Its been a decent week of training, far from spectacular in terms of my performance, but I've been putting in the work. All week I've had an eye on this weekend's Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote, which will be a tough test. With Ironman Arizona in November being the priority, it didn't make sense to taper for too long before Saturday – better to bank the training for Arizona. Saturday's long ride took in all of the bike route for the race, which looks to be a really good test. It has a bit of everything – short climbs, long drags, fast descents, tight turns, as well as the 9km Tabayesco climb which may be the highlight of the day. It was another really hot day and I had to stop twice within 4 hours to buy more fluids. I just couldn't get enough food and drink in and the last hour was survival mode. That night I crashed and slept like a baby.
Despite not being much of a morning person (who wouldn't rather lie in!) I do enjoy heading out early to run here. There are always tourists along the coast with their cameras, waiting to get a shot of the sunrise.
Over the weekend I also met up with Steven Lord who had just finished hosting a triathlon camp here on the island. We didn't do much riding, instead heading to a local cafe for a good catch up. I got my ride done afterwards, but again, what should have been an easy effort felt laboured. Over dinner I was telling Bella and Stephen Bayliss that I wasn't feeling too flash during recent training, but they told me not to give up on myself yet. Its been great to spend time chatting with them and to have the opportunity to learn from two very successful athletes.
Monday was another 5 hour day and the first day that I felt decent on the bike. Descending Tabayesco, I stopped to take a quick picture – looking for something to give these blogs post a bit of colour. As I took my phone out my back pocket, my emergency-snickers-and-coke 10 Euro note came out with it and went flying. There was no way I could react in time to catch it and I could only watch as it drifted away. Eventually I convinced myself that a local kid would stumble across it, which eased the frustration somewhat. The real kicker is that the photo isn't even good, but seeing as it cost 10 Euros, it's going up regardless!
Having ridden early and swum during the day, it was the first time that I'd be running in the evening. I left at 6pm and I'd forgotten how nice it is to run at that time of day. 7 miles eased by and everything looked a little better at the end of the day.
Tuesday was the final day of decent training before the 3 day taper. The pre-breakfast run included some intervals above race pace, which is a standard session in race week. However, being pretty fatigued from the recent training, it didn't feel as easy as the session normally does. After another long swim – which I'm starting to become accustomed to again – I got the ride for the day done.
By the time Wednesday came around, everything was suggesting that I needed to back off the training. That morning's run was one to forget and I didn't have any hesitation in deciding to forget about that afternoon's scheduled 2 hour ride. I've said it before, but knowing when to back off and when to push on is one of the hardest decisions in training. It's something I still struggle with. There's a feeling of guilt that you haven't completed the training, but at the same time, there's a point of diminishing returns. I emailed Brian to update him with how I was feeling and he quickly replied, changing the next two days of training accordingly. The rest of that day was spent resting, doing as little as possible. Today was another easy day, with a lunch time swim being the only session.
With 2 days until the race, I'm nervous – more so than I can remember for a long time. The race has come early in my return to regular training post Copenhagen, but I knew that when I committed to toeing the line. Make no mistake, this is no cherry pick – I'll be up against some stellar athletes on Saturday, including three Olympians! It's intimidating. At the same time a competitive field takes the pressure off me, as nobody expects anything from me. But I have expectations of myself, and ultimately, what I'm most nervous about is not meeting them.