I like to think of myself as a fairly durable athlete... Over the years I've taught myself to be consistent in training and have managed to back up 20+ hour training weeks week after week (after week after week after week this year!) without much trouble. I think I thrive on volume and have surprised myself at how even when I think I'm tired I can still manage to rip off a decent training session if I try.
That said, Ironman kicks my ass.
Earlier in the week I actually felt pretty good and sent a note to coach saying that my head was in a good place and my swim times were right on best ever, which indicated to me that maybe the race didn't take as much out of me as an Ironman normally might. Which he interpreted to mean resume training as normal... which I thought I wanted to do... until tried to do it! 5 days later I'm raising the white flag! Yikes.Not.Recovered.Can't.Train.Normally.Yet. (Actually, what I wrote to one of my athletes describing how I felt it included a lot more F!*#^!!&% language I probably shouldn't use on a family blog... Hi Mom!)
I'm always amazed by athletes who can back up Ironmans, racing several in a row only a few weeks apart... or athletes who try to race a 70.3 two weeks post ironman. I've seen some who are able to pull that off brilliantly (Meredith Kessler comes to mind, though even she struggled at Melbourne last weekend) so it's clearly not impossible but I think most athletes really struggle with this, and for most, the reality of the fatigue comes back to bite you in the ass when you try to drill it again before you're really ready.
I was out riding this morning- just following my plan- which said to move it along in the back half if I felt good. Cliff notes version: I did not feel good. Not from the first pedal stroke and it never came around. My power meter just confirms what I feel but I was missing a good 20W off normal (30W off a strong day) and there was nothing in my head that thought it was a good idea to just try harder. Trying harder in this case = digging into a deeper hole. It did not help that the wind was stiff- and blowing into my face both ways?? Just when I was contemplating calling for a ride home (WHAT?? WHO AM I???) it started dumping rain... lovely. I interpreted that as the universe trying to tell me to stop being a dumbass. I did manage to pedal my way home under my own power but I bailed on the planned brick run without even blinking, and after a shower to wash off all the mud, I fell asleep on the couch.