Back in the Saddle Again

Pool Running Bliss

First Full Week Back to Training for an Ironman

Well sort of. I was able to train for eight hours total – biking on the trainer and pool running this week. I also managed to get my average heart rate and resting heart rate down over the week. Since I started paying attention to my heart rate post-crash, my resting heart rate went from a 48-54 bpm to 76-82 bpm. And just walking, my heart rate was between 90 and 110 bpm. So even though I feel like things are going really slowly, I was able to drop my resting heart rate by 10 bpm.

I also learned this week that I totally missed something the Nurse Practitioner from Neurosurgery at Lahey said during our visit a couple of weeks ago.  I still have a crack in my vertebrae, but it is very small and will continue to heal on its own.  I learned this while we were having a conversation with our neighbor on Thursday.  Why did I totally miss that? On the positive side, I am seeing another neurosurgeon on July 19th, getting x-rayed and hopefully starting PT.  My neck is pretty mobile, but still pretty stiff turning in certain directions or moving it quickly.

My Week of Training

On Monday, I overdid it on the bike trainer with a 4 x 8 min Zone 4 workout that raised my heart rate to the max towards the end of the ride. I didn’t feel so great after that and was hoping I didn’t do anything bad to my body. It was all in the name of seeing what I could do, but I didn’t really want to see myself passed out on the floor. So I decided it would be a good idea to ask Coach Elliot for some shorter high-intensity workouts on the bike this week.  Elliot usually builds out my workouts one week at a time to better tailor them to where I am at.  I also let him know that since I was advised against running that I would start pool running the following day.

Tuesday began my favorite method of triathlon training – pool running.  Yeah, not really. I have had on and off issues with both my Achilles and have spent many fun sessions at the Y doing pool running to keep my fitness. During most of those sessions, I had kids cannon-balling next to my head or swimming into me just to see if I would continue to ruin their fun.  It’s strange. I don’t remember as a kid ever considering banging into an adult in any setting and would usually try to stay away from them. Almost all of my pool running in that past was during cold weather, so I had to do it at the indoor pool at the Y.  Now, I can do it at the outdoor pool where I live and can choose times when no one is there.  So as much as it bores the hell out of me, I don’t have to keep a look out for the kids. At least on the treadmill, I can listen to an audio book or music.  I did an hour long ladder workout that seemed to go pretty well. It went from 1 min hard to 5 min hard and back down to 1 min with 30 seconds rest in between the hard intervals.  I had bought a Pool Running Belt last year, so I didn’t wait to get started by having to wait for one to come from Amazon.

Wednesday’s trainer ride was three sets of 10 intervals – 10 sec at zone 7 and 10 sec at zone 1.  It was a total of an hour and ten minutes.  My heart rate was still high with an average of 144 and a high of 166  but I didn’t feel as awful as on Monday. Sandra was also happier that I was feeling better after this ride.

TRX/Synrgy class is on Thursdays, and I made it through another 40-minute class feeling good.  I followed it up late in the day with another 35-minute pool running session.  Again, no kids trying to see how much water they could push into my face.

The Replay of Mark Cavendish’s Crash

Another session of pool running and 30 minutes of a recovery ride on the trainer was the plan for Friday.  I did the trainer ride first in the morning because of rain and waited until late in the afternoon to do the 35-minute pool run.  The recovery ride was 30 minutes in zone 1 heart rate, and I thought I was going to have a hard time keeping my heart rate low.  My zone 1 heart rate was 123, and I was surprised how easy it was to keep it in that range.  Initially, it took me a while to get it close to 123 bpm.  I averaged 115 and had a max of 128 bpm.  I also got to watch the Tour de France while riding the trainer.  The pool running went by quickly later because I had Sandra to talk to during the recovery intervals.

I was able to watch the Tour again on Saturday for my hour long ride, and this time my average heart rate was 138 with a high of 165.  Now, I felt like I was making some progress.  But, watching the Tour also got me thinking about what I would be facing if I were to do the Half Ironman in Lake Placid in September.  The initial downhill there scares the hell out me, and I’m starting to question the wisdom of doing that race.  Sandra booked a motel room for us in August so we can check out what I would be facing if I did do the race.  My confidence right now about doing the race is pretty low.

Sunday, I started the day off with a pool run session that Sandra had to call out when I needed to change pace.  It started off with 10 seconds of medium effort, then 10 seconds of hard followed by 10 seconds of easy and increased in time by 10 seconds for each interval up to 30 seconds.  There were five sets of those and no way I could keep track of that in my head and physically do the workout. All the changes did make time go by fast.  My trainer ride was a 30-minute recovery ride like earlier in the week, and I watched the Tour again while riding.  I was fine keeping my heart rate in Zone 1 until I saw Richie Porte crash on a winding downhill.   Watching the crash was pretty disturbing, especially when they pulled out the neck brace and the stretcher to carry him away.

All in all, it was another good week.  I’m still not swimming or running, but the lowering of my heart rate during my rides has helped raise my spirits a bit.  I still don’t know what to do about Lake Placid 70.3, but if I do it, I am pretty sure it will be with a new bike.  Even if I don’t do it, I’m leaning towards at least getting a new frame if I can pay for it.

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