Monday, August 27, 2012

and then you bounce back

After I wrote my post last week about how I was in a giant hole, I got a couple of mildly concerned notes.  Nothing dramatic, just an, "are you sure you're ok?" kind of check-in.  And I was okay, but I was also a little worried about how fragile my legs felt.  Along the same lines, Sonja became weary of listening to me whine about how tired and trashed I was, and she went in and slightly adjusted my schedule so I could find something else to complain about.  
Wednesday I had a mildly long ride which I rode pretty far into the range of "all easy."  Thursday I was actually able to put a little bit of spring in my swimming step and by Friday everything was starting to really calm down.  I'm sure I was in a similar hole during ironman training, but I appear to have erased it from my memory and was pretty startled and not at all amused when it came crashing back.
By Saturday I was starting to get a pretty serious case of the antsy-pants.  I had my last (?) long (?) run before my 70.3 to do, and it ended being a huge confidence booster.  10 miles (pretend there is a picture of me here holding up all 10 fingers), and I didn't go wild woman on my heart rate, but instead ran controlled up the gentle incline of the trail and then let it loose the way back down.  I felt a little creaky around the edges throughout the day, but a flop in the pool took care of some of it and compression plus couch time with the puppies took care of most of the rest. 
My sneaky bitch of a calf started to act up early last week, right along the time I almost fell over the edge into overloading.  Pulling back the training and getting the crap Graston'd out of it seems to have kicked it back in line.  I also have been leaning on my Ravennas a bit more than usual, to the point where I might race in them next week.  

Even after running SO FAR on Saturday, I woke up Sunday feeling fairly bouncy and actually happy to get back on the bike again.  I managed to guilt Caroline into riding with me, and we combined our prescribed interval sessions into a ride that I finished feeling a little fatigued but strong.  She also took me off of the "T and back" ride route that everyone in DC does a billion times a season and back into some quieter roads that we combined with a loop I knew to avoid River Road almost entirely.  It's actually been a while since I've ridden with someone, and while she is definitely a stronger cyclist than me, I think we're close enough that chasing her down through my intervals was the perfect amount of tough.  And the two four eight extra pounds that I'm still lugging around made it pretty easy for me to catch her anytime we hit even the slightest descent.  We didn't take any pictures because we are blogging failures, but I wish I had taken one of the heart rate strap mark on her forehead after she did the entire ride with it stuffed in her helmet. 

So my last "big" weekend before my 70.3 went surprisingly well.  Ironman has forever ruined my perspective on everything training, because running 10 easy miles and riding 50 plus some swimming doesn't sound like a big weekend at all anymore.  I'm a little concerned that I over-reacted to the loading part of the cycle and am now hitting the recovery too early, but it was pretty fabulous to feel fresh for at least the first half of my ride yesterday so I suppose I should just shut up and go with it so I don't wake up tomorrow to see a five-hour ride on my schedule.
As far as my race is concerned, I'm trying not to think about it too much at all.  For my spring 70.3, I made a complicated race plan full of times and heart rates and silly pictures, and I'm glad I did, but this time around I think I'm going to race on the no-plan plan.  
I know how to feed myself to get through 5-7 hours of exercise, I've got a pretty good idea about what half-IM effort should feel like, and if I can run at 11:30 pace or faster off the bike, I should have the kind of day I'd like to see.  Looking back, I think that both sprints I raced this season are a pretty good example of what happens when I don't obsess over the details of the day, and I'd like to replicate that feeling, at least mentally, going into this one.  I've made a lot of decisions recently that I'm hoping will take the pressure off of race day this time around, and I think the only plan I really need is to get the fuck out of my own way.  And to grab my puppies before crossing the finish line.
Oh, and my bike shoes have very rudely started hurting my feet, but my plan is to ignore it for the rest of the season because I don't want to plunk down any cash for new ones which I'm sure will work out just fine.
How was your weekend?  What do you think of the no-plan plan?

25 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of the "no plan" plan. That's usually how I roll. Of course, I don't tri, so I don't have to think much about what I'm doing. I just run what feels a right.

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  2. Sometimes "no plan" plan is the way to go, it happened to me when I got dropped in the middle of Paris to run a marathon when the longest run I'd done was 2h30. Heck, leave your GPS/HRM at home as well and enjoy every minute of the day.

    My weekend was super - long bike ride - my longest so far since I was a crazy teenager, plus a long run where we got lost on trails. Can't wait to open TP and see what's in store this week.

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  3. Yaaaay for bike rides together!! I still can't find my bento box but something tells me it's not hiding in my helmet... I think you are at the point where a no-plan plan is a good one. No plan meaning no obsessing over details, just do what you would normally do for that distance. You've been racing and training long enough that you know what to do and no need to over think things!

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  4. Sonja doesn't write a plan for you? my coach always does, I'd be lost without knowing what ranges I'm supposed to hit. But the plan is like a workout, she gives me simple, explicit instructions and I attempt to execute.

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  5. I think it's good to try different things, who knows you could do a no plan plan and have a fantastic race! You've done one end of the spectrum (the Spring time plan) and now you're trying the other, and you'll figure out what works best for you. I say go for it!

    I'm still cracking up about Caroline's hear rate strap.

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  6. My weekend was fantastic :)

    I think it's really good to try different tactics going into races. I have a feeling the "no plan" will help you get out of your own way very well.

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  7. I'm a fan of the no-plan plan. Sometimes those are the best! :)

    I also think grabbing hold of the pups at the end is a great finish fast strategy!

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    1. Molly can run a 4 minute mile. It's going to be great.

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  8. The no plan plan always results in the best races for me. As soon as I let myself get too deep into my own head, it's game over for me. Congrats on an awesome weekend of workouts!

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  9. This is my first training cycle without a written out plan, so I guess it's a no plan plan. I'm not training for anything longer than a 1/2 marathon but I kinda like it because I don't stress out about it. I just show up to the group runs, like on Saturday...George asks what everyone is doing...points at our little 1/2 training group and asks, "16?"...I roll my eyes and pout for 3 seconds mumbling under my breath, "Wait...I am training for a HALF!"..then I just do it...and love each mile. :)

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  10. Do what feels right and it will feel right in the end. Good call.

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  11. Yay to no plan plan! I'm horrible at that but good luck! You are getting right back into it all that is amazing!!

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  12. Yeahh!!! Good luck! How rude of the shoes. Hopefully they'll ease up before race day. And, as always, love the PUPPY LOVE!!!

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  13. Good luck with the training and the race! Sounds like shifting to a no-plan might work well for you.
    One of these days, I'd actually like to try a plan, but for now, the loose "this is what I hope" plan seems to work for me.
    And what is it with cycling shoes?! Mine have begun to annoy me after 30 miles or so. Very rude.

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  14. No plan plan. That's how I roll. That photo of you, the knife and shoes sucked me right into your post. You never fail to amuse me.

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  15. My weekend was spent on the bike. And in the pool. Brand new saddle, brand new shorts. Clearly, I don't have any kind of plan.
    You, however, rock any plan you put out there, no-no or not.

    You are going to tear up 70.3!!!

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  16. I like the no plan plan! Usually I am all about plans but I am taking a little vacation from plans right now. Have fun in that 70.3!!!

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  17. Most of my best races have happened while using the "no plan" plan. It only works when you're in peak condition, and when you've got your race routine down to a science. But when those things are in place, it's great to be able to simply pay attention to how you feel, and push or pull back your pace, effort, etc, from there.

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  18. I think you are in a perfect spot for the no plan plan. I wonder why your shoes started hurting all of the sudden. You are going to have a great race (as per usual). Just get some ass shots please. ;)

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  19. Wow, I am behind, I didn't realize you had a 70.3 coming up so soon! Good luck and can't wait to hear how you killed it.

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  20. I got on my bike and got in a long run (not the 10 miles I wanted, had to call it at 8 due to heat) this weekend so I'm pretty happy.

    I think you could rent those puppies out for others to use for recovery purposes. All I have is a tabby cat that likes to steal the straws out of my post-run coconut water.

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  21. From what I can see of that small screen shot, I am impressed with the extreme detail of the Knoxville plan. Mainly the fact that you actually wrote it all down. But I'm sure the "no plan" plan will be even better! ;)

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  22. I rode 33 miles this weekend and it felt fairly far. It's hard for me to remember 80-100 mile rides anymore so that's a good sign that you still thing 50 is short!

    And I like the no plan plan! Race by feel and I bet you will surprise yourself.

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  23. All this makes me think that you should sign up for a certain race in Pennsylvania in October!

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  24. To quote you: "Ironman has forever ruined my perspective on everything/training..."

    Umm, yeah. Word to that.

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