The (final) countdown is on – T minus 12 days until Ironman New Zealand in Taupo on 5 March.
So how do I feel? 1. Exhausted 2. Ready to race!
Last week was my last big training week and now I get to taper (relatively speaking). Last week was a total of 18 training hours. The sessions were starting to get a little shorter in duration but still with some up-tempo parts to them. I am definitely ready to taper and my body was sending me clear signs that it considered that it had done enough training: muscles were getting tight etc. But I have made it through training with no niggles.
You also know that it is taper time when the Athlete Start List comes out. Now, in one of my other blogs I talked about how I just need to focus on my own race and my own training as the pressure of qualifying for other races was proving a little too much. However, I could not resist doing a bit of analysis on the other women in my age group! Lets just say it is going to be a very exciting and close race and I need to bring my ‘A’ game.
It was also very motivating watching my friends race in the Challenge Wanaka Triathlon event over the weekend. They got amazing results and toughed it out in rough conditions. This sort of thing strengthens my own resolve and keeps my committed to my own goals.
So back to my training and what a summer it has been for training! To be honest this weather is a little too hot for me and there were times were I found myself audibly sighing while cycling just because it was too goddamn hot. This summer was also the first time I managed to get sun-burnt hands (note to self – do not forget cycling gloves and sunscreen on race day).
The downside to this great weather is that it was often too hot at night to sleep properly. I love my sleep and I like to go to bed early, however, often I would have to wait until late in the evening when the temperature had dropped. Luckily, I could usually nap during the day in the weekends to make up for it. Now if I could only figure out how to get away with it at work…
The other positive is that because I have been eating properly, both eating to train and eating well after training, the lack of sleep has not affected me as badly as it normally would. I am also now where I want to be weight-wise for the race and feel able to control cravings and focus in on what I need the food to do for me and let that be my guide for what to eat.
Normally when I “shred” for Ironman or other races this involves a substantial reduction in grains and an increase in good fats. It sounds a bit counter-intuitive I know. However, this time around that technique wasn’t producing the results it normally did. I think my body had cottoned onto the fact that I was forcing weightloss and then would put it quickly back on again after the race. As I said, now I am focusing on what I need to train and I tried not to worry too much about all these “diet” rules. So if I still had training to do I would eat some brown rice with my meals. I also still had a Friday afternoon flash guy hot chocolate from the Bohemian Chocolate Shop by my work. And the thing is, I still lost weight – slowly but surely – and I felt like I could still have the odd treat rather than banning everything in the lead up to race day.
These have been sitting in my cupboard for 2 weeks. The restraint!
One of the breakthroughs for me came after I read a blog by a psychologist who was talking about his own weightloss experiment. He pointed out that if it was just as simple as calories in vs. calories out, then why are we all not the weight we want to be? It is all to do with our mental mindset and what happens when we deprive ourselves of certain foods- we make ourselves want them more and we only have so much will power. He did cut back on the carbs and junk food, sure. But he also focused on portions and letting himself have the occasional treat if he really wanted one. I thought this was a pretty good philosophy and the more I thought about it and the people I knew who had no body issues, it was because they had no food issues.
This is something that I hope to carry through after Ironman.
Next time you hear from me the race will be over – well, that one will be anyway! So fingers crossed and positive thoughts.