Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yawn, Growl, and Santa's Sacrifice

YAWN! I am so tired. And I don't even have kids (yet!). Tonight, Chocolate Santa - the one living in our fruit bowl - fell victum to 1) my fatigue and 2) my hunger. But back up just a bit: I don't know how people with kids train for an imronman... probably with the help of a very sympathetic spouse...and/or a phenominal support crew... or they don't have a needy cat (Tabbitha is a "special needs" kitty - she was abused as a kitten, was (thankfully) rescued, and therefore follows her own set of rules/expectations...meaning that when she curls up with me, I'll usually stop what I'm doing and pet her...except if I'm biking. Otherwise, all bets are off. How could I not?)

There are two pretty big things I've noticed about myself in these past 3 weeks (3 weeks of a major base build for me. Lots of hours, lots of quality volume, medium to high level intensity, and every workout has a specific meaning). And next week, I've got 14.5 hours on my schedule. Not quantity, but quality. O-k-a-y. Luckily, I'm not the one planning the schedule, I just do the workouts. I can't reiterate enough how much this is new territory for me. I would almost prefer a 5k run test. OR a T-pace swim with Mary Eggers... gulp... I had better watch what I wish for. I have a feeling it may come to pass sooner than I expect.

Here are the two "big things" I've noticed:

First. Wow, I am TIRED.



I didn't realize it would hit me like this. This morning it was a struggle to get out of bed. I checked my pulse, to make sure it wasn't fast or indicating an abnormal amount of fatigue... but it was perfectly normal. I, on the other hand, felt as though I had been hit with a ton of bricks. I waited to do my run until after I got a little food and a lot of coffee in my system. Functioning without the aforementioned nutrients would have lead to disaster.

The run was great, but hard: it was all about hitting zones 3 and 4. I thought about Beth on my run, how much great progress she's made on holding her heart rate, and I tried to channel her motivation into each and every step I took. I was still tired, but managed to hit my designated zones.

I was one beat above the threshold between zone 3 and zone 2.

But I was still in zone 3. So it TOTALLY counts

Zone 3 - is what I consider to be comfortable enough to maintain, but uncomfortable enough to not want to hold onto. Its doable, but with a much greater work-effort on your part. I hate to say this, but it's almost easier running 3 X 12 minutes zone 4 or even (gulp) 800s - as they are painful, but over quickly. Holding steady in zone 3 is, in my opinion, the equivalent to spending a bunch of time in purgatory. (Cue scary music) You're meeting an end result, its doable, but it hurts (like hell) in the process.

But I did it, I hit my zones 3 pace

(And I made the workout).


The good part of yesterday's run, is that I ran further with a zone 3 heart rate, than I did last week with a higher heart rate (zone 4!). The bad part, it was SO COLD (no - not Minnesota, Chicago, or New York Cold) - but plenty cold for FLORIDA - the wind chill was 35. I wore 2 layers on top, a hat, and tights. It may have affected my heart rate, in the sense that it took a little longer for me to warm up, but then again, I was tired. And I was pushing myself as much as my legs would let me (they were still tired from Tuesday's track work). Like I said before purgatory: and uncomfortable level of comfortableness, or comfortably uncomfortable!

Okay okay, I WILL HTFU!!! (Mom - just click the link, and then follow the youtube instructions. It's totally worth it. I have based SO MANY workouts on the premises of HTFU)

(Everyone else: I had a great conversation with my Mom earlier today. It's always great talking to her! But I discovered she didn't know what HTFU meant. So I told her I would put in a link to today's blog. For anyone else who doesn't have a clue of what I speak - check it out. One of these day's I'll put it up on my side bar. In the meantime, I've got a link in nearly every other post. :)

In reality, it's not all that cold...

But when you've got a 50 minute run in zone 3-4 and you're already cold, tired, and hungry, gathering up the "gumption" to do the run can be hard. But I did it, and I'm proud of my performance. And again, I thought about Beth hitting her heart rate zones (thanks for the motivation Beth!)

Second. Our grocery bill has gone up. Significantly.

I am hungry.


Feed me Seymour!

I think that it's the Ironman training. Nathaniel is still eating the same. But I feel as though I'm in a different world. My meals revolve around my workouts: pre-workout, during the workout, post-workout, repeat. It's quite the cycle!

The most difficult thing, is that I don't feel that I get enough nutrient density in during the day before my pm workout(s). I've got a sensitive stomach, and if I eat a big lunch, snacks, etc (like I'm used to), I tend to get a lot of stomach cramps. I've had a few suggestions to start having shakes or smoothies... and it works a little. I just have a hard time consuming dairy within 2 hours before a workout. It tends to - ah - congeal or clot together in my stomach.

And then I get awful cramps (throw up cramps!).

And, as you can imagine, after a long day of training and work, I'll eat a lot at night.

This, in turn, has caused a bit of a dilema.

I'm not used to eating late, eating beyond 7 or 8 pm. I don't like to eat late. I try to refrain from snacking (especially at night), as this was a major culprit as to the reason why I was overweight in high school (try 180 pounds at one point - very overweight for my 5'4 frame!... 50 lbs heavier than where I am now - there's a reason why I threw the shot put! Like I said before, I had the heart of a distance runner, but the body of a field athlete). I know this mentality affects me today, as its still something that I struggle with. I'm afraid of returning to my shot-putter body.

But, when it comes down to it, eating late at night is non-negotiable (just check out poor santa above!)

These past few weeks, I've finished my second or third session late in the afternoon or evening. Nate is great about having breakfast for dinner, but me, well - I'm getting a little tired of oatmeal after 3 servings/bowls already. So I try to keep as much variety in as possible. Tonight was no different. I ended up having mexican tortilla wrap and chicken salad with veggies, a glass of wine (and eventaully Santa's head) - all after 9:00. My body was too tired, too hungry to put up a protest.

And I know that if I want to be effective tomorrow, I have to do this.

So I go against what my my instincts say (they are yelling at me that I will become the shot putter), and make sure that my body is satisfied.

It's an interesting journey, this ironman. And I'm learning so much about myself in the process.

Like I said before, Santa didn't stand a chance. I took Danielle's advice and bit Santa's head off. It was time. He was mocking me. And he remained an impostor in our fruit bowl. And besides, today was a break through day. Good food, lots of rest, and chocolate.

So yeah, the two biggest differences that I've noticed are the levels of fatigue and hunger. My body is about to crash... but my tummy is happy from Santa's sacrifice.

Sometimes you just need to bite someone's head off, even if it is Santa. (Thanks Danielle!)


BreeWee said...

Oh gosh you're scaring me! I already forgot the Ironman training pain and now you have me remembering it again! I hurt just thinking about this post! AND that 14 hr "off week", wholly cow! Off what? ha ha!
Good job Merit, way to hang tuff...keep going... what you do now will be what you get come race day! PUSH PUSH PUSH! Get a massage, and use coupons for that multiplying grocery bill! Hey, burned my friend a mix CD with my favorite island songs, if you need some new tunes for training let me know and I can send you some! My friend made one for me during my hard times and it put a new zip in my workouts!

Beth said...

I always wonder how people with jobs and children manage all this training too!!

Regardless - GREAT JOB with your training Marit!! I've never done IM but I imagine this is the hard part - week after LONG week of high volume training. Just think how easy IMAZ will be after all this!! Hang in there and have a great day!!

Pedergraham said...

Good luck with the eating and recovery part of training. I was sitting in the hot tub after my swim on Sunday with two of my friends who are perenial top-10 amateur fnishers at IMLP and they agreed that one of the most important parts of training is the fueling and refueling part. (One is a vegan and one is a chef so I pick their brains all the time about healthy food.) Even though it might feel like a struggle to stay on top of it, you are working hard at this Fourth Discipline of triathlon. Most people just give in and have a nice large Pizza Hut pizza after a long day! I can only imagine that pre-workout mutrition must be harder in a warm climate, too.
Bye bye Santa!

Mel said...

You have more will power than did you stop at just the HEAD..I would have ate THE WHOLE SANTA..I would keep telling myself..."just a little more"..."just a little more" The GONE!!!!!

Way to stick it are busting your but...soon enough will be your down time off...then you are going to be SO BORED!!!

Ashley said...

Man, I feel like a slacker ;) I'm not planning to do an IM... and I don't have kids. What do I do with my time?! ha ha. GREAT job Marit! And, fyi: I had to have the HTFU conversation with my mom too... hilarious. She loved it.

Zora said...

HTFU cracked me up. It is too funny - I'll remember it next week when St. Paul, Minnesota weather turns ugly (yet again) with a day time high of -10. Thanks for including it in your blog!