Beyond Iron
Life … when the training is finished

Survival Mode

Brody and I, chillin' on a lazy Sunday – Pine, Arizona – September 2010

Training complete: 23 weeks, 4 days – Until race: 6 weeks, 3 days

So much has happened since the last blog, it’s hard to account for it all. There was the whole incident with grandma, when she fell here and fractured her pelvis. Through a miracle of sorts, after a couple weeks in a hospital and rehab facility here in the Phoenix area, she was able to safely travel back home to New Jersey. She’s back in Lincoln Park, where she should be. I’m tremendously happy for her.

But there’s been lots of good stuff, too. In mid-September, I took an absolutely awesome extended weekend vacation to Madison, Wisconsin to watch the Sun Devils take on to the Wisconsin Badgers. Madison is a great small city, easily walkable, with great people and lots to do. The setting – on an isthmus between two lakes – was a welcome reprieve from the Phoenix heat, which, by the way has finally broke. We had two days of heavy rain earlier this week, and now, as if by magic, the nighttime lows are approaching 60. This Sunday, I’m heading up to the mountains with the kids to check out the fall foliage – the aspens in the San Francisco Peaks are yellow; the oaks in Oak Creek Canyon orange and red now. I’ll take pictures. Arizona’s mountain autumn shows are stunning.

Oh, and in three weeks, I’ll head up to Las Vegas to compete in the Cuervo Games National Finals. A weekend of parties and competition, courtesy of Diageo/Jose Cuervo. The games will be broadcast live. I’ll provide details when I get them.

And then, of course, there’s the Ironman. It’s 6 weeks and 3 days away. I’m excited. I’m starting to get goosebumps thinking about the big day. But right now the focus is just on getting there.

I’m in what’s known as the peak training phase. What this means in essence is that I work out 3 hours or more a day, every day except Monday (which I take off), and Wednesday (which I only work out for 1.5 hours on). On Saturdays, I train 6 to 7 hours, on Sunday 3 to 4 hours.

Every week, I’m swimming close to 7 miles, biking more than 150 miles and running around 40-45 miles.

It’s exhausting. Yesterday, for example, my body didn’t respond to the exercise the way it should have – my heart rate didn’t elevate properly. To me, running fast felt the same as standing still. It’s actually one of the classic signs of an over-exhausted body.

So, today, I rested – I shelved the 2.2 mile swim and 30 mile bike ride; and instead watched TV with the kids and sat down to pen this blog. It’s important to not overdo it in these final weeks – a time when you’re very susceptible to injury and fatigue as you push your body to new limits. I like to think of it as being in survival mode – both mentally and physically.

The hours of solitude can make you crazy. In the pool for hours a week alone; on the road for hours a week alone; on the bike for hours a week alone. You have to be pretty comfortable with yourself; comfortable with silence and your thoughts to do this …

I have to say, it was nice to come home and rest for once. Can’t wait to do that with a little more regularity …

– Ed


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