Once upon a time, I worked in this horrible dead-end job that kind of sucked my will to live. This job, in spite of its soul-sucking properties, was not without its perks (otherwise I don't think I would have hung on as long as I did). The perks included being able to work from anywhere (hello Mexico beach), unlimited time off, mountain biking buddies in spades, and a triathlete of a boss who taught me to lead climb on our lunch breaks, and encouraged me in my races. It was this very boss who told me that one week he and his buddies had completed an Ironman over 7 days, and made themselves t-shirts. He thought it was a good joke, and I logged that idea away for later.
Fast forward nearly six years, and for the first time, I tried my own 7-day Ironman (only I tried to do it in 6, since I typically take Sunday's off). It was, hands down, one of the coolest training plans I've ever attempted. And I pretty much felt awesome all week which made it that much better. Here's a breakdown of the last six days:
Went to spin class and then stayed on the bike an extra 25 minutes to bike a total of 26 miles (Note: I don't have a road bike, so all my cycling miles had to occur indoors). I tried running right after that, and wimped out after about a mile. So total mileage for the day was 27 miles.
A tough day schedule-wise. I have two 3-hour classes on Tuesdays. I managed to sneak in a run between my two classes and finished 5.4 miles. My last class of the day ends right about 9 p.m., and I had plans to get some bike miles in afterward, but my mom called, and that took priority. So total mileage for the day was 5.4 running miles.
A big day, training wise. I started with a spin class, and stayed on the bike afterward to finish 30 miles of cycling. I finished out my work day, then headed home to grab my swimming gear. I had a running date for later that evening, so my swim was short and I only finished 800 yards (I am possibly the world's slowest swimmer). I met up with my rockstar running buddies and I managed to eke out about 3.2 miles before wimping out. Running is so much harder after doing all that other stuff! I even had breaks in between all three events... So total mileage on Wednesday was about 34 miles.
An easy day. I was pretty tired and not totally sure why. I spent some quality time in the pool though, and I was glad I did. I managed 1800 meters and was pretty proud of myself for getting myself out the door after a long day, and falling asleep reading. Total mileage for the day 1800 yards.
Another big, big day. I got to my spin class early, stayed late, and logged 56 miles to finish up the 112-mile goal for the week. I ate lunch after that, worked in my office, and then headed home to eat more before hitting the pool. I rounded off the 2.4 mile-swim with 1625 yards in the pool. Total mileage for Friday was about 57 miles.
Feeling tired and unmotivated, I missed my morning run, and instead hit my favorite trail late afternoon/early evening for a lackluster 5.5-mile run. Total miles for Saturday (don't judge): 5.5.
Final mileage for my Ironman week was....(drum-roll please)....
Swim: 2.4 miles
Bike: 112 miles
So I didn't quite make it, but instead of beating myself up about the running miles I missed, I'm focusing on how awesome I felt all week! I seriously felt so great! I was pumped (PUMPED, I tell you!) all week, and much, much happier than I've been in a long time. Friday especially, I felt like I got a runner's high during my bike ride Friday, and I may have almost gotten teary when I finished those 56 miles. It was such a huge personal accomplishment.
This week also taught me a great personal lesson: I need large quantities of challenging physical activity in my life. I also think having a goal really helped me zero in on and structure my workouts. I didn't plan as well as I could have, so next time (YES, next time!) I will get a better schedule put together.
Looking ahead, I think I will make this a regular event (probably once every couple months). It's also inspired me to better plan my workouts one week at a time so I have a short-term, achievable goal to keep me motivated and driven. I'm going to focus on weight training next week (in addition to keeping up with my regular cardio). I haven't been this amped about my workouts, probably ever. Who am I??!