Final goal = return to Ironman Canada!!! A few races lined up before hand, but the kicker (and must have to commit to another August race) was renting a home for the summer up in Flagstaff. 3 partners in crime (Shane, gf Karen & I) are lucky enough to be working from home (for now!!!) and pretty much all we needed was a wifi connection and we were good to go. I put my research skills to work in December and came across what turns out to be the PERFECT rental for the summer. It's pricey, but we have plenty of room for guests and were pleasantly surprised at the location of the house. We are 1.5 miles from the infamous training haven of Lake Mary road, about the same distance to downtown restaurants and bars, endless running trails at our doorstep and it's shockingly gorgeous and quiet all at the same time. The best part about all of this is we are only 2 hours from home so it makes it easy for us to return for necessities, work meetings, etc.
While training for Canada in 2010, I spent several weekends up in Flagstaff training with friends over the weekends. It just doesn't get any better than endless bike friendly roads and 85 degree highs in July and August. Ok, really anything is better than the 90deg lows and 115 deg highs in Scottsdale. I remember my first ride up north; my HR was high, but the elevation really didn't affect me all that negatively, other than having trouble sleeping.
Little did I know it was all a HOAX! We arrived up north last week on a Thursday afternoon. Enjoyed some champagne to celebrate our first night in the beautiful pines and then off to bed. No sleep (as expected), and we were up and out for a run. I have to say it wasn't all that bad. My HR was high, but I didn't feel as bad as expected - unfortunately for Shane, he was a mess! Hyperventilating, gasping for air and seeing stars……
Our second workout for the day was a 3500m swim at NAU. The course was set up 50m long course and we had a workout with sets of 100 on descending intervals. BSC coach gave us a few extra seconds to make up for the altitude, but it just wasn't enough. I couldn't do anything but laugh and push off the wall hoping for the best. Flagstaff stole my speed!!! My 100meters were :10-12 seconds slower than what I swim at home in a 26.2 meter pool.
#blame it on the elevation
For our first Saturday "long" ride we headed out to an area called Sunset Crater. Our plan was to do the 50mile loop, then add on some extra miles to get up to 4hours. The ride was GORGEOUS. Fast start, ending with some great rollers and then climbs.
Unfortunately, my (and Shane's) body was really having a hard time with the elevation and I found myself flat from the get go. I tried to stay with the group, but just kept falling back. At about 90 minutes I was dizzy, sleepy and sick to my stomach. It didn't help that I forgot my watch so I had no measurement of my HR or any idea how long we'd been riding. My breathing felt fine, my legs felt fine, but I just wanted to pull over and sleep on the side of the highway. With no way out other than climb the hills past the lava fields, we just kept **very** slowly plugging away. Shane & I stopped after the 50mile loop (3700ft of climbing!) and couldn't have been more happy to get home and rest…
Sunday things were looking up a bit and we headed out for a ride with some big gear intervals and threshold sprints. While the ride felt a bit better and pace was certainly more appropriate, I still had the dizzy/sleeping feeling at about 90minutes.
As the week went on, things continued to improve (THANK GOD). I had a gorgeous day of riding hill repeats on Tuesday and with views like that below, how could I not feel blessed for being in such a gorgeous place??
By Friday's session at the pool I was feeling much better about things. My sleep is still horrible and I'm definitely feeling the fatigue, but my 100 times are almost back to normal. My HR has dropped and my breathing less labored. No more dizzy feeling on the bike, but the long run is yet to be determined. The dogs are in absolute heaven with open trails and woods in our backyard they are getting lots of exercise and loving having extra people around to bug all day long :) It's a hard life being a LaPan dog...
Today was our first true long ride. The wind was whipping but we all rode strong. Shane & I got in 90+ miles in just under 5hours with no nausea (minus the sugar overload) or dizziness. My HR was slightly elevated, but I'm pretty sure that was due to lack of sleep and extra hits off of my inhaler (wind = tight lungs). Legs felt strong and happy for overall a great day of training!
Tomorrow is our first real long run and I'm hoping for the best. The run seems to be coming along the slowest, but we'll just see what the body can handle.
Elevation training is going to be interesting to say the least, but I can't wait to see how my body adapts and what kind, if any benefits I take away from it!