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The 'accidental' marathon

It seemed about time for another blog and update on how things are going in Leanne’s world. Today seemed like a suitable day – with an afternoon off training I’ve got some time to sit down and reflect on the past few weeks.

From a runner’s high after yesterdays’ brick to post-swim depression after this morning’s ‘distaster’ in the pool, I guess it’s a good time to remind myself of the positives rather than focus on a bad morning!

As I have now set my sights on racing at IRONMAN Austria for a Kona slot, I’ve been doing a lot more endurance work than usual and upping the miles in all three disciplines. I’ve really enjoyed the training so far and have more confidence in racing long now. That said, a 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and 42.2km run still seems like a LONG way to go! Luckily I’ve had successful swims/rides/and runs that would indicate we are on the right path and still staying injury free! Here are my highlight sessions for the last 7 days. *no, not all done on the same day of course!

Swim – 5k session with 3.8k continuous

Most mornings I jump in the pool for a 2k ‘fluffy’ set, to wake up the body and add some extra distance in the pool. This particular day I had a 5k set planned for the afternoon as my second swim of the day. However, I was feeling particularly good this morning and decided I could challenge myself by doing the long set. After the warm up I decided to just start and get it done. My head was in the right place and the sensations were good. So mainset? 3800m straight swim, thanks coach. I’d actually never done this before (besides IM Mallorca) and wasn’t quite sure how my mind and body would handle this distance. It was just a steady effort, nothing crazy. So I set off and starting counting, bit by bit, 100 by 100, I made it half way and wasn’t too disappointed with the time. If I’d go slightly faster in the second half I could… I managed to stay focused and carry on, clocked a slightly faster second half, giving me a pretty decent time for my 3800m steady swim. I have to admit I was on cloud 9 for a bit, feeling like I’d achieved something and broken through a little mental barrier of not being able to swim well in the early mornings.

Ironman swim set? Check !

Bike – 145km with 2x 1.5h at race pace

I knew this session was coming and was really hoping to do my training justice on this day. 90 minutes at race effort required quite a bit of focus and determination, and luckily I managed to find both on the day. I was able to hold my target race pace for both efforts, with much less fighting than a similar session from before. No more niggles in the knee either which was a big relief. I was satisfied with my average pace as well, ending up with about 36.5kmph average for the total 3hrs at race effort. If I could do that on race day…

Run 1 – 40.5km at avg 4:28

I was looking forward to trying my second-ever 3h run. This time I had some target paces to work for so I was looking forward to seeing how the body would respond. With mum on the mountain bike and a beautiful route combining trail and road, the time flew by and before I knew it the first hour at easy pace was done. Next up was an hour at a slightly more challenging pace, just above target IM race pace. The first 10 minutes felt a bit like an effort after having done the first hour at a pretty easy effort. But as I got into the second hour it became more and more comfortable, and I was still managing to chat away to mum and enjoy ‘a nice day out’. The last hour was slightly slower again, back to what we hope is about my IM race pace. Even after two hours of solid running I was feeling great, niggle-free, steady heart rate, and not needing to push to hold my pace. Towards the end of the three hours I realized I had just passed the 40km mark… Wow, I just nearly ran a marathon in training! Should I carry on and do an extra little bit to get up to the full distance? No, coach wouldn’t be so impressed. “Don’t overdo it on the good days”. So three hours and 40.5km later I pressed ‘stop’ on the Garmin with a happy head and a little grin of secret pride.

Run 2 (brick) – 4.5k at 3:45

The day after my big ride we took the guests to the beautiful lake at Eguzon. This was about a 3h cycle there, and a 3h cycle back after a little open water swim. There was a 5k run planned for me off the bike, which I had been dreading all day. Obviously the legs were not fresh from the previous day’s effort and I was really questioning my ability to run off another 6h ride. But I didn’t manage to get out of the session and Lee told me to ‘just get it done’. So I set off and my run legs actually weren’t so bad… The loop Coach had chosen was also not the most flat one, actually really quite hilly… But I stopped feeling sorry for myself and went for it, feeling good and pushing a bit more than was intended. But coming back I was pretty chuffed. A 17:00 for our 4.5km ‘purple route’ as Tri-topians will know it. Probably a pb for me for that hilly little thing, and that off a 6h ride! Another runner’s high for me and a well deserved dinner that day…

Even though we’ve had some pretty good sessions, it feels quite daunting to think that there are just over 6 weeks left until race day. A spot for Kona is definitely the goal and every time I’m suffering or feeling sorry for myself I remind myself of that slot. No time to waste and no time for uncertainty. I hope that on July 2nd I will toe the line knowing I did everything I could to prepare for this day. A few more weeks left to make a difference and then time to believe in the training and leave it all out there.


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