Descoping the project
So last week we ended up on a low note, where I showed you how did my April and May look like. To make sense of words illness, complications, injuries which were shown on nearly every week of those months in my plan, I will try to expand onto those and tell you what has happened.
To start with skipped rest days, I jumped into my “recovery” week, my wife was out of the country on a business trip to Denmark – read “there was nobody to stop me from doing stupid things. And I planned in my head my recovery week, just by saying that this is a rest week. To make things worse, that week Lithuania and in particular the city I live in, Vilnius, was hit by almost-summer-like weather, sun was shining and basically it was one of those “how can I not train harder in such weather moments”. I think for the very first time it was +15 degrees or even more and you could feel like world around you was coming to life after the winter.
So I went for my first recovery jog of the week. To paint you the picture: I have not had run more than 8km during my normal workout days during the week previously, only long runs, once a week, were lengthy – 16 km. However, this part of information was blocked out of my head and I decided to recover with a 13 km trail run, with shorts and tank top, when it was quite windy and gradually 15 degrees were going down. Moreover, I pushed those 13 km with a 4:30 pace, which to me was so far from recovery, as the actual Spring was far from Lithuania. So after that run, I came back pretty wrecked and had an extremely sore left calf muscle, I even had to stop at one point to rest a bit, as the muscle was hurting. R to the E to the C to the O to RECOVERY, eh?
On top of that I wanted to make a surprise and renovate our living room, while Dovile was out of home, so I was coming back home and working on painting the floor for 2-3 hours, then staying in the room, which smelled very much like paint. And I did this throughout the whole week. I can stand the smell of paint ok I guess, but after 3rd day – it was getting heavy on my head.
Next day I decided that it is a good thing to go for a bike ride, but I connected that bike ride with a strength training with my dad and another bike ride. In other words, on Tuesday I did a 3 back-to-back training sessions and I did not bike easily – I pushed a bit, because I felt great. In my training log I managed to write the following description after the Wednesday run “[TRAIL] Recovery trail after heavy Monday and difficult Tuesday. Was tired and empty during the run. Will need to recover this week”, despite that – I still could not comprehend it and adapt accordingly. I decided to hit myself even more and do an interval session on my rest week. Even typing this, I feel as my IQ decreases. I think I biked my logic off during that Tuesday or it fainted with the paint smell in the living room.
The interval session was a good flagman of a tired athlete. You know you were running at 160-165 bpm of your heart rate – and now you are standing at the track & field, trying to start up your engine and it does not. The heart rate was not going more than 150, legs were jelly and empty. Felt like I was made out of rubber, which made me very reluctant to do the right movements, required to maintain speed. I was planning to do an 8 x 1 km session, but during my warm up, it came clear that I will need to dumb the session down. I did. However the right thing to do would be just to do an easy recovery jog around the track and go home rest. But I did a 6 km at 3:58 min/km pace, resulting in this comment complementing my log after Friday intervals “very tired and extremely empty”.
Rust on the iron
At the end of the week, late at Friday night, brain of the operation “Edgar is an Ironman” has landed in Lithuania, my wife came back from the business trip. I went to pick her up.
So it became quite clear that I pushed in the wrong direction and over-trained. It was extremely difficult to find any motivation to train the week after, I did not want to hear, do or think anything related to triathlon. But I still tried to, I still was clocking some kilometers, however each and every one of it was very taxing. Calf muscles were cramping up on every run, heart-rate was acting the same way drunk people act, when they hear atmospheric drum’n’bass – from being calm to dancing, jumping and yelling at random, at high volumes. Moreover, it seemed that Dovile was ill. And me being a good husband, I kept giving her small kisses, when bringing her tea and wishing her to get better. It is easier than 2nd grade arithmetic, to deduct how over-trained, low-energy and tired body will protect itself from a virus. And I went down together. Pretty hard.
From being lazy and not wanting to run, I went into a straight 2-3 weeks hiatus. Bronchitis got me. I could not really eat, I could not sleep, I did not know where to be. I was drinking hot tea on hourly basis. It was frustrating to be always hot and under numerous blankets to keep you even hotter.
After having crossed out three weeks of training, I started to try and to come back. Boy it was difficult, I think even more difficult than the previous break during the winter. And those comebacks were hurting. Even after 3 weeks of different and new kind of rest – my calf muscles were sore and hurting on each run, I ruined my running technique by trying to maintain the speeds, my stomach was providing absolute new dimensions of pain, after simply 3 kilometers and I usually had to do a long walk to make it at least a bit easier. In the pool I was unable to breathe for more than non-stop 200 meter swim and my left foot was declining to work after 15 minutes. So each pool session was ending after 15-20 minutes and I was going to sauna instead, hoping that it will release my left calf. It did not. And with every painful training session, it was daunting to go out for the next one. I started to think that I will be unable to finish the race, what should I do – we have already paid for the trip, the rented house, the race itself.
But I had amazing support from my wife, from my father. Father was always there to help me analyze the pains in my body, to re-work the movement, to do something differently. And Dovile – she just kept being amazing, always listened to my moaning, always was ready to adapt with me – whether to re-plan the trip to Denmark, to go for a 15 minute swim in the pool, instead of proper session.
Volumes and requirements at work were putting another huge block of difficulties on the training. I was coming home empty and to think that I have to go out and run slower, with pain, than I run just 2 months ago? Really? Is this how you finish an Ironman 70.3 this year? With pains, grins and moans? Sometimes I wanted to cry, once I even challenged my heart-rate monitor, talking to it “Is this all you can push out of my heart? I will show you higher numbers you bastard!”. But I decompose these moments, these situations into smaller bits, I focus on what I have to do here and now to become better tomorrow, to be able to stand at that start line, to have the finishers medal on my neck. And I try to loose myself in the moment, I try to become a wet rag, which can be placed on any surface and cover it, adapt to the surface. This is how I improve. Training is immense mental feat, psychological battle and I do not think it is possible to win it, it is only possible to endure it, understand it and cover it with the rag, which you become. By repetition, by exposing yourself to that battle, by admitting that I am weak here and now, being honest and wanting to keep battling. Battle is not going to go away, only I will; but I won’t. This is what my mind raced through, to finally get my feet to this:
Song of the week: Tool – Hooker with a Penis
Reading: Andre Agassi “Open”
Game: “Nioh” and our new cat
Average Weight: 78.9kg
Average Suunto Recovery: I accidentally switched it off tonight 😦
I received a lot of encouraging words during the week after my last post. Thank you so much. Means a lot to me.
This week was interesting. I planned my July. Boy it is going to be a difficult month, but I feel confident, I hope I will not forget my mistakes, written down in these posts. I have been eating healthy for a bit more than a week now – it is exciting and new experience. I like it. However in the mid of the week, I had to pump up the dosage of my pasta and carbs, as I was losing too much weight. We will see how it will work out and what next week will bring.
Most of all, I have been married for a year, to the most amazing girl of my world!