Kona Diary - Week 2

The week started nice and early with a 9 mile run with some 5k pace intervals.  Whenever I have a session like this I like to get it done early in the day, otherwise I feel like the bad student who hands in their homework late!  To be honest I didn’t quite hit the paces that I wanted, but the effort level was where I wanted it to be, so I didn’t fret too much.  After an easy spin on the bike we went to the Kona Aquatics pool in the afternoon, getting in a decent session.

The next day I had some power testing intervals on my ride, which we use as a benchmark for comparison, allowing us to track my fitness at different points of the year.  This was my first test since leaving the altitude of Boulder, so I was interested to see what the difference would be.  I’d say that I’ve got a good handle on my fitness, which was reflected in the fact that the results were pretty much what I expected them to be.  I was feeling great at the end of the ride and decided to do my run straight away, although this wasn’t planned.  Brick runs (transitioning from biking to running immediately) aren’t something that I do often, but even though it was 11am and Hawaii hot, I really enjoyed the run. 

On Wednesday I had one what was without doubt the best training run of my life.  Today was one of the key days in this current training phase, with a 2h30’ run in the morning and a 45’ run in the evening (with a swim sandwiched in between).  Fortunately for me, Scott tagged along on the bike, playing chaperone and aid station volunteer, handing me water, coke and gels whenever I called for them!  The morning run mimicked the race course, with the bulk of the run done along the Queen K highway and in and out of the Natural Energy Lab.  It wasn’t a steady 2h30’ run, but a session filled with intervals of varying lengths. 

Heading towards the Energy Lab

On the way out

By the end of the run I’d covered over 22 miles at an average pace of 6:41/mile.  That in itself gave me confidence, but the best thing about the session was the ease with which the pace seemed to come by.  Coming out of the Energy Lab I was running 6:30/mile or faster and having to reign myself in.  This was a pretty good indication that I’ve got some running legs this year.  After the run we went to Lava Java for some well-earned breakfast and to say goodbye to Sonja who was heading back to Denver for a few weeks. 

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the 4.3km swim in the afternoon, although I must admit that the pull buoy was used for the majority of it!  By the time the evening rolled around, I was preparing for the second run and feeling more than a little fatigued.  I made my way out the door and along Ali’I Drive and although the first mile seemed slow, I was soon hitting the exact same paces as I was in the morning.  I’d found my rhythm and with the miles ticking along quickly, before I knew it I’d covered nearly 7 miles, taking me to 29.1 miles total for the day.

Thursday was a lighter day, with only a 4.5km swim and a 2 hour ride.  Thankfully Brian had been kind enough to give me a day where I could leave my trainers to sit idly!  Friday was another quiet day, with a 2 hour ride and a standard 7 mile run.  I was still feeling every one of the 29 miles in my legs from two days earlier and my calves weren’t too happy about being called back into action so soon!  Having said that, once I warmed up I soon found my stride and enjoyed the run.

Saturday started off with a one hour open water swim from the pier, but before that, we had to pick up our morning coffee!  When all the staff know your name, it’s a good indication that you spend a bit too much time there!  Again we were thwarted by the dolphins who seem to be in hiding at the moment, deciding not to make an appearance.  After breakfast I had a 2h30’ ride with one hour at a tempo effort, which turned out to be a great session.  Later in the day I had another run to get through and again, my legs took a good mile to warm up.  We went out to Splasher’s for dinner, having one of their famous burgers – which I personally think are the best in town.  The BBQ Bacon Bacon burger is not to be missed (or messed with)! 

On Sunday morning I had a 5 hour ride scheduled, taking me to Hawi (the turnaround point on the bike course) and back.  As with most of my rides, his had a 3 hour main set of intervals, which were more painful than fun!  Although there seemed to be a fair bit of wind on the climb to Hawi, the descent was as calm as I’ve ever experienced it.  The session was another chance to dial in race nutrition and ensure that everything in that regard was working.  Despite drinking over 6 litres of fluid during the ride, it still wasn’t enough.  When I downloaded the ride file I saw that the average power for the 4h49’ ride had been 3.85W/kg, which is another good indication of solid bike fitness ahead of the race. 

Although I was feeling pretty tired by the time it was 5:30pm, I still had a run to do, and I knew that at this time of the evening there’d be some good views along the route.  I was right - you can’t complain when you see a sunset like this on your evening run.  It was a fantastic way to end what had been a great training week.