17 Days

My training for this race has been all over the place.  It took me a few months to get feeling back in my leg from my back injury.  After that, cycling and swimming were going okay.  I was definitely behind previous years, but not too much.  But running was rough...really rough.  I lost a lot of strength in my left leg, the calf especially, which really hurt my running.  I felt like 7 years of training had been erased as I struggled to hit paces I hit back when I started. 

I've made a lot of progress in the past couple of months, but my left leg is still lagging behind my right and I still struggle to do more than 15 calf raises. It's frustrating, but I'm getting there. PT has helped a lot.

And my running is finally coming around.  One of the biggest contributors was throwing away my Pearl Izumi running shoes and buying Hoka Cliftons.  I never thought I'd run in Hokas, but I tried them on at REI out of curiosity and they felt really good...really good.  I haven't had them very long, but so far I'm starting to hit my old paces and I'm not feeling nearly as beat up as I used to.  

The biggest frustration training for Puerto Rico has been the inconsistency.  I'd have a couple of good days and then I'd have several bad days where I would be way off pace and my running would feel lopsided as the strength difference in my legs became more evident. In some cases I was forced into unplanned easy days or rest days, so my training plan got rewritten many times.

I'm nearing the end of my final training block for PR, and this block has gone really well.  Surprisingly well.  I've had some good workouts, a notable one being my brick this past Thursday....17 days out.  Normally, my half ironman bricks are right around goal power/pace, maybe a bit higher power.  I decided to try something a little different this time, and do a harder session.  

I did a really short warm up on the bike and then...
45' @ 270 watts
5' Easy
35' @ 270 watts
5' Easy
25' @ 270 watts

My goal watts for this race will probably be about 235-240 (last year I held 236 average power for Kansas and Muncie, so I'm shooting for the same range).  So I was well above goal power.  The bike workout was 2 hours and had an average power of 258 and normalized power of 264.  I'm due for an FTP test, but I'd say this was about 90% of FTP, maybe a tad higher.      

Strava Link for Bike

Then I hopped on the treadmill and did 6 x 1 mile at 9 mph (6:40 pace) with 30 seconds rest.  My goal is to run sub-90 minutes in a half ironman.  I've come close, but haven't quite hit that number.  A 90 minute half marathon is a 6:52 pace, so this is a bit above that goal.  Since I haven't raced in a long time, and I'm a little unsure of my fitness, and because Puerto Rico is hot and hilly, I'm thinking I might aim for a 7:15 pace (1:35 half) and see how that goes....so this was quite a bit faster than that...but I'm also building toward that sub 1:30 half and working on that pace. 

Strava Link for Run

That was the toughest brick I'll do leading into the race.  I've got some hard work left to do, but no workouts as hard as that one.  My last long tempo ride will be Thursday, 10 days out.  Then it's taper time.