"It means 'insanity'"
I am definitely losing it right now. I just walked into 7-11 and stared at the drinks for about ten minutes before selecting what I was probably going to choose anyway - a Coke. I am becoming increasingly incoherent, and my body really seems to be failing me. I seriously just sat there and hemmed and hawed over what I wanted to drink following a failed attempt at getting in the pool.
With IM Louisville now in real sight (9 days away), I do realize that there's nothing I can do to increase my fitness above where it is. I do understand that rest is best. But, I still feel like I'm not doing enough. I ran our 7 mile run on Monday, and Tuesday got in the pool for 3k pretty easy. Wednesday I elected to head to the final BRRC Summer Track Meet, which would feature a mile and a 5000m. It's almost embarrassing how far I've slipped in my "speed" since May. Looking back, I was on the track more then than I was now, and doing some shorter, faster workouts, but the 5:20 I ran on Wednesday felt just as hard as the 5:00 I ran in May. Crazy.
I went into the meet with a goal in mind for the 5k, and the mile was serving more as a warmup. I honestly intended on just running 5:30, and trying to negative split it and run comfortably. The first lap (409m) I was behind the two Megs as we crossed in 83 seconds. It was comfortable. Then I ran 80. Still okay. Next was a 79. Not too bad. But at this point I realized I could run under 5:20 and thought that was worth trying for, so I attempted to pick it up. I ran a 76 last lap, which is obviously not great, and the last 100 I was tying up. I'll see what their "official" times have me at, but I had 5:19.7 on my watch.
Yes, I finally got a watch. I didn't want to have to get a Timex Ironman one, but I didn't want to buy another Polar as I never use the HRM feature and I still have faith that my old one will show up again.
Following the mile, I tried to keep loose as we waited for the 5k. It finally arrived and there was a big field - 31 people toed the line. It was crazy. With nearly half the field comprised of people from my squad, it looked like a TNT workout, and was just as competitive. My goal going into the race was to run under 17:30. 17:15 was going to be a stretch, but I thought if I felt good, I would go for it. That meant splitting 5:30-5:35 for each 1600. The first "mile" was spot on - 5:32. I still felt reasonably comfortable, but something happened in the next 200. I just...slowed down. I had been running 41 for each 200 and then all of a sudden it was a flush 42, which meant 2 seconds slower for that lap. Shit. I went from 5:32 pace to 5:40 pace in an instant. And, because I'm not a dummy, I realized that if I go into the well for a 5k ten days out from an Ironman, I am an idiot, I just reeled in the effort. I figured slowing down was smarter. I relaxed a bit, and came through 3200m in 11:21 (5:50ish 2nd mile), and hoped I'd have recovered enough to pick it back up from there. I was, but only slightly, as my next 1600 was 5:46. With a :39 last 200, I managed to run 17:46.
While it was a little off my goal, in retrospect it wasn't that bad of a performance. For one, it was on a Wednesday night, in the middle of summer, when I haven't run under 6 minute pace except maybe a handful of times since June. And, despite being in "better shape" in 2008, it's faster than I ran the last time I did a 5k on the track in August (17:54). Finally, while it may only be the 2nd 5k I've run since I got hurt two years ago, it is the fastest I've run. So, I'll take it.
Unfortunately the meet wasn't over until late, which meant eating late, and then I was wired, so I really struggled on Thursday waking up and did not swim. Then, later in the day, the weather was real bad so I did not get out on the bike nor did I make it into the pool. I was running early today, so I just took the day off.
Woke up this morning and was tired and the delayed onset of 4 miles of track "racing" fatigue had settled in. Brennan arrived at our place at 5:45 and off we went. Brennan was doing 20, Ed was looking for 9 and I was hoping to get in 90 minutes for my last "long" run. It was pitch black as we headed north through the hood, and then through hood park (Clifton Park) and finally on hood drive (33rd) the light started picking up. 35 minutes uphill, then we got to come back down. It was a comfortable temperature but very humid. I had told Ed that the run we planned would likely be more than 9, and sure enough it was (75 minutes back to the house). He can obviously handle that, and it was cool because it meant I had less to run once we got back. Brennan and I did a quick Brewer's Hill loop and then he continued on his way back home, done with his 20 miles by 7:30.
I wanted to get in the pool this afternoon, but when I got there, there was a private event going on outside so pool was closed. My only other option was to drive down to Locust Point, but I didn't want to go down that way with the Ravens playing the Redskins tonight in pre-season football, so I just went home. It worked out anyway as I would not have even made it to the other pool before getting kicked out for another thunderstorm.
As I've said, I realize there is nothing I can do about my swimming immediately for next weekend, but I always feel better when I'm getting in the pool. I have really struggled this summer with making it into the pool consistently, and I'm paying the price. It's like I just don't have the energy, and I definitely don't have the motivation. I just hope I can keep it inside of 1:10 next weekend.
I also went and got my bike looked at to make sure it's functioning properly. It seems to be okay now, and I had to get a new tire for the front (300 miles and the Vittoria one just falls apart at the seams? That doesn't seem right). I also had them take a look at my position and since there were no glaring imbalances, the only conclusion is that my knee is just not cut out for the time trial position anymore. This is probably pretty accurate, as the angle is pretty steep and my knee doesn't bend as well. Especially when I'm trying to squeeze every drop of power out of it, it's just going to happen. I may have to go back to racing on a road bike. I'm going to do this time trial in PA somewhere on Sunday just to make sure it's cool, again I won't be going into the red to do it, just want to get the legs ticking over.
This little block of ironman training has really taken it out of me. I would wager that other external factors are causing my fatigue and my general malaise, and maybe if I can get those straightened out I'll feel better and more optimistic. I need to focus on those life things a little more after Louisville so I don't have the same problem before Arizona. It really has caused me to go a little insane, or at least become imbalanced, which is weird because I have done less this summer than last summer, and should not have a problem handling the training.
You know that saying that all bosses always tell you: "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results"? Well it makes me wonder, what does it make you if you do the same thing and expect the same results? I would truly be happy if I could just run the same as I used to, or swim like I used to, or ride as comfortably as I used to. That would be cool for me right now.