Sunday, March 27, 2011

Endurance To The Extreme

Ironman training is in full swing, as evidenced by the fact that I pretty much have been living in my compression socks and my laundry is dominated by cycling and running gear and my dishwasher is always full of water bottles. Oh, and I'm tired a lot. And HOT. My body feels like it is just radiating heat much of the time. Yes, my friends, the furnace is burning.

What's interesting to me is how I can feel so tired much of the time but yet when it's time to go do a key workout, I can nail it. Man, I love that.

Yesterday I was once again allowed off the leash for my long brick... seems to be the case more often than not lately. I started my long ride with a group of fast riders, did the middle part alone, then finished up with two friends. Interestingly, I found out I have a new max HR on the bike- hit that while chasing a couple of guys in the first 90 minutes of the ride- then continued on at a rather solid effort/pace for 3+ more hours in 25+ mph sustained winds (and rain- ugh- will it ever stop raining this year?). Then I got home and ran. Solidly. I tell you this just to set the scene so you know how thrashed I should have been.

And honestly, I was thrashed. I spent some time on the couch yesterday for sure, but then a couple hours later I felt oddly fine. Though I will admit, the run on my schedule today was daunting and I was not sure I could do it. Ok, let me be totally honest, there was not a single part of me that felt like running today. But I know from past experience that I don't always have to be feeling like a spring chicken in order to have a decent long run, so I put my big girl pants compression sleeves on, turned my brain OFF, and went out and ran. And I negative split the hell out of that 20 mile run.

It's kind of freaky, really, that I was able to do that today. I think it's important, when things are going well, to sit down and figure out why. That way we can repeat these things, you know? I think I do a lot of things right when it comes to recovery- I consistently eat well and at the right times, I stay hydrated, I make sure I go to bed early enough to get a decent night's sleep, I utilize my compression gear, and this year I've found a couple of supplements that I strongly believe are making a significant difference. The first, of course, you all know about b/c I've mentioned it here plenty of times... Recovery e21 is the bomb. The difference in how I feel in workouts from when I take it to when I don't take it is black and white to me. It works immediately which is what makes it so obvious. You know, after that run today, my legs should feel quite achy and sore and pounded because I am not at all adapted to that kind of run mileage. But I do not feel pounded at all. Weird. But I'm guessing the 20 tabs of e21 I took this weekend before/during/after my workouts had a direct effect on that. ;)

The new one I've added to my arsenal is Extreme Endurance. Andrew sent me a bottle to try a couple of weeks ago and I've been taking it regularly. This one you have to take for like a week or so before you start noticing differences, so I was a bit more skeptical of it. But hey, any product called Extreme Endurance is going to be instantly interesting to an Ironman athlete, so what the heck. The bottle says it's certified drug-free, so I started popping the pills. I didn't do any quantifiable tests with power meters or anything to prove that this product is working for me. And I don't even really know how it works. All I know is that I've been taking it and I feel awesome. I'm nailing workouts that I didn't think I could. Repeatedly. That's enough for me. Andrew is sending me more and you can bet I'll keep taking this stuff.

I do not think that supplements make you a better athlete. I think the right training makes you a better athlete. You could take these supplements every day but if you don't put the training in, it will not make a bit of a difference. That said, the more quality training your body can handle and absorb, the faster you will get. So the name if the game is to employ all the tricks you can to speed your recovery (whole food, sleep, compression, etc). And if there is a legal supplement out there that expands the work I can do while staying within my recovery limits, then bring it on! I'm psyched to have found a couple that seem to be working for me.


The Chapples said...

It's fun to live vicariously, Michelle! You're rocking things as usual. Having fond memories of IMCDA training 4 years ago. Ahhhh!

Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

You are a bad a@@ :-) Just saying!

Molly said...

Great job!! And yes you are definitely a badass!

Teresa said...

You are doing awesome Michelle and hanging in there even when your tired....what a champ!


Kim said...

Awesome workouts! Wow.. I'm going to have to look into some of this stuff. Very interesting to say the least! Glad you're doing well!! Keep it up chica!!

rr said...

Are you reading my mind? Or maybe my blog? Maybe I need to try the e21. My recovery is non-existant and I've never struggled with this before. Nor have I ever supplemented. Best to order through the web?

I love the feeling of that place you're in right now - I miss it! Keep on killing it :)

chris mcpeake said...

great workouts. Keep it up

Kiet said...

Second and last paragraph is SPOT ON! I could have written this same post on my blog, we are in the same state of mind right now.