Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Taper Tuesday

So today is usually what I call Tri-Tuesday (as its the only day I train in all three disciplines) as I typically swim in the morning and then do a bike/run brick in the afternoon which is often the Providence Bicycle Time Trial with a 3-5 mile run afterwards.  But since my first triathlon is this Sunday I'm now officially in the taper.  Tapering is a funny thing.  In the marathon world by this time in the training cycle I'm going absolutely bonkers.  The mileage drop in the last week is so pronounced that your literally bouncing off the walls dying to run.  Your short 3 mile "easy pace" runs end up at 6'40/mile when your trying to go slow because your too damn excited.  This is my first time tapering for a triathlon so I've been reading up on what the hec I should and shouldn't be doing this week.  And as always I listened to some of the advice, ignored some of the advice, and then made up my own plan which is thus:

Taper the run and the bike, don't taper your swimming.

So here's my plan for the week.

Tuesday - Swim in the AM, easy three mile run in PM
Wednesday - Short (14 mile) bike in the AM with 3xHigh Intensity short intervals, Swim in the PM and then drill through transitions at least three times.
Thursday - OFF.  Completely OFF!  No cheating! In fact I'm going to the beach with a friend of mine to lay around and do NOTHING.
Friday - I have an open water swim clinic in Mass where we will practice group swimming, mass starts, drafting, and other skills that should hopefully reduce my nerves about the start by 1-2%  : )
Saturday - Drive up to Lowell, pick up my packet,  do a very very brief swim into the current to guage its strength and hopefully alleviate some fears, do an insanely easy spin through the bike course at a super leisurely pace (13 miles) and then do a very brief uber relaxed run (maybe a mile) to loosen up the legs and then relax, pack up my transition bag and attempt sleep.  Saturday is more about making sure I have everything with me that I'll need and that its all working than really getting a workout in.
Sunday - Race day!  My race plan is to go big or go home.  I don't plan on going home.  : )  Seriously though my race day plan is to relax as much as possible through the swim, and then hammer the bike and run as best as I can.  With any luck I'll then rush back to Providence afterwards and try and watch some of the end of the HIM with something I really shouldn't be eating in my hand.  Prefferably something really evil like a donut.  I need to check out the route but if it goes by starbucks on the east side again thats where I plan on planting myself.  Either there or near the finish line.

So thats the plan for the week.  All easy efforts with the occasional high intensity interval to get the cobwebs out and thats it.


This morning I went for a swim at GVP.  I met Luis there at 6am.  I am so not back in my early morning training routine.  It definitely hurt getting up at 5am.  I stumbled my way over there for 6am and as I was standing there in my wetsuit looking at the water I just was not in the mood.  Luis and I headed out with two other women that were there at the same time.  We made our way out to the close buoy and then onto the dock as usual, and then made an attempt at a straight line back to the beach.  Sighting your way back to the beach there is tricky if you try and do a straight line across the pond.  Theres this little island that gets in the way once your halfway there and where the sun is at 6am makes it hard to see the beach till your pretty close to it.  At least with just a glance while sighting its damn hard to find the beach.  I need to put a flourescent towel on the wall of the beach or something to make it stand out one of these days.  Luis and I made good progress at a nice matched pace today ending up at the dock and the beach at the same time.  I think we were both a little sore and tired.  Our pace was not fast.  I spent the whole way back to the beach with stomach issues.  I felt pretty yucky but I managed to suffer through it.  Pretty sure its just my body paying me back for eating a whole box of cliff bars the other night.  Serves me right I suppose.  It was not pleasant.  This was the second time I've done that swim in my sleeveless wetsuit.  I definitely prefer that one to my sleeved one.  My sleeved suit does a good job of not restricing my arm movements, but you can't compare that to wearing a sleeveless suit that leaves your shoulders completely open while still giving your legs lots of buoyancy.  I'll bring both to the sprint and decide which to use based on water temp.  When I exited the water today I ran out and stripped off the wetsuit quickly and cleanly.  I'm getting pretty good at that which is nice. 

After some time at my desk doing some work for a client of mine I went off to the store to stock up on a few supplies for the transition practice (chalk and a couple of cheapie cones to mark a mount/dismount line) and then headed off to Barrington to get an easy run along the course of the Barrington Sprint I have coming up and also to check out the beach parking lot and make sure we can do transition practice there.

Speaking of work....     my job has me travelling all over the place.  Which is just a reality of what I do for a living.  But there are a few perks to it.  One of them is that I rack up frequent flyer and hotel points in a hurry.  I was thinking about the fact that my first triathlon is about a 90 minute drive from my house.  And I know I want to get there super early to get setup in transition and have a very long warmup.  I hate rushing around and if I don't have time to relax once I'm all setup I'll be a mess at the start.  I'm the same way for marathons.  Traditionally I'm at the start line at least two hours before the gun goes off working on getting my heart rate down and relaxing.  So I took a look at my Marriott rewards account.  I have about twenty billion points and "silver elite status" or something like that.  Which means I got a free hotel room for the night in Lowell with early checkin and late checkout which is a perk of my frequent traveller status.  Sweet!  So now I can do the drive up on Saturday, get my packet in the morning, put in my super relaxed workout/course preview and then relax at the hotel and be only 2 miles from the start of the race in the morning.  Perfect!  Better yet I can go back to the hotel after the race and shower before heading south again.

Here's a random thought...   so you finish the race and your all done.  At what point is it ok to enter the transition area to get your stuff out of it?  I'll hopefully remember to ask this to someone tomorrow at the swim session, but if anyone reading this knows can you let me know in the comments section?

So after doing a bit of work I headed out late this afternoon to go and checkout the Barrington town beach for tomorrow's open water swim workout and transition practice session to see what the parking lot was like around 6pm.  I stopped at the store and bought some little cones to mark the bike mount/dismount line as well.  I figure they will come in handy for other workouts at some point, or to use for some sort of game with my friend's kids at some point.  When I got to the beach in Barrington I was pleased to see that theres sort of an extra parking area there that was empty at 6 as everyone was parked along the ocean.  So it looks like we can use that area to setup in for the transition practice.  Hopefully I'm not the only one there doing it or I'm going to look really stupid!  Hec if I am the only one doing it I'm going to move to a different parking lot away from everyone thats going to be watching me wondering what the hell I'm doing.  I'd rather do it in an empty parking lot somewhere where I can concentrate on it.  So we'll see how this transition practice idea works out.  I'm looking forward to it though.  The swim looks like it should be fun.  Kind of hard to quite figure out what the course is like as I have only read a description of it and not seen a map, but I think I have an idea.  At any rate theres enough of a route to take there to get damn close to a 1/2 mile if not all of it so we'll be in good shape.  Plus it sounds like Kevan will be coming and he knows that course layout.  So we should be in good shape.  While I was there I saw plenty of serious swimmers in the water doing laps both inside the roped off area, and further out.  Some in wetsuits.  I'm sure some of them were triathletes.  It seems like a nice place to do an open water swim as it wasn't crowded at all and the conditions looked nice and calm with just a tiny bit of chop.

After scoping out the beach I headed off to go and run the 5K course as my easy three mile run for the day.  At least that was my initial plan.  Unfortunately the roads in that area seem to be lacking street signs.  So in the end I ran three miles, but not along the course as I couldn't find it.  I should have driven it first in retrospect, which after my run I used the GPS on my phone to follow the correct roads and see what the route was like.  Its not bad at all.  One small rise right out of the gate and then thats pretty much it.  Nice and flat and easy and fast.  The route I took was similar.  I started out easy but I ended up settling into a nice 8 minute pace in the first and second mile.  Somewhere in the middle of the second mile I figured I should do at least a couple of accelerations in mile 3 just to test my legs out.  Well that turned into running a very quick third mile.  In the end my mile splits were 8, 8, and 6:30.  Oops.  So much for going slow!

Next up for tomorrow...   a nice easy 14 mile bike ride in the morning.  I think I'm going to ride from home to the boulevard which is 5 miles and then do some sprints around the boulevard for a lap or two, and then turn around and ride nice and easy back home.  That will keep me under 15-16 miles and get the intervals in I'm supposed to do as well.  Plus its a nice ride early in the morning.  I'm going to try and head out super early.  But we'll see.  I'll probably do some mount/dismount practice in the morning as well to make sure I have it down.  Shhhh...   don't tell anyone but I plan on leaving my shoes clipped into the pedals.  I'm getting pretty good at it and the rubber band trick works great for the initial mount.  My only worry is that it requires running barefoot through transition which hopefully is ok.  But this is why you go and look at the transition area the day before.  So you can decide if running through it barefoot is a dumb idea.

Ok... thats enough out of me today.  I'm out!  Other than to say (Tour De France Spoiler Alert!!!!)   Lance...   I know its the reality of bike racing, but it sucked that you flatted today when you did.  I feel for you, but I have not lost hope!  Hats off to Andy Schleck though...   nicely done.  This has certainly shaken up the tour.  And nice job Cadel for being in the right place at the right time too.  My only conselation of today is that jerk Contador lost time too.  Oh and congrats to "Spartacus" (Cancellara) for taking back the yellow jersey.  You certainly deserve it after the TT and your ride today.  Nicely done.

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