Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fresh Legs = Good

What a great day!  In fact what a great weekend of training!  This morning I met up with Dave and Luis again at the start of the PB Time Trial Course.  My goal for the day was to do two laps of the course followed by a 5 mile brick run on the second lap. 

Lap 1....    I set off on the bike and immediately felt the difference in my legs.  Initially my goal was to do the frist lap at a somewhat relaxed pace and then go really hard on lap 2.  But I was so psyched to feel like I had energy in my legs that I sort of went out a little hard on the first lap.  I behaved for the first few miles but when I looked down at my average speed and saw 18.3 heading into the dam section of the course at the halfway point I new I was right in line with my current PR on the course.  So I went for it a little bit.  The hills on the backside felt hard but good.  My legs felt so much better than last time when I did the TT after two long days of riding.  I haven't been on the bike since the time trial on purpose.  I wanted to give my legs time to heal up (my calves were insanely sore for a few days after the TT) and I focused on swimming for a few days mostly.  So...   coming out of the two hills my average speed was in the high 17's.  I needed it to be at 18.3 to set a new PR.  The only things I look at on the bike when riding the course are speed, and average speed.  I'm learning what the average speed should be on various parts of the course.  I knew if it was in the high 17's after the two big hills that I had a shot of matching my PR.  So I kicked it up a notch and really hammered my way through the last few miles to the finish.  I was feeling great.  Even after the hill when I reached back for a little more my legs answered with gusto instead of protesting like the last time at the TT when I was a mess.  I crossed the finish line at 46:35!  A new PR!  My previous best time was 47:03.  So I was psyched.  And that was only lap one and I knew there were spots I'd held back a little in the first few miles. 

Initially my plan was to do two laps back to back with no rest... but the social part of me interceeded a bit so I stopped to talk to Dave who had finished ahead of me as he's a stronger rider than I am, and I also waited for Luis who had already put in a two hour ride before he started the TT so was understandably a bit behind me.  So I rested for a total of about five minutes.  Said goodbye to Luis and Dave as they had to go and set off on lap 2.

Lap 2....    ok this is it!  Time to put the hammer down!  During the hills in the first five miles I briefly questioned the strength in my legs.  Some of those uphills felt a little harder than the first time around and I was starting to wonder how the two big hills were going to feel.  But I pushed that out of my mind and just kept pedalling, paying attention to gearing and doing my best.  As I came to the first turn at the blinking light I see that theres a cop directly across from me.  Damn!!!  I figured blowing through the turn without stopping was tempting fate... so I mostly stopped and then rolled through the turn.  That definitely cost me a few seconds.  5?  Just before the damn I looked at my average speed again.  It was at 19mph which is a whole .7mph faster than it was on the previous lap!  So I felt tired but my legs were doing great.  So I pushed onward.  I was really strong up the first hill and then going into the descent leading to the big hill.  Up the big hill I could have done a tiny bit better I think initially, but I was really strong on the second half of it.  I managed to stay seated for the whole second half of that hill and had a nice high cadence going in the granny gear and a speed of something like 10-12 mph.  Which I was very pleased with.  As I crested that hill I looked at my average speed.  18mph!  A whole mph faster than the last lap.  Time to really hammer away and see what we can do in the last three miles or so.  I was starting to feel tired but I just pushed as hard as I could.  I had a few awkward shift that cost me a bit but I was doing well.  Right at the stop sign...  a mile to go!  I wish that last mile wasn't on such a crappy road.  Its hard to feel exhausted and want to hammer away at the pedal and stand on them when theres potholes everywhere that will swallow your whole tire.  Rushed through the finish...   36:14!!!  Another new PR and more importantly a negative split!  Perfect!  And if that cop hadn't been there I think that could have been even a tiny bit faster.  So it was a great ride.  I think I fell apart a little in the last three miles based on how my average speed slowed a bit but I'm still thrilled.  I shaved almost a minut (48 seconds) off my PR.  Definitely can't complain about that!

So...  blew through the finish line...  drop the granny gear... pull a u turn and pull up to the car.  Open the hatch, stuff the bike in it, off with the bike shoes, on with the sneakers, grab my water bottle with a gel in the pocket and off we go.  DOH!!!...   turn back, run the few steps back to the car, open the hatch, TAKE YOUR HELMET OFF DUMBASS!, lock the car and off we go on the run.  I really need to work on remembering to take my helmet off or I'm going to be the dork in my first tri wearing a helmet through the entire run.  I'll have to tell everyone I run so fast the helmet makes me more aero or something.  Anyway... off we go on the run.  I decided I wanted to do 5 miles today.  I don't like short runs.  Anything less than 5 seems counterproductive to me.  At least thats how I felt when all I did was run.  As a triathlete I'm starting to question that thought.  Man... the run course out there is TOUGH.  Its an interesting enough battle getting used to running on tired legs off the bike and going through that first mile where your legs go from feeling like jelly to feeling like they are supposed to.  But when that first mile is also up a giant steep hill it kind of sucks!  And its not the hill at all, I don't mind hills... its that the hill strikes right when you don't quite have your legs under you yet.  So I battled my way up it looking at my watch and sneering when it said I was only managing a ten minute per mile pace.  Yuck.  I should be doing low 9's on a hill like this but I just can't when my legs are all wobbly.  So I shuffle my way up the hill.  Around mile 1.5 it leves off finally and I can start to get my usual cadence going again.  I settled into my groove and let my mind wander and before you know it I had reached the 2.5 mile turnaround point.  And then back we go to the 1.5 mile mark and were off again downhill the rest of the way in.  Its kind of a long downhill.  I don't like to run long downhills.  Actually I don't mind them in races, but I don't like to train on them.  I prefer shorter downhills to train on as I feel like theres a higher risk of injury training on them.  I'd rather do short downhill repeats to tweak my technique and not do them for any length of time until its race day.  But I still plowed through it and kept my speed up to counter the slow miles going uphill.  In the end I averaged 8'15s for the run which is great considering how slow I did going up that hill. 

Definitely a great day!  I'm really pleased with this weekend's training and how everything is feeling, how my body is reacting, and how I did in my first open water swim yesterday.  If I can get my swimming distance extended I'm going to do really well in my first season of tris.

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