Many of the people who's blogs I follow are starting to "over-eat". I figured it must be the change of seasons. Sure enough, I googled it and yesterday WAS the first official day of Fall 2010.
I'm not in full blown eating mode yet. I normally crave and eat more sugary carbs this time of season, but so far have been able to control myself.
I did weigh myself this morning and I came in at 189 lbs. I know a lot of that is "muscle building water retention" from Sunday's Half Ironman, but it's still a scary number.
At one point during the day I was thinking about weight and how vulnerable we all are and can go backwards if we don't catch ourselves. Two years ago my "red zone" number was 181 lbs, last year my "red zone" number was 183 lbs and this year it's become 185 lbs.
Realistically, right now, I think I'm at 186 lbs after water retention, which is too high. My concern is allowing my "red zone" weight zone to move up again. I think if I did so, it could become a slippery slope. I've seen that "movie" before and it ended up at 229 lbs.
I've also found my sense of "red zone" self-correction urgency waning. In the earlier years, I self-corrected IMMEDIATELY. Now, it's more of a, "let's have some heavy training days and see what happens", before I do anything drastic. The last thing I want to do is "deprive myself" of eating crap food or drinking beer unless it's completely necessary.
Training was strong today. Mentally, the two day break helped and I enjoyed my running, biking, swimming and weight training sessions. Later in the evening, I went to the Flambourgh YMCA to spend time in the sauna as part of my acclimation plan for Kona.
I haven't been to the Flambourgh YMCA in two years. For the first two years of my training, I did all my training there. I put countless hours in that pool. It was a weird and strange sensation returning. Even the drive to and from was a little surreal and it "time travelled" me back a couple years.
As I was sweltering in the Sauna and watching the Masters swim club swim back and forth in front of the sauna window, I had a series of thoughts.
My first thought was, "I need to move my weight RED ZONE back to 181 lbs with a self-correction sense of urgency". I know that if I don't pull in "the horns" now, I'm going to regret it. It's much easier to lose 5 lbs than it is to lose 15 lbs.
My second thought was, "I'm looking forward to enjoying my off-season, but I'm not looking forward to losing my incredible fitness and endurance". Having the ability to do effortless Century rides and long runs every weekend is like "a drug". Taking a break will mean, "I'll have to somewhat start over" and "am I ever going to get back to this level of fitness?"
My third thought was a carry over from Sunday's race. After such a slow swim time, I was disgusted in myself, I hadn't swam that slow in over 2 years. Even during today's swim session, I pushed myself to get my speed back and did a 600 set at 1:41 pace, a 300 at 1:42 pace and a final 300 at 1:43 pace.
As I sat in the sauna and watched the Masters Group swim by, I wondered if I should join. In a way, I now feel worthy and comfortable enough to swim with others and perhaps my competitive spirit will push me harder. My only concern is that I rarely see any of the Masters coaches doing any "technique instruction", it just seems to be workout set guidance.
The sauna was hot, I only managed to do two sets, the first was 25 minutes long and the second was 5 minutes long. Just sitting in the "hot box", my heart rate got up to 128 bpm. The first 7 minutes was "easy", the last 18 minutes was "hell".
Tomorrow it's supposed to an unusually warm 27 C and the weekend is going to be 15 C. As much as I'd like to do my long ride in the heat, I'm not going to. Riding two days in a row would do more tearing down of my leg muscles than building them up. For the first time in a long time I had a strong training ride today and for confidence reasons, I need it to keep it that way.
I've come to realize that "the taper" is as much of an "art" as it is a "science". To do it properly, the key is to monitor your "body" and "mental state" with the objective to get to the start line with both feeling strong and ready to race. To do it perfectly, intuition is key.
Tonight, as I was writing this blog post, I got an email from Todd Seeber. Todd is the guy I had the footrace to the finish during the Syracuse Ironman 70.3 this past Sunday. The subject line was "Amazon Man" and it read as follows:
Hi Bryan: Todd Seeber here. Googled Syracuse 70.3 and found your blog. Of all the people in the race the one I finished with had the popular blog!!! I should probably chime in there too and not remain a man of mystery, but wanted to touch base. Your account is exactly as I remember it. No fish tales. Those last couple of miles racing with you were perhaps the highlight of all the racing I have ever done - bar none! There is no way I would have gone as fast without the foot race at hand. And I got the 2nd of 3 rolldown spots so we both could have gone to Clearwater! I won't tell Alice... My Dad hails from near Toronto so I felt at home racing a Canadian. I play in the Boston Symphony full time and happen to have no concerts the weekend for Clearwater so will go, as it now stands. Your racing history is really cool - you have been at it a long time with great success. I started about the time you started your comeback, with running and climbing before that, but grew up in Hawaii when the first ironman took place on Oahu - it has always been in the back of the mind I think. Anyway, hope you have recovered and look forward to seeing your Kona results!!! Great racing with you. Have to work on my finishing kick... Good luck. Todd
It was really cool to get that email and I emailed Todd back to touch base if he ever made it to Toronto. I also asked him, "how tall are you?" He emailed back 6'5". I was bang on, it wasn't my "imagination".
As a side bar, from Sunday's race, my heels are still healing. Somewhere along the way, I must have run over something during the swim to the bike transition that cut them up. I've never had that before. I now understand why some people swim in socks.
Run - 43:06 / 8.19 km / 5:16 km pace / 127 avg hr.
Bike - 55:33 / 30.71 km / 33.2 km avg / 139 avg hr.