Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back In Action....

Life, Work, Training, Blogging...   its all a juggling act.  And this week I let the blogging ball drop while I focused on some other things.  But now its time to get caught up again.  Its been a tough week that started with a challenging show last week that had me working some pretty crazy hours that wreaked havoc with my sleep schedule.  On top of that I've been scrambling to find some more projects to work on after a massive event I work on in September every year fell apart and dissapeared.  That was a huge loss and now I'm scrambling to make it up.  In fact losing that event may have just crushed my hopes of buying a tri bike in the offseason.  But we'll see.  Anyway, point is, I haven't updated in a while...   so I'm going to have a cover a lot of ground in this post.

I'm going to skip ahead to Tuesday (yesterday) of this week and start there.  Since leading up to that was mostly my business trip and training out there was few and far between.  That turned into more of a recovery break from training than anything else.  And since I had not gotten much training in out there and missed my big weekend training block I wanted to hit it hard tuesday/wednesday so I did.

I started tuesday morning with a 1.5 mile swim at GVP with some friends from my tri club.  The swim was pretty uneventfull other than I felt pretty rusty the first half mile after not having swam for a few days.  But once I found my groove I felt much better.  We kept a nice easy relaxed pace for the whole route and it was a nice morning.  So all in all a great swim.

Then I went home and got to work, and then headed out to the TT course for 3pm.  I really enjoy the TT and I hate to think of missing it.  But at the same time I was due to get a 56 mile ride in.  For a while I entertained the thought of riding the FIRM course.  But then I decided why not just use the TT course for my 56 mile ride and do 4 loops.  So thats what I did.  At the time it seemed like a good idea.  I even managed to drum up some company for several of the loops with some other club members.

So I started my first loop of the TT course at just after 3pm.  My plan was to slowly increase the pace of my TT laps (14.2 miles each) and do my last lap as my official TT run as my fastest lap.  But you know what they say about plans....

Anyway...  headed off at 3pm.  It was close to 90 degrees and somewhat humid.  I was hot, sweaty, and disgusting within about two miles.  But I was loaded up with three bottles of gatorade, plenty of gels, and ready to go for my long ride.  I took the first lap somewhat easy, but not too easy.  Before I knew it I was over the 2 hills on the backside and on the homestretch to the finish line.  I finished the first lap and met up with tri club members Kevan, Kate and Jon for lap 2.  The four of us headed out in a loose pack and rode that lap at just a little bit faster than the first.  It was nice to have a little company and Kevan and I chatted a bit during the climbs.  So lap 2 passed nice and quickly.  We stopped at the finish area again but I headed out pretty much right away for lap 3.  Kevan caught up with me again about half way through lap 3 and we rode the rest of that lap together.  At this point I was starting to feel a tiny bit tired, but not too bad.  I was super hot and sweaty though.  It was pretty gross out.  Somewhere around 3/4 of the way around lap 3 Jon caught up with us and he and Kevan took off racing back to the finish area.  I let them go and just kept on riding my pace.  I finished lap 3 with about 10 minutes to go before the start of the TT so I managed a quick rest, drank some cold water, chatted a bit and got ready to go.

We had a new numbering system to keep track of the larger crowds showing up at the TT.  Between being a little tired, and wanting to chat with some friends of mine in the starting lineup I started a little bit further back than I should have.  This was worsened by some people asking if they could start in front of me to which I said sure.  What this meant combined with how tired I was is that I think I passed maybe about two other riders instead of my usual larger number.  Within the first five miles looking at my average speed I knew I was not going to be setting any PRs on the course tonight.  In fact I wasn't sure I could make my last lap the fastest.  But I just gritted my teeth and went for it.  I dug pretty deep a few times to pedal harder.  My legs wanted to relax into a nice easy pace and I fought to keep going.  When I hit the first hill it became really clear that I needed to change my plan.  What had felt easy on lap 1, and its usual challenging but not too bad self on laps 2 + 3 now felt damn hard.  I was struggling a little bit.  So I resigned myself to changing my plan to relaxing a little bit and finishing the bike well rested enough to have a good run.  Which is what my plan would be during the 1/2 iron anyway.  So once I stopped focusing on racing I just kept at it till I finished the back half of the course as best as I could.  Those miles were tough.  Thats not an easy course on a good day, but on the fourth time around its pretty damn hard!  I was pretty excited when I crossed the top of the second hill and knew the rest of the way home was pretty easy.  I did my best to pick up the pace but it was clear my legs only had so much left in them.  Finally I made it to the last right turn and the last little stretch into the finish.

When I started to get my running shoes on for the run my quads and my legs were screaming at me.  Riding all those hills 4 times over meant I was pretty cooked.  I'm glad to say once I was out on the run I felt a little bit better.  At first I wasn't sure if my legs were going to work at all.  But I shuffled my way up the hill at a nice easy pace.  In the end I went for a five mile run instead of a three.  Mostly because I ran with Nancy and thats was her goal for the day.  I wanted the company so I went along for the five thinking I'll just shave down my long run the next day by the two extra miles.  We kept a nice easy pace for the whole run and in the end it wasn't as bad as I initially thought it was going to be.  I felt like under race condtions I could have run 13 if I had to.  So that was encouraging.  However I'm glad I didn't have to as between the heat and the hills I was ready to be done after five miles. 

After the TT I had big plans to treat myself to something evil.  After all betwen the swim in the morning and the TT/run I'd burned around 2500 calories.  But in the end I wanted carbs so desperately that I went to dunkin donuts and got some water and bagels.  Not very exciting I know!

In the end these were the times for my TT laps...


Total time: 3:07:34
Average Speed 18.2mph

On that course I think an 18.2 mph average for four laps is excellent.  In fact I'm quite pleased with that.  So all in all it was a great day.  When I got home I was exhausted!  I barely had the energy to shower and clean everything up before going to bed.


This morning my alarm went off at 6am.  My plan was to get my long run out of the way before it got too hot.  I was wide awake at 6am but my legs felt so tired I just couldn't face running on them yet.  Its hard enough to run on tired legs on the day after a long bike/run brick, but its even harder when you completed the long bike less than 12 hours ago.  I ended up falling back asleep and woke up at 9am.  Oops!  So I didn't head out for my run till 10am.  Way later than I wanted to and I paid for it with plenty of hot sun.  My original plan called for a 12 mile run but since I added two miles onto the run last night I subtracted them from my long run today.  In the end I went for a 10.5 mile run today.  I chose a nice route through the city today.  I left my house and ran past the state house, over to wickendon street and then across the east side on Hope St, back down Rochambeau and then back to my house via the lovely Branch avenue.  The first few miles of the run were pretty brutal.  The route in general was somewhat hilly and the hills were no fun in the heat but I pushed up them.  In the end I averaged 8:45's for the run.  Not too bad considering how tired I felt.  I'm happy with that.  I finished the run and got back to my place around 11:30ish.  It was so damn hot out I wanted a treat.  And I was bummed I didn't treat myself to something the day before so I went to 7-11 and got a giant Crystal Light slurpee (only 120 calories!), and a HUGE big gulp that was about 90% ice and ten percent diet coke.  So not excatly a splurge but it felt like a great treat.  And it really hit the spot.

As soon as that bit was over I got a call from my ex saying my buddy Woodrow (the dog that she got when we lived together, and that I adore) was really really sick so I rushed over to help.  Poor guy was violently ill and shaking.  I won't go into details... but needless to say he was having an awful day.  So I kept the two of them company until he could get an appointment at the vet.  Poor guy was just laying on the kitchen floor and shaking.  It was pretty scary.  Vet says he's going to be ok though...   they are not entirely sure what it is, but took a million tests and didn't seem too concerned.  I'm just glad he's ok.

Got home from that craziness just in time to pack my bag for the ocean swim in Narragansett today.  Kevan, Kate and I carpooled down to the beach and met up with Kellie, Leslie and Jon from my tri club and many other swimmers I don't know.  Looking at the ocean it looked really calm and nice.  But looks can be deceiving!  We all swam out to the buoy close to the start area and then Fred explained the direction we would be swimming and asked us slower swimmers to keep to one side of the buoys so we didn't get run over by the fast guys on their way back in.  Kevan and I swim at the same pace so we stuck together for the swim.  It wasn't long before he and I had been dropped by the pack of faster swimmers.  Those guys are insanely quick!  Theres a nice line of buoys at the beach all space between 50-100 yards apart.  So we just followed this line of buoys till it stopped.  Which is about .8 miles from where we started.  That part of the swim felt good.  The water was choppy which made seeing the little buoys a little tricky, but not too bad.  I was starting to loosen up and enjoy the swim.  Then we turned around...  

WOW!!!!  What a difference!  It was like swimming in a different ocean than the one we were just in.  It was nuts.  Suddenly the chop was brutal.  It was bouncing me all over the place, splashing me in the face when I was trying to breathe and there was a serious current going the opposite way I was trying to go!  Seemed like it took me FOREVER to reach the next buoy on the way back and it was really tiring me out in a hurry.  Kevan and I stopped at each buoy on the way back to make sure we were still together.  When we stopped I said "are you getting your ass kicked as much as I am?" to which he said "yep!".  So we swam on another couple of buoys back the way we came.  Each buoy had me feeling more and more tired.  When my garmin vibrated to signal we had swam a mile I was feeling pretty beat up.  But I kept going.  At the next buoy I told Kevan I was feeling pretty tired and I wasn't sure if I'd make it all the way back.  I might have to swim into shore and walk the rest of the way.  Kevan is great at encouraging me to go further so he said "lets just swim buoy to buoy and see how we feel".  So we swam one more...   and then one more....   and then one more...   Our conversation at the buoy always went the same way...    "think you can do one more"...   "uhhhh....   sure what the hell" and we would go for one more.  We reached a buoy where the next one down the line was much further than usual.  Probably twice the distance and we went for "one more".  When I finally reached that buoy I was cooked.  I was tired from two hard days of training and the run just a few hours before the swim.  So I said thats it for me and we both headed into shore.  In the end we swam 1.43 miles.  Which was .8 in nice conditions, and .6 in not so nice!  As much as I wish I'd done the whole distance (probably close to 1.8 miles) I'm still psyched I hung in there for 1.4 miles which is still longer than I'll see in the FIRM.  I might have been able to do the whole distance...  but the ocean in choppy conditions didn't seem like the place to gamble with ending up feeling exhausted a quarter mile from shore. 

So we walked the short distance back to the start area and met up with the other swimmers.  Turns out at least a couple other people had turned back and not swam the whole distance so I didn't feel so bad.  Fred (the gentleman who organizes the swims) was kind enough to hand out watermelon to all of us.  Which was the perfect post swim get the taste of salt out of your mouth food.  And then we got cleaned up and headed home.

I got an email from Burt tonight (who organizes the SSS group which is the slightly slower swimmers group that swims at the same time as Fred's group).  I don't know Burt personally... but hopefully he won't mind me sharing this email.  This email pretty much sums up what the conditions for the swim were like today...

"Well, tonight's swim at Sand Hill Cove was a very interesting one!

Today was, I believe, a new moon which means maximum tide heights of the month. Also we swam right at the midpoint of the incoming tide (maximum water velocity.) This is a worst case scenario.

Water was very obviously pushing from the Pavilion toward the wall and speed records (going down) were set! Coming back, due to the tide velocity and water quantity (very big momentum of water swimming against) it was the reverse. I think my time down was about 18 minutes, and back was about 43-44 minutes roughly."

Glad to see I wasn't the only one out there struggling!

So to recap in the last two days I....

swam 1.5 miles in freshwater
swam 1.43 miles in the ocean
Biked 56.8 miles
Ran 15.5 miles

Not too shabby!

So whats next?

Tomorrow morning I'm going to do an easy spin or two through the short 14 mile Barrington sprint bike course to check it out and also do some quick bike mount practice.  I want to be sure leaving my shoes clipped into the pedals is the right decision on that course as theres a hill very soon after exiting transition.  Fortunately its a short one so I'm thinking I'll ride up it with my feet on top of my shoes and then get into the shoes afterwards...  but I'll decide how thats going to work tomorrow and then practice it.

Friday will be a day off from training and if I can get enough work done on thursday a morning at the beach before coming home ot get organized for the race.

Saturday is the Barrington YMCA sprint race

Sunday I'll ride the FIRM bike course for the first time at a recovery pace followed by a long run the next day also on the course.  Should be a great end to the week.

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