AM) 18 miles in 2:01. HR average 143 with a max HR of 152 (I walked to get it back down). It was hot, I drank 2 swallows of Gatorade every mile. Plus 2 liters of water before starting. Legs feel almost zero fatigue. I do have pain in my lateral collateral ligament (LCL). If it stays around then I'll be resting a bit. The LCL connects the femur to the fibula and stabilizes the lateral knee through it's full arc of forward motion. This is (hopefully) just a little inflammation from overuse- Ben and I hit a gazillion golf balls yesterday which I'm sure is contributing. (and getting old;)). The prudent plan of action now is for me to be smart and not let it develop in to a full blown injury and risk future training. Always skip one or two workouts to save many.
If you're interested in gaining insight on one of the greatest endurance athletes ever- the above book will certainly make you think twice about true discipline and hard work. I'm about half way through it right now and I have already learned a ton and have gained much motivation. There's quite a bit of detail in regard to the mental side of Lance's racing and training.. which to me is the most important- and at the same time- the most under trained aspect of most athletes. I knew the guy was a bad-ass but reading some of the finer details about his training shows me that his preparation for the Tour was ten times more diligent than his next competitor. You also start to get a sense (one that I have always had anyway) that Lance didn't NEED to dope to win the Tour. His preparation was meticulous, far and away better than the next competitor- from weighing his food (while Ullrich was getting fat) to pushing his sponsors like Nike and Giro to spend 10's of thousands of dollars to decrease his aerodynamic drag (if even by just 1 gram) to paying his team mates out of his own pocket to keep them motivated and give them incentive to give 100% for the singular purpose of putting Lance in yellow, then keeping him there.
One item of particular interest to me is Lance's unwaivering focus on the task at hand. It's said that even in the most mundane, flat stages of the Tour, Lance would be focused completely on the race while other riders were chatting. Kerrie Wlad competed at IM CDA recently and told me that she was "day dreaming" mid-way through the run and soon realized that she wasn't running as hard as she should have been. The ability to hold focus on the task at hand is not limited to hour X of a race but it encompasses the training periods and the years leading up to you doing your best. If you want to qualify for Kona and you are a couple hours short- you may need to hold focus for a couple of YEARS. If you want to lose weight you need to focus on the task at hand- every time you walk through the grocery store or go to the movies. Lance is certainly "talented" (a term that I believe has little relevance for 99.9% of us- world record holders excluded) but with out this complete focus and fierce drive to do his best he would not be able to exploit this talent (ala Ullrich). If you aren't a gifted athlete then you can still go very far in sport simply by exploiting 100% of the talent that you do have. Dave Scott and Gordo Byrn come to mind on this subject.. if you've ever seen these guys run you would agree (as I am sure they would too) that they are not "gifted" runners. They have below average economy. But if you ever run with these guys (at one my fittest points last year Gordo dropped me easily on a long run) you see that they are incredibly strong. Both of these guys have worked their butts off to exploit the limits of their talent.
I think you'll find that performance output of even a moderately talented athlete- if they have exploited their true limit- is far above the average!