This morning I slept in and woke up happy with the knowledge that tomorrow is a rest day.
But first, there was today to contend with.
A full brick was on the books, the total distance being almost as much as an international triathlon--I biked 26 miles, swam one mile and ran two. Then did absolutely nothing for the rest of the day.
Over the past six days, I have swam a total of 4000 meters (about 2.5 miles), biked 88 miles, and ran almost 9 miles. And this was a recovery week, not to mention a wake up call and a reality check.
I'm slowly beginning to appreciate what I am up against over the next 20 weeks and hoping I will be able to hold up--mentally as well as physically.
I'm also beginning to understand that training for the Iron Man is a triathlon in itself. Not only will I need to be physically fit, but mentally and nutritionally fit as well.
Physically, I will have to be prepared to cover 140.6 miles, but also to remain well-rested and injury-free during the training. Stretching and icing have become a mandatory part of my training and, while getting enough sleep has always been a challenge for me, it is now non-negotiable. My body will need the time for repair and recovery.
Mentally, I will need to be strong enough to keep going and not quit, to run when I want to walk and possibly walk when I wan to stop. There's no doubt I will need to push through the pain that is sure to come, in my muscles and joints and in the form of blisters and chafing and saddle discomfort.
Nutritionally, I have a lot to learn. I am a vegetarian and, as such, I'm always aware of my need to get enough protein and iron. For other health reasons I follow a nearly gluten-free diet and avoid certain food combos and plants in the nightshade family. I have found several nutrition plans that meet most of these needs, but none were geared toward endurance athletes who need additional daily calories. That is, until I found Ben Greenfield and his free podcast onhttp://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2009/04/holistic-ironman-nutrition-how-to-fuel-your-body-for-endurance-sports-without-destroying-it/
But I need to start putting the principles to use on a regular basis.
And, when it comes to the race itself, a good friend who has done two Iron Man races has recommended Infinit Nutrition:
I am planning a phone consultation this week to decide if this solution might be a fit for me.
So, as I tackle the training for this race, there are many mountains to climb--and not just the kind I encounter on my bike. This week has truly been a reality check for me.