Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Unexpectedly Big Day!

Wow....  big day of training today!  But a great day!  I should be cleaning and packing my bike up to get ready for my trip, but I did want to get a quick update on today in....

I met up with Nancy and Cass from my Tri-NE club this morning for an open water swim at a new pond.  One apparently with much better water quality than Lincoln woods.  We started out heading to a buoy thats about .2 miles from the beach.  I felt pretty comfortable in the water today which was great.  My bilaterall breathing was AWESOME!  All that work to get it imprinted was so worth it.  It feels really natural now.  I still can't manage a quarter mile without flipping on my back and resting here and there but I did manage it all the same.  At the buoy we split up so that they could do a mile long swim whereas I didn't want to get that far from shore just yet.  So I headed back to the beach.  I rested a bit on the beach and then went for it again.  So I did one more out and back and got back to shore just as Nancy and Cass were returning from their one mile + long swim.  So in total I swam about .8 miles today.  On my exit from the water I rehearsed rushing out of the water and stripping my wetsuit off.  At least that was the plan, but I couldn't get one arm off.  Which is when I realized I had put my watch on OVER the wetsuit.  Ooops.  I need to remember to take it off, swim out again, and THEN rehearse getting out of the wetsuit.  But it was a good swim.  The open water doesn't seem to be panicing me at all which is great.  I need to keep at it and reduce the amount of breaks I'm taking, but at this point I'm confident that I'll get through the half mile swim in August even if it takes me a while.

After the swim I was sitting in front of my computer catching up on emails and enjoying my coffee when I got an email from Nancy asking if I was interested in riding out to the TT course, running the course, and then coming back.  Hmmm.....     pack my bike for my trip, or head out for a ride.  Head out for a ride of course!  In my head I was thinking it would be around 30+ miles but I didn't really think about it.  I just got ready and headed out the door.

We had agreed to meet at Providence Bicycle and on the way over I started to question my sanity.  Was it really a good idea to do a long ride today after going so hard on the TT course last night?  My legs felt REALLY sore.  But too late now!  So I kept going and just hoped they would loosen up a bit in time.

We headed out from PB and started working our way towards the TT course.  There are definitely faster way to get to the course from PB but they involve using roads that are high traffic, and not very well suited for bikes.  So we went the long way.  And by long I mean the 25 mile long way!  But we had a great ride in great weather on some really nice roads.  I started to do the math at this point...   25 miles to the TT course, plus 14 miles of the TT course itself, plus getting home = very long ride.  Very long ride that I didn't really plan for in my training week.  But whats the fun in sticking to the plan?  And riding with good company is always worth it!  Plus staying home and packing and being all organized and responsible is thoroughly over rated!

So we headed out on the TT course.  Within the first mile I was starting to wonder what the hell I was thinking.  I just did this course last night.  And I went HARD at it!  My legs just weren't there today.  I was doing ok but I could tell right out of the gate that I should shift my focus.  So I rode the course at a pretty hard effort, but I was carefull not to risk injury or doing anything stupid by going stupid hard at it.  Especially as I knew I had a 20 some mile ride back home still!  As I reached the hills on the back side of the course it started to rain.  And the temperature started to drop.  It got to the point where I was so cold that I was dreading the fast moving air of the descents!  But I managed to suck it up and suffer through it.  Looking at my speeds along the course I knew I was slower than yesterday, but I still did quite well.  Considering yesterday's ride and the 25 mile warmup I was doing just fine.  I lost Nancy pretty early in the ride but I still managed to finish not that long after her.  Either that or she was being kind when she said she wasn't waiting long!  Which is certainly possible! 

So now we've ridden something like 36 miles at this point.  We both sort of planned enough food/liquid wise for a 30-40 mile ride.  But we had eaten most if not all of our food and were close to running out of liquids.  It was still raining, and we were freezing!  So we stared at a map for a bit and tried to find a shorter route back.  We sort of figured one out and then headed back.  It was cold...  and a little miserable, and I think we were both a little whiney at this point!  But we kept going.  Actually we kept going at a pretty good clip.  I was starting to run out of gas and those last 20 miles or so I had several moments of struggling to hold onto Nancy's wheel.  We decided we needed a store so we could restock on supplies so we stopped at this farmers market kind of place.  It was kind of scary.  At most there were only about three of any item, and none of them looked appetizing.  So we walked out of there cold, wet, hungry, and dejected and got back on the bikes.  Fortunately though within 5-10 minutes of that we stumbled upon a mini mart!  Yay!  Restocked on food and fluids we were much happier and on our way again.

The brief spike in happiness however was soon squashed by much heavier rain, some long freezing cold descents, and the realization that we still had quite a ways to go.  As we got closer to Providence the traffic volume started to go up.  Which combined with the rain made for some dicey conditions at times.  At one point I thought I was going to watch this old guy drive right into Nancy as he came flying down a side road to merge into our road without stopping initially.  He managed to skid to a stop and I was really relieved.  It happened so fast I didn't even have time to yell out a warning.  He would of sideswiped Nancy and I would have barrelled right into the side of his car.  It would have been ugly.  Actually that whole area was really ugly traffic wise.  Some narrow spots, bad unattentive drivers and lots of cars made it no fun at all.  Other highlights included watching the exchange at a red light between an old lady who thought we were in her way and Nancy who was mimicing her crazy arm waving.  Funny stuff!

As we realized we were much closer to my house we headed that way instead of going back to our original starting point.  I was so happy when I realized we were only a couple of miles away from home and warmth!  It started to rain even harder at this point and I was freezing!  So when we got to my house we threw Nancy's bike in the car and I drove her home to spare us both having to ride much further to the mid point between our houses.  If you asked me at that point what my favorite thing in the whole world was I would probably have said the heat coming out of the car's vents!  Yep.  that cold.  We just weren't prepared for cold rain.  Speaking of which... the weather forecast said a 10% chance of showers.  So yeah...   no preaching we should have checked the weather!

Anyway...  it was a great ride and a great day in the end.  In fact this has been a great week of training so far and its only going to get better.  My mind was wandering a bit today on the ride home and I was thinking how gratefull I am to have met all these great people and training partners through my Tri Club.  Its so much nicer than training alone, it pushes me harder, and its tons of fun too!

Actually speaking of the club.  A few different members have commented to me about how quickly my speed on the bike is coming along, and how fast I'm picking up on all things tri-related and how strong I look when hard at it, and that I'm going to make a great triathlete.  I can't say enough how good that stuff makes me feel.  I really do love being surrounded by such a supportive group of athletes.  Its really great to be around people that get it, people that don't question my eating habits, my lean-ness, my dedication to long hours of training.  I've stumbled into a fantastic group of people and for that I'm very glad!

Right...   time for me to go and clean the bike and relube the chain before I pack it up in the box and put it at the mercy of the baggage handlers.  Shudder!

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