WEEK 28 – July 4, 2016 – July 10, 2016
When my wife and I were expecting our first child we were introduced to a phenomenon of sorts called nesting. It’s where the expectant parents, and in particular the mother, start preparing for the new bundle of joy to enter their lives. Baby junk gets purchased, walls get a new coat of pink or blue paint, and other things get done for the impending arrival. We have a similar type of nesting in Ironman triathlon called “WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO?” Also known as the “Taper.”
Even though we were so happy to be done with the massive endurance stage of training, especially Week 27 and it’s crazy long weekend, the taper is something everyone welcomes but it drives us crazy. After doing so much training the taper starts drawing you back down in an effort to recover for race day. Sometimes just trying to go from runs that lasted over an hour to runs only 30 minutes long can make you question whether or not you are doing enough.
Truthfully, this week isn’t that big of a taper adjustment. The long Saturday bike was 4 hours long and the long Sunday run was 2 hours of joy (no, not really). The next two weeks is when you really cut back until the day of the race on July 24. But you still get weird things happening in the taper whether you are in the first week or the third. Things like being able to unclip from your bike pedal and falling over. I did that in 2013, my Gunner buddy John did it yesterday. The bike trail rides in March were typically void of bike trail idiots, but boy are there a lot of them out there now. Saturday I was cruising along the path when a goofball pulled onto the trail from a side path without stopping and bothering to look for people that were actually using the trail at the time. I almost t-boned him. There are things you can control, and things that are way out of your control.
Sometimes it’s little things that make you crazy, like the little piece of buckled tape that my hand touches on the handle bar. Every time I touch it I think “what is that I am touching for the 1,000th time?” It’s really an easy fix, but by the time you get back from 6 hours of riding, your mental checklist of things you promised to remember have left the grey matter many miles ago.
But cutting back the mileage is just part of the taper. The nesting part of the taper consists of making sure that you got all the non-training stuff covered – the hotels booked, the equipment you are going to use, the bike check-up that you have been neglecting, the travel plans, the tri suit you are going to wear… Oh yeah, that reminds me – our custom tri suits arrived! And they are sweet!
Since I have been through the taper before, I am blessed to know what to expect and how to handle it. It will still be the same crazy things happening, but I just won’t cry this time.
WEEK 28 TOTALS:
Swims: 4 total, 2:45 hours, 7850 yards
Bikes: 4 total, 7 hours, 123 miles
Runs: 7 total, 6 hours, 42 miles