Sunday, September 5, 2010

One Week From Now at This Time.....

I'll be celebrating the completion of my first half ironman length triathlon!

Today was my last big brick on the course and it was a good one.  Here's how it went.

I carpooled down to Narragansett with Kevan and we ended up a bit late to the beach.  When we got there Fred's open water group was already quite a ways down the beach in front of us.  We were all walking to the opposite end of the beach so we could swim the FIRM course today in the same direction it will be on race day.  We tried to catch up to them on the walk but they were just too far in front of us.  Funnily enough we walked right past the Sunday morning yoga class that a friend of mine was attending.  When we passed she was quite focused on her practice so she didn't see me but it was nice to see her there.  In fact yoga on the beach looked really awesome.  I'll definitely have to do that sometime soon.

When we got down to the end of the beach Fred's group had already entered the water and were quite a ways out, but Jon was there waiting for us as he must have seen us straggling behind everyone.  I imagine our two shaved heads must stick out from far away!  So the three of us headed into the water.  The ocean was pretty rough today.  I have to say I really enjoy the fight to get far out from the shore and swimming through and over the top of the waves.  Its a blast!  Today the waves and rollers extended much further out from shore than usual.  Even swimming as far out as we did we didn't really escape them.  They just become more roller and less wavelike.

So when we decided we were far out enough we turned right and started to swim down the shore.  For the first half of the swim the three of us stayed together nicely.  It was hard to stay close though in all the chop and the rollers meant that people kept dissapearing on the other side of them when you would pop up to look for them.  Somewhere around halfway through the swim something went horribly wrong and very right all at the same time.  Amongst all the chop I found my groove.  I was having a great swim and felt really strong and happy.  I'm getting much better at fighting my way through the chop and learning to rotate a bit more to get a breath without swallowing a ton of salt water as it smacks me in the face.  So in that regard it was a great swim.  However I got waaaayyyyyy off track somehow out there and ended up VERY far from shore.  Apparently I wanted to swim to Block Island.  By the time I realized how far out from shore I was and that I'd lost Kevan and Jon I couldn't even find them.  I waited to rise to the top of a swell to look for them and I still couldn't see anyone.  So I switched my path to a more diagonal route to keep going forwards but also head closer into shore at the same time.  I had a moment of mild panic out there when I wondered if I was caught in a current or something that had taken me out.  It felt like I wasn't getting any closer to shore at all that was a tiny bit scary.  But I calmed myself down and just kept swimming.  Eventually I popped up on a swell and I saw Kevan and Jon's swim caps a LONG way away!  Yikes!  I was WAY off course.  So I really focused on swimming as hard as I could to catch up to them.  They were both further along the beach from me as well as much closer to shore than I was.  The next time I popped up to see where they were I noticed they were looking for me too.  So I waved back at them signalling that I was aware how far away I was and they waved back.  The great thing about having such good people to train with is that they keep an eye on you.  So they slowed down a bit to let me catch back up to them.  After what seemed like an exhausting swim and a huge amount of time I eventually caught back up to them.  I was beat!  We then swam the rest of the length of the beach and then all three of us started to head into shore.

I was keeping an eye on our progress towards the beach in anticipation of being prepared for the point when the waves start to break.  I also was paying attention to surfers and other folks out there too.  Clearly Kevan and Jon were doing the same thing.  The funny thing though is that from that direction that low in the water you can't see where the waves break.  You feel the swells getting larger but it seems like the shore is still so far away you can't possibly be at the point where the waves starts to break and then BAM!  The wave breaks and throws Kevan, Jon and I through the washing machine.  We all popped up after we recovered laughing.  We were so caught off guard and not expecting the wave to break then that it was hilarious.  I think we all swallowed some water on that one.  We swam/walked the rest of the way in and had a good chuckle and then got ready to head out on the bikes.

For the bike portion it was me, Kevan, Mona, Leslie, Jon, and Davis.  We all agreed to stay together and ride a nice easy pace.  Jon also talked some sense into me and suggested that we cut the course short by skipping the first three mile out and back as well as the KFR loop.  So that trimmed the ride down to about 40 miles.  As soon as we got on Route 1 around mile 3 or so it became clear that the next 17 miles were going to be a battle into a pretty serious headwind.  The winds were tearing right at us.  As much as we wanted to take it easy we all ended up working pretty hard on the way out.  The winds were so strong at some points that you could hear laughter, chuckles, groans, Wows and all sorts of other silliness when it would gust to the point you felt like you weren't going forwards.  That was also the first time I've ridden in winds that high with my deeper wheelset.  So my front tire was pretty tough to keep pointed straight ahead a few times which made things interesting.  Good practice though!  When we finally reached the turnaround point our average speed was only 16mph.  Those were some pretty strong winds consider the course is really flat!


When we turned around we were flying!  With the wind now at our backs we had a nice fast ride back to the start area.  At this point our group had split up a bit in a pack or 4 and one of 2.  So my group of 4 rode side by side chatting away on the way back easily managing 22-25mph in spots.  We were crusing!

Once we made it back to the cars we headed out for a quick ten minutes out, ten minutes back run.  We kept the pace under control on the way out although I seem to only have one speed off the bike which is 7'30s for me.  But we slowed it to 8's pretty quickly and then on the way back we somewhat progressively picked it up to get some quickie intervals in, the fastest of which was a quick sprint at the end of 6'30s.  Good fun!

So I had a really great workout today with some great friends.  Great day!  Now the taper craziness is really going to kick in.  All of my workouts from here on out are pretty short easy efforts with a couple of intervals in them.  Here's my plan....

Monday OFF!  Sleep in, no workouts, no nothing!  Just some work during the day, and then some fun social stuff later on.
Tuesday:  wake up early, do a 30 minute bike ride with 5x1min all out intervals and then go see my massage therapist for a 90 minute pre race full body tune up!  Thats going to be awesome!
Wednesday:  Ocean Swim in Narragansett with Fred's group.  I'll keep my distance down to 1.2 miles MAX though regardless of what their plan is.  After the swim I'll run 3 miles at easy pace with 3 x 1 minute race pace intervals.
Thursday:  Bike at Easy to Moderate pace for 45 minutes max.
Friday: GVP Swim in the morning.  1/2 Mile swim MAX.  Focus on form, relaxing, and being excited for the race!  Easy two mile run afterwards.  Then...  Carbo load, carbo load, carbo load!  This is the day I'll eat the most!
Saturday: 10/10/10 workout.  Swim for ten minutes, bike for ten minutes, run for ten minutes.  Pick up my race packet!  Thats it!  Then its off to a lunch that a club member is hosting for those racing the FIRM.  Then its early to bed!
Sunday:  Race Day! Wooohoooo!

So thats the plan for the week.  Tomorrow on my off day I'll ramble on and on about my race plan.

Hope everyone had fantastic workouts this weekend!  Its been great weather for it!

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