Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tri Wednesday?

Sometimes I just don't realize how things have stacked up.  Individually they don't seem like a bad idea.  Going for a swim...  sounds good!  Maybe a nice easy recovery ride the morning after the TT?  Sure!  And OH!  Theres a 5K trail run tonight...   it would be good to do something short and fast as I haven't been doing much of that.  But this evening just after I finished the trail run it occured to me that I'd done all three disciplines on back to back days with less than two weeks to go to my first tri.  Not exactly smart.  So mental note...   keep the big picture in mind.  That said it was a fairly succesful day.

This morning Nancy and I met up at GVP for a swim.  I was still undecided as to what the day's goals were going to be.  My first instinct was to do two 1/2 mile repeats with a rest in between again.  But I think that thought was coming from a place of fear and I was really annoyed about that mental roadblock yesterday.  So I started with...  lets just swim out to that buoy and figure it out when we get there.  The buoy is about .2 miles form shore.  So we swam out to there.  Once there we treaded water for a second.  Part of me really wanted Nancy to convince me to go for the mile continuos swim.  But Nancy is much smarter than that and she didn't say a word.  So the decision had to come from me.  And the brave part of me that lives somewhere way down inside said screw it!  Lets go for it.  So we started off toward the dock that marks the approximate mid point in a mile long swim at GVP.  Somewhere in the middle of that distance I had an epiphany as I settled into a lovely groove.  The first quarter mile of my swimming sucks.  I feel tired, uncoordinated and like I can't keep going.  I need to understand this, recognize it, and just move through it.  On a race day I need to consider swimming a quarter mile as a warmup and know that it means I'll have a lot better race.  Anyway... the funny thing about all this is that the swim to the dock pretty much follows the shoreline.  So theres no real need to sight much.  You just make sure that your close to the shore everytime you breath to your left.  So most of this took place as I stared down into the abyss.  Its kind of peacefull in those moments.  I'm learning to try and enjoy losing myself in thought as I swim.  It goes by faster that way.  Sort of like when you find that happy zone when running when the miles fly by. 

Soon enough I reached the dock which was the halfway point.  On the way out I'd swam .2 miles and rested while we decided what we were doing, and then rested about a minute at the dock...  maybe 2 minutes.  And on the way back I swam the entire .55 miles without stopping which was awesome.  I really found a good groove.  I ran a clock on the entire swim including the rest stops and I did 1.10 miles in 41 minutes.  Not super speedy, but I'll take it!  Even with the rest breaks that works out to 2:07/100 yards.  Not bad at all.  I was just generally really excited that I finally did it.  I was psyched!  Another mental roadblock conquered!  And another milestone on the long path towards finishing an Ironman.

So after the swim we thought it would be a good idea to do about a two hour recovery ride.  Something at a really easy pace to loosen the legs up after the TT last night.  This particular ride ended up being one of those workouts you'd rather forget ever happened.  It was just one thing after another....

-we were both really tired.  We had both ridden the TT good and hard and then ran five miles, and then had dinner and didn't get home till somewhere between 10 and 11.  And both of us had run around doing things once we had gotten to our respective homes that kept us up till around midnight.  And then up at 6ish to get ready to swim.  So sleep was in short supply.  So after the swim I think we were both a little tired and I know I personally was on the edge of being tired and grumpy.  I also hadn't had any coffee yet.  Sometimes  a dangerous combo.

-so the first bad thing to happen was that while innocently riding down a nice road I was attacked by a rock whale!  The thing just jumped out at me!  It was horrible.  But I was somehow able to recover and keep going.  Here is a picture of the attack in progress.

-so to this point we've ridden all of about 11 nice and easy miles.  Just some spinning and no real hard efforts.  Just trying to loosen the legs up.  We went down a road and then PSSSTTTTTTT!!!   Really loud.  Damn!  I flatted.  I looked at the tire closely and there was a lovely 1/2 inch slice in it.  Grrrrr....  not good!  So I replaced the tube and reinflated it with a CO2 cannister.  The innertube was now bulging out of the slice in the tire.  If I were to have ridden on it I would have flatted instantly.  So now I had to let the air out of the tube and remove the tire again.  Nancy suggested I try using some fix a flat sticky patches to patch the inside of the tire and see if that would stop the tube from coming out.  Brilliant!  So I did that and the tube bulged a little bit but it looked like it might hold.  So we rode off and hoped for the best.

-then I realized my rear brakes weren't really working.  So I stopped.  Ooops...  I forgot to close them after spreading them to allow me to remove the rear tire.  Grrrr....   that was dumb.  But now they are rubbing against the tire!  What the hec!  So I messed with that for a bit.  (Here is where I had one of those maybe humans aren't that bad after all moments.  A gentleman across the street in his garage saw me working on my bike and very kindly asked if I needed any tools or any help.  Nice guy!  Maybe people aren't so bad after all!)  So I mucked about with that for a bit and managed to fix it.  Now I was in a foul mood.  I was tired, grumpy, thought my tire might go flat at any moment and I just wasn't having a good ride.

-so then we start doing some descending.  I kept tapping my breaks.  I just didn't want the tire to go flat at high speed.  Which meant I wasn't keeping up with Nancy.  Which is my own fault.  But I was getting annoyed unjustifiably.  And then we started to climb a little bit and my legs exploded.  I just didn't have it in me.  So I was starting to drop back which pissed me off.  And for the record I was pissed at myself for not being able to keep up.  We weren't exactly riding hard, and we hadn't even ridden that far at all.  My legs just ran out of gas.  So I suffered through it and managed to catch back up....  but now I was really grumpy.  I just tried to focus my energy on internalizing my grumpiness and trying to keep it to myself.

Not much longer after that we reached the car and the end of our ride.  We were both pretty quiet at that point.  I don't think either of us had that great a ride today.  I actually sent an email to apologize later in the day for my mood.  I felt bad I was being so silly.  I mean really...   in the grand scheme I was just a little tired and I had some mechanical issues.  No big deal.  but mix that in with feeling tired and I turned into a grump-o-saurus.  Ugh.

So then I spent some time at home theoretically working.  I didn't get much work done.  Mostly I just felt tired and stared at the computer.  And before I knew it was time to run off to the 5K trail run in Colt State Park.  I have to say I was in no mood to do this race this afternoon.  I felt really tired still and very much beat up.  But I'd paid to do it so I was going to go.  I just hoped I'd feel better once I got there.  My logic behind entering the race was that I wanted to run some short and fast stuff as I really haven't done much of that lately, and with three sprint tris coming up soon I had better do some 5K stuff.

Its no secret that anytime you pin a race number to your chest you find energy you didn't know you had.  So once I got my number and pinned it on I went for a short warm up run with some quick sprint intervals in it to get the legs moving.  It didn't feel very good.  Hmmm....   oh well I'll find the energy when the gun goes off.

When I registered for this race I thought it was a road race.  But when I got the thing it said trail run on it.  Which it probably said on the registration...  I just wasn't paying attention.  All I knew of the course was that it was a 2 loop course (seriously?  its a 5K people... theres no need for a 2 loop 5K in a park with miles of roads in it!)  and that it went through the woods.  hmmm...  this could be interesting.... but whatever!

I decided I should start fairly close to the front.  So I was amongst the first 20 people the enter the course.  The start got a little funky as the trails are somewhat narrow so passing was very difficult.  So initially I got a little bogged down behind some slower guys and was fighting for position.  Once again I should have started further up.  Oh well.  The trail through the woods was very very technical.  Lots of rocks and tree roots.  I have done very little trail running so this course was really challenging.  It also turned 90 and 180 degrees a LOT!  So you were constantly taking these sharp turns and dodging rocks, roots, trees, you name it!  It made for an interesting run and finding the right moments to pass people were tricky.  It was also fairly up and down so there were some rooty hills to run up and down that were quite challenging as well.  I just did my best and went all out.  Although in my mind all I could think was "slowdown dumbass!  you're going to twist and ankle and blow your whole tri season you've worked so hard for!".  Of course telling me to slow down in race is like telling a snail to speed up.  Its not gonna happen.  So I went for it.  Multiple loop runs mess with your head.  Your happy when you complete the first loop but your miserable when you start the second.  I'd rather see stuff I haven't seen before.  I don't mind out and backs...  but I don't like multiple loops.  Anyway...   I was starting to struggle on loop 2.  Although after checking my watch I actually managed to hold a pretty damn even pace for the whole thing.  It just felt harder on lap 2.  I passed some more people along the way and kept telling myself there was only a mile to go.  keep fighting!  I felt really beat at this point though.

As we turned towards the last hill before the descent into the finishing chute there was another runner right next to me.  He started to kick to try and pass me but I was having none of that!  So I kicked too and stayed even with him.  When we hit the hill he showed just the slightest sign of struggle so I swung my arms as hard as I could and fought my way up the hill just in time to line up with the best line for the descent into the finishing chute directly in front of him.  That was fun!  And then two seconds later I was in the chute and it was all over. 

My time is going to be somewhere around 21:00 even.  I haven't seen the official results online yet.  Although I was able to look at the printout after the race.  I THINK (I should really double check it) that I JUST missed getting an age group award.  They gave out 1st and 2nd to the 30-39 year olds and I beleive I was third in that group.  I came in 21st out of about 200 racers.  So thats pretty much top ten percent!  I'll take it!  especially considering how tired I felt, how much training I've done in the last week and how intense yesterday's workouts were.  I'm really pleased with that result.  I feel very confident that on a couple of days rest with a proper taper that I can easily go sub 20 minutes on a road race 5K.  I can't wait to try that.

So all in all a good day!  Next up for tomorrow is going to be NOTHING as far as training goes.  I just did two back to back days of all three disciplines which was dumb.  So I need to compensate for that somehow.  And I have a rule that says no three days in a row of anything.  So that means I can't swim, bike, or run tomorrow.  So its going to be a day off.  If I really get the itch to do something I may do some yoga or go for a walk, or call my ex and steal the dog for the afternoon.  We'll see, but no tri training till friday when I'm back in the water.  I also need to rest up as my race is less than two weeks away and this weekend will contain a 13 mile relaxed pace run to keep my long run tuned up and in order as well as an epic 82 mile ride on Sunday I'm really looking forward to as I also am trying to get into the habit of very long rides every weekend.  Great couple of days....    and I'm feeling stronger every day.  I'm so going to kick my first triathlons ass!

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