The Second Big Brick.
Yesterday I completed my second (and final) Olympic-length brick prior to the triathlon. 23.5 miles on the X-wing, followed by a 6.2 mile sloooow jog with a couple of walk breaks. The ride took me 88 minutes, for about 16 mph, which means I was reeling off sub-4 minute miles. That’s stellar and I’m very pleased with it. But the run took me 74 minutes. That’s an 11:50 pace, and it wasn’t even that hot. 77 degrees, but high humidity. Race day will be hotter, it looks like.
That’s going to be the way. I am not, I don’t think, going to be able to run the entire run. After a long ride, my body temperature is up, and that spikes my heart rate. Even though I was running at about a 11:50 pace yesterday, my heart rate averaged 177. My heart is like that. It’s difficult for me to maintain a heart rate below 170 during exercise. If I’m doing anything even moderately challenging, it goes straight to sprint-mode.
When it’s warmer than about 65 degrees, it’s just really difficult for me to keep my heart rate down to a manageable number without walking periodically. So that’s what I’ll do. My resting heart rate is down between 48-60, so I’m not worried about my general cardiac fitness. For whatever reason, my body just doesn’t have many gears between “rest” and “sprint”.
Race day I may want to take the ride a little slower and maybe I’ll have more in the tank for the run. Maybe not. But I’m feeling confident that I’ll reach the finish line. I’m annoyed that my pool has been closed for emergency repairs, and so I’ve gotten less swimming in than I’d like. But that is the part I’m least concerned about. I’m a strong swimmer, I’ve swum the distance. I am comfortable in the water.
I have 4.5 hours to finish the race. The swim should take me about 45 minutes, maybe 52 at the outside. Call it an hour. The bike course is 20 miles, and so will take me about 80-90 minutes. Then, the run will take me about 75 minutes. Worst case I have to walk a lot and it takes me about 90. That sums up to 200-240 minutes. Leaving me, at worst (hopefully) half an hour for transitions, which is a very long time.
I’m scared. I’m not as fit as I’d like to be. I’m not good in the heat. I’m slow and soft and weak. My training brick yesterday hurt a lot. Especially in the upper arms and core. I’ve been doing a lot of core work, but 90 minutes on a bike and 75 minutes jogging are going to take a toll on me no matter what I do.
The lesson here is: I can do just about anything if I’m willing to suffer enough. But I can’t do it fast. I was never going to be a great athlete, but I did permanent damage to my ability to compete well with how overweight I let myself get, and smoking and drinking like I did. I have twenty pounds of fat I drag around that I will likely never be rid of barring a famine.
There’s only so much I can squeeze out of this tube-sock full of toothpaste I call a body. Hopefully, it’ll be enough to finish an Olympic Triathlon next weekend. If not, well, then I know something I can’t do. Yet.