I'm actually well into the fifth month, because this was a 30-week training schedule. In my head it's always been a six-month schedule, but six months would only be 24 weeks. Well, math was never my strong point.
Things are going... not too bad! I've made it into the third ten-week training phase, the peak phase, with two previous ten-week phases completed. This is when the workouts get longer. Still, I think I am in good enough shape to handle them. I have mostly good news to report on the training front:
THE SWIM: I'm getting better, slowly but surely. I started off at almost three minutes per 100 yards, which is a terrible pace and just barely under the cutoff pace for the Ironman swim. Yesterday, in my longest workout of this training cycle so far (3500 yards), my pace was 2:24 per 100. It had just recently dropped into the low 2:40's, but to have it drop to 2:24 on my longest workout yet was nothing short of amazing. (And I REALLY didn't want to go to the pool yesterday. I woke up dreading it, almost bailed on leaving the house, almost turned around and went home when I got to the Y at 5:30 a.m. -- but I stayed and had an awesome swim instead.) I've been watching YouTube videos, doing 600-700 yards of drills every time I swim, and even finally posted a video of myself swimming in the Pathetic Triathletes Facebook group. I got lots of helpful feedback, some of which I concentrated on implementing yesterday and some of which I have to go back and review a few more times. But I'm now feeling pretty confident about the swim. I will be swimming 3500 three times a week, and the Ironman swim is 4200, and it's downstream, and I'll have a wetsuit. So, can I do it? I think I can!
THE BIKE: No real improvement in speed, and I still can't ride comfortably in aerobars. But -- I CAN CHANGE A FLAT NOW!! I know people will find this hard to believe. I still need more practice before I can change it fast. But I have practiced quite a few times and now believe I could actually do it if I had to. Big and sincere thank you to the person who finally was the right combination of teaching me and pushing me to do it myself. As for improving my speed, one thing I will say is that all of my long rides so far have involved riding through places like downtown Bradenton, Tampa, and Palmetto, usually twice (out and back), and the traffic lights and stop signs inevitably slow me down quite a bit. Even so, I'm usually around 14-15 mph. A fast ride is 16-17 mph. I have promised myself that when my long rides get up over four hours, which is starting this week, I will go to more fun and bike-friendly places, like back to the Pinellas Trail and the Legacy Trail and Longboat Key. Hopefully I will be able to be just a little bit faster in those places, and hopefully I can get some decent practice with aero bars without having to worry about traffic.
THE RUN: Nothing really to report here. I'm anywhere between 9:00 and 10:00 miles depending on how hot it is. I'm still running well off the bike. I hope that continues. I mean, it's not like 10:00 miles is an awesome pace, but neither is it horrible in heat and humidity. Let me just say one more time -- it's easier to run well when you run in beautiful places. I think everyone has seen enough of my sunrises and sunsets and dolphins and palm trees and sea birds and beautiful, vacation-blue Florida skies to know that I live and run in a beautiful place!
My biggest accomplishments this past month:
*Buying a trisuit. It fits me so perfectly it's like someone painted it on me, and like it isn't even there at all. Yes it was expensive, but what is it worth to find something that comfortable to work out in?
*Finishing my solo Olympic tri in reasonably good shape.
*Posting my video for critique. I know I suck, but it's never fun to find out specifically how and how much you suck. Still, everyone was really nice about it, and I got some good tips.
*Learning how to fix a flat -- an accomplishment ten years in the making.
*180 workouts done, 90 to go. Still haven't missed one and I'm still ahead of schedule by 3-4 days.
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