Sunday, 7 August 2011

Ironman + 2 Weeks. You may have been right, I'm might be mad

So in case anyone managed to miss the fact I finished Ironman Germany 2 weeks ago you can read about it here:

So 2 weeks on. Well it has mostly been 2 weeks of rest. The first week I was itching to get back out there. I went swimming on the Thursday, and somehow managed to hold on (albeit at the back of the lane, at a slow pace) for the whole session, clocking up a slightly reduced 1750m. Went to the pub afterwards then came back as Friday was my first day back at work. Man I hurt. It didn't get any better throughout Friday at work either. So I did nothing over the weekend. Took the "I told you so"s on the chin and got on with my homage to Ironman to hang on the wall.

With that out of the way, Sunday was spent writing the story of the race and getting there (see link above) and of course tracking the guys doing IMUK. The weekend was a training free zone.

Was thinking of a run on Monday, but after a day at work I just didn't feel like it, so I sat on the sofa a little while longer. On Tuesday I woke up with knee pain, pain that didn't want to go away all day. My left hamstring was really hurting too, the two are possibly connected. The point that hurt is the tender point that caused me to almost kick the masseuse post race. So naturally I went swimming in the evening. Except I still wasn't ready. After 40 minutes I had to quit. After 1200m I'd decided I couldn't carry on, but pushed through the Masters session to 1500m, but being IM dominant it was never going to work. Woke up on Wednesday and leg still hurt. So I went for a run after work. A natural thing to do of course. What can I say, it was very hard, and pretty slow. 6.2km in 35'30" The first 3k were absolute agony. It felt slow, but I was running as hard as I could. Then all of a sudden, about 4 k in, at the bottom of the little hill something clicked and suddenly I was running at normal training pace again. It felt like a switch had been flicked. Once home 10 minutes of foam roller action and another 5 minutes of static stretches to make sure things didn't seize.

I'd decide on Tuesday that swimming wasn't sensible on Thursday, so went sailing. In my default position of jib trim (i.e. brawn on the winch) I was feeling a little lethargic in what is effectively an anaerobic upper body interval session. Still I survived and we even won the race! Friday was the after work run session. I thought I could hack the 4.5 mile route on offer. Thankfully Dave was away and Mike is coming back from injury so it was an 'easyish' run. 6.66km in 36'28". The pace got quicker throughout, with Mike pushing me (what felt) quite hard. The last bit of the run involved an uphill. I had to admit defeat and walk it, I just couldn't get one foot in front of the other. Yesterday was another lazy day. Maddy has been in bubble wrap ever since Frankfurt, I'd never gotten around to rebuilding her. So that was my task for the day (after watching the women's ITU race). As I set about rebuilding I realised that I needed some stuff so attempted to walk into town and get it from Halfraud's. With no joy, they sell tonnes of parts for bikes but don't have any anti seize of carbon fibre assembly compounds. Eventually having been to the LBS I rebuilt Maddy.

So, today, my first ride after Ironman. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. In fact it was quite nice. After a minor cock up when I thought there was a road that cut back and missed out the bigger hills, but it was really a dead end road. So I had to endure some of the hills around Farley Mount. Now they are not major climbs, but probably average 4-5% for a km or so. I made them all though. I even managed the hill into Chilworth I hate with two sprockets spare and holding a good cadence. The only downer was it chose to rain heavily 2km from home. Thanks for that.

So that is the past fortnight. I have learnt that rest is key, just like everyone says. At the same time, I do think it is one of those things that everyone is going to learn for themselves. Training for Ironman was my life for the past 3-6 months. It was the basis of almost all the thoughts in those empty moments you have when doing mundane tasks. Having finished things seem kind of empty, I now have no focus, no goal. Now this is where the mad bit comes in. No, I'm not suicidal with the Ironman Blues. I can't help thinking about the next one. After all that pain, suffering and mental torture. I want to do it again. I really want to do it again. The only thorn in my side is the possibility of another race in mid June next year. A race that will be both longer and harder than Ironman. A race that could take a lot of training to get fit for. A race that will leave me in a far worse state post event than Ironman. Which pretty much rules out all the major European Ironmans as they are in July, or are far too hilly for me to consider. Still, it hasn't stopped me looking at the profiles of all the races and thinking. Maybe I'll go back to Barcelona and do the full distance, the half distance was quick, and the full one is late season. Oh, and it is properly flat. Or maybe I'll do a UK one. So their you have it, I'm mad. Not for doing Ironman like you thought when I said I'd entered. But for wanting to go through all that again. There was a great post by Bopo on the BCTTT forum this week:

Think about it, really think about it. 2.4 miles of swimming hurts. Oh, it's fine in the pool or the lake, but what about when 2000 other people are punching your head? You can't settle down, you can't relax, you fight for every stroke and breath.

Then you get on your bike for one of the longest rides of your life. Sure, you've done the distance, but it wasn't easy, was it? And you hadn't been beaten up for 2.4 miles in the water beforehand.

Anyway, you'll get it done - you have to... because you need to get to the start line of a marathon.

This sums things up surprisingly well (especially as it came from someone that hasn't done an Ironman). It is also the reason why I want to do another. Some people like the feeling of driving cars fast, or falling through the air. I masochistically liked the pure unadulterated fear that was running through me as I put my wetsuit on and made my way down to the swim start. That is why I'll be doing another.

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