I have thought about coming back to continuing with this blog so many times during my runs, bikes (I skipped far too many swims this year, to think about blog during those), but only thanks to Ironman 70.3 Elsinore 2017 have I actually tried to set everything up to continue with it and not lose it. Let us see if it works out in the end. I certainly hope, it will!
Where was I?
Training, breaking myself up, then a lot of moaning happened, then training again, then a bit more moaning, then again getting broken and training, while being broken. I plan to do a re-cap what happened during the winter and why did I stop with my last post and what happened to my coach a bit later. For now I want to do a 3 piece reflection of my past 2 months, including the Ironman 70.3 race. Those two months have definitely had big impact on myself, which might have pushed me to start writing.
Ironman 70.3 Elsinore was in the end a huge blast, it became this catalyst to my life, my approach to training and what I want to strive for. It was a blast in all of the senses – the good, the bad, the ugly. But it ended up as good and I am very happy about it. Now I am surfing that hype-train and trying to build up on it, hopefully learning from my mistakes on my way and improving a lot of different things alongside.
Hopefully this paints an ok picture… I guess it provides more of a frame to the picture, but it should suffice as a good start for me, yourself and the structure.
Start-up “Journey to 5hrs Ironman 70.3 Elsinore”. Part 1.
During sluggish and lazy winter, I actually managed to pick myself up and start running and working out. I think I still was doing some strength training with my father, however actually making myself go outside and run – that was a no-no. I kind of decided to just push myself a bit and stop working out on excuses, but rather work out running. I think the biggest motivation was that I told myself that I want to participate in a 9 KM run for Lithuania’s January 13th bank holiday, dedicated to Freedom Fighters, who died during breakthrough of soviet occupation (Only now, when typing this, I noticed the symbolism – with people breaking through the occupation of soviets and myself breaking through the difficulties in starting up the training. Unintentional however). The fact that I just wanted to participate in a mass-run was motivating me. In addition to that, my good-friend Tomas was spending a lot of time running with a club indoors and outdoors was giving me a kick as well. His stories and shares of the training sessions were quite motivating.
So after that mass-run, I attended few more trail runs, which were very difficult to myself and I was completely unprepared for them – but I had fun. And coming back to it now, I think that pure fun to just run your heart out, not looking at pace, not thinking about sore muscles, heart rate – this was a very good catalyst for my start-up. But boy, I was beat after that first trail run. And it was super fun to run with Tomas as well. Eventhough he passed me quite easily at last kilometer.
After those runs, I decided that I would like to join the running club. Start building up and creating something out of myself this year. I have already signed up for Ironman 70.3 Elsinore this year and have been secretly thinking that I have potential to get a slot for World Championship 70.3 in Chattanoga, or at least shooting for a very solid result. All I have to do is to start carving that potential out of the sluggishness and lazyness. And this is what I did – I joined the club, I started regularly running and by February, I was averaging 140-150 KMs per month on my runs, with some high quality tempo-runs and getting up to 4-5 hours of bike training sessions , even managing to ride outside (I gave my own self a “oh wow, that’s impressive” right now, after I calculated it up and realized it). So in overall, I started improving, I started building up and I felt confident that I can do well in the 70.3. I did not swim though, getting up so early and getting into the wet pool – I did not want to bother with that. I thought to myself “It is just a swim anyway, I am not going to win a lot in it. Plus I was swimming pretty ok last year”. Nope, I am not proud of that.
Then after some discussions with my father, about in March, I remembered that good athletes do, what it is called cycles in training. And I decided to build my plan around cycles:
Idea is pretty simple, you do 2 weeks of build-up training, not pushing yourself too hard, then 1 week of more difficult training (higher paces, higher intensity) and lastly 1 week of rest week, where you recover from the high intensity training. Consider last week like being on vacation for a week – where you kind of think about work, but you do not really have to go there.
And it worked, my paces and aerobic capacity increased. During some sessions I was easily passing my colleagues in interval sessions, having no problem to keep 3:50 min / km paces and still being within aerobic capacity (meaning I could still push myself more and be faster for a short distance or period of time).
While all this was happening, I luckily received an e-mail from people, who have helped me get into Ironman Copenhagen last year asking if I would want to join once more for both Ironman 70.3 Elsinore and Ironman Copenhagen. As I was already registered for Elsinore, I had to think about Copenhagen. During it, I definitely had a lot of thoughts that it costs too much – mentally, physically, time-investment wise and of course family-wise (my wife is a huge champion in this regard, she not only does not mind me spending so much time training, but she encourages me and helps me out. I have won the lottery in life it seems) – and I decided that I would not want to race a full iron-distance triathlon (3.8 km swim, 180 km bike and 42.192 km run in one go) in 2017. But after that e-mail, my brain worked funny and after a discussion with Dovile, my wife, I replied to that e-mail – that I would be honored and super happy to come back to Copenhagen and race it again. So now my journey was not only about trying to do my best at Ironman 70.3 Elsinore, but to do better at Ironman Copenhagen. All I wanted was to keep my swim and bike times and improve my marathon. I wanted to run a 3 hours marathon (4:15 min/km pace during those 42kms) during the Ironman after 3.8 km swim and even after the 180 km bike. Crazy, but even now, writing this, I still think it would have been possible. Yes, would have been possible.
I started pushing myself a bit harder, skipping rest days, because I felt ok, I did not feel fatigued too much, eventhough Dovile was telling me to cool it down. But I am an Ironman, I know better. I did not apply logic and clear-thinking to my training enough, I was going too much by the feels and after an amazing March, where I hit 190 km running, I went into April. Dovile kindly reminded me that I did not have any rest days within two weeks. I had to do last week of high-intensity training and then – 1 day off. It should be enough. I told myself and to her as well. In theory, it should have been enough, unless you totally screw up your rest-week and do not volume down it. And this is what I did. And this is what happened:
Here I will stop for my part one. Hope you had fun reading it. I definitely, had a blast writing this and will do my best to continue it.
Song of the week: Nick Mulvey – Cucurucu
Reading: Just have finished Haruki Murakami – A Wild Sheep Chase
Game: Getting my ass handled in “Nioh” PS4
Average Weight: 79.4kg
Average Suunto Recovery: I will start, soon.
I just came back home, came back to Vilnius after extensive travelling and different planned activities. After finishing Ironman 70.3 Elsinore, we have been to Foo Fighters concert in Ryga, we went to Open’er music festival in Poland, I had to travel to work and participate in an intensive workshop. Currently, I am planning things for my Ironman Copenhagen race. I have started looking after what I eat, put a short stop on alcohol and sweets and trying to plan these upcoming two months intelligently.
I hope that I will not go to crazy into the “looking after what I eat” part, as my wife says – I go into extremes, one way or the other some times. So these lines will have to do as a reminder. In addition, I have bought some new gear for triathlon, which I am very excited for and I will share it here later with perhaps some feedback to it.
As always, thank you so much for reading, time is expensive thing here and it means the world to me, that you spend it here, reading through my flow of thoughts. Hope you enjoy and hope you come back.