 300 yards (approximately, because the pool is 23 meters). I finished it off with two kilometers of running at a faster pace. The runs actually felt really good, but the swim was funny because I started getting out of breath midway. I had to resort to my safety stroke (backstroke) for about 50 yards to get my breathing under control.
Tuesday: I did an indoor time trial on my bike because I didn’t know how long 10 kilometers would take me at my current fitness. I intentionally overbiked this and still ended up with a speed of 27-28 kph over that time trial, which means I really shouldn’t expect to be hitting 30 kph at any point. Considering how tight the courses are in a Super League Triathlon race, I’ll be lucky to maintain an average of 24-25 kph on the flats. I figure I also need to do several practice laps on the courses (both Singapore and Bali) so I can learn how to take the corners, where to attack, and basically keep myself out of trouble.
Wednesday: Running is my strength, but I haven’t run very fast in a long while. A treadmill isn’t a track, but I ran a few 800-meter repeats with a 200-meter float recovery and was able to run the splits progressively faster. Of course, I had to be unintentionally goofy and ran an extra 800 because I miscounted. *slaps hand to forehead*
Thursday: The extra work I did on Wednesday needed some recovery, so I did a light yoga session at home using the Nike Training Club app. Midway through the workout I felt quite tired, so I was thankful I was smart enough not to do anything strenuous on the day.
Friday: An aerobic swim was on the cards. I did the same session as the previous week, with a few additional drills made possible because I went hunting for a replacement for my swim fins. After five years, the rubber straps had given up on my old ones. I was thankful I could still get the same kind of fin (although a supposedly improved version) locally.
Saturday: Because I am two weeks away from a race, I decided to do an indoor bike session to stay away from any potential trouble on the road. (Accidents so close to a race are difficult to recover from fast enough!) A few folks were going to ride the Ironman 70.3 Davao course at Sabak Sports’ indoor studio, so I joined them for half of it and then did a run brick. Holy moly I was glad to hop off the bike — only to regret it a few minutes later as I ended up running with a side stitch.
Sunday: I slept for eight hours and kept everything else easy because Saturday had been a big ask for my body. I’d done the bike/run session without nutrition and I knew that it would have caused some muscle wasting, so I wanted to give my body a longer period for recovery.
Throughout the week I’d been updating my social media with photos of my sessions, which must have alerted those who don’t follow this blog that I was finally back training. So I got questions about why I had lain low for so long and why I was making a comeback.
Two years is apparently an eternity in this sport as it goes locally — and for many people, I’d been “gone” for three years because I stopped racing Ironman 70.3 in 2015. I don’t even know if I’ll make it back into the ranks of being considered a “legitimate triathlete” because I don’t intend to go back to racing middle- and long-distance.
Maybe a few years ago my ego would have hurt even more from that perception; I know I did a few 70.3’s not because I wanted to, but because it was expected of someone like me who had a certain standing in the sport to maintain. But the me of 2019 is hopefully wiser and only wants to race on her own terms.
I’ve learned that what I really enjoy is crossing finish lines, and the feeling is the same whether I do a minisprint or an ironman. So why should I chase doing long-distance — which has been detrimental to my health because I recover so poorly from it — when I derive the same satisfaction from doing the short stuff?
Of course, I’m only speaking for myself and in my own case. Many people love doing the long stuff. If you do, keep doing it! As for me, I am definitely enjoying the process of getting back in race shape.