Week 9 in Boulder

After Steamboat I had a few easy days, more-so to absorb the running miles that I racked up last week than to recover from the race itself.  Physically I was feeling pretty good at the start of the week, but I knew that a few easier days would really help to nail the training sessions for the back end of the week.  On Wednesday I was back into the normal routine, with a hard 90 minute run with a 30 minute interval thrown in the middle.  90 minute runs are just about my favourite duration – long enough that it feels you’ve got a good long run in, but not so long that you start to get bored and mentally tired! 

On Thursday morning I had a really hard session planned – 4 hours with 90 minutes above half-ironman pace.  I knew that this would be a struggle, so I managed to drag Scott along with me for company.  We cycled through town and stopped at North Spruce for a strong coffee before getting on with the ride.  For the 90 minute effort we went from Lyons to Ward, via Raymond, which was a relentless climb.

The last 20 minutes was hard – really hard.  With 10 minutes to go I nearly threw in the towel as I had nothing left, but somehow we made it to the end of the effort and enjoyed the descent back down to Boulder.  For the last 90 minutes we were barely turning over the pedals, with both of us absolutely smashed from the session.  When we eventually got back to town we refuelled with a burrito and relaxed for the afternoon.  That evening we went to the final Stroke & Stride aquathlon of the summer.  I opted for the 750m swim, going without a wetsuit in preparation for a non-wetsuit swim in Las Vegas.  The swim was good fun, although a little choppy on the way back to shore.   The 5k run was good fun, taking the first half nice and steady, finishing with a negative split.  Later that evening a few of us went out to town for dinner and a few drinks at a rooftop bar in town.

After a late night (by triathlete’s standards), Friday turned out to be an easier day, with just an afternoon run planned.  This was just what I needed after the previous day’s effort on the bike.  That evening we went for dinner with a few friends, then went to a see some live music at a local coffee shop.  It was a nice relaxed evening and fortunately we got back a bit earlier, making sure we’d be ready for Saturday’s training schedule.  On Saturday morning I had a 2h30 ride planned with a hard 30 minute block in the middle.  Somehow Scott hadn’t learned from his mistake on Thursday, and he agreed to come along again!  It turned out to be a great ride, exceeding the target watts for the interval.  Later that afternoon I got a swim in, followed by one of my stock standard 7 mile runs.

It had been a challenging training week so far – mainly on the bike – but the work wasn’t over.  On the cards for Sunday was a 4h30 ride with vo2 repeats and a total of 2 hours at half-ironman pace.  One thing for sure was that I’d have to start the day in the right way, so again we went to the café for a double shot latte and slice of banana bread.  We were joined by Brits Rachel Joyce, Brett Hedges and Emma-Kate Lidbury and after catching up, we all rolled along the highway to get the ride underway.  After a decent warm-up I headed off to get my session done, for most of which I felt great.  But the last two 20 minute intervals were tough – mentally and physically.  Once I’d eventually got through them, I stopped in town for lunch.  It was one of those days where you dig really deep to get through it, and I’d given it everything.  I was sitting in a daze, hungry but unable to eat.  The thought of the slow 10 minute ride home seemed like an overwhelming an insurmountable task, but after a long sit down and counttless drink refills, I was ready to go.  I had one final evening run to cap off the week, which was primarily focussed around a few key sessions on the bike. 

With less than 2 weeks to go, I can’t deny that I’m upset my time in Boulder is coming to an end.  I like to think that I’ve made the most of the opportunity of spenging 10 weeks here – and I think I have.  What’s in store in the coming months is equally exciting, but Boulder is without doubt one of the most idyllic triathlon training locations I could imagine.  But I won’t get too sentimental just yet as I’ve still got 12 more days to enjoy!