Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Training With the Girl

I've been spending a lot of time in Newport, RI lately.  Its only about 45 minutes away from my home in Providence, RI but until recently I rarely if ever managed to make it down there.  I have a long history with Aquidneck Island that goes all the way back to high school.  Its a place full of many memories for me.  The most recent of which is crossing the finish line of my first marathon there in October of 2010.  Funny to think how far I've come athletically since then...   but thats not what this is all about.  I've recently been spending quite a bit of time down there again as its where the girl lives.  Its been fantastic to spend time down there again for many reasons, but reconnecting with the island has certainly been a small but enjoyable part of that.

I've had the pleasure of doing several shorter training runs and rides down there lately.  Yesterday I worked from home at the girl's house and then headed out for a ride in the late afternoon.  I figured I'd squeeze in a 20 mile ish ride as an out and back on Ocean drive before she got home from work and then we planned to run together after that.  So I headed out with the plan of a nice hard effort ride for an hour.  It was grey, overcast and super windy as soon as I left the house in the shelter of downtown Newport so I knew as soon as I hit the exposed rides of Ocean Drive it was going to be interesting.  When I headed out on the drive it was clear I had a massive tailwind.  I was FLYING.  Easily managing 30mph on the flats without too much effort.  I knew it was going to be interesting on the way back!  I pressed onward and finished the first seven or so miles out to Breton point in record time.  Once I turned inland again I could start to feel the headwind but that section of the island is somewhat sheltered so it wasn't too bad.

Thirty minutes into my ride I turned around so I could be sure to make it back in time to run with the girl.  Once again on the way out to the point the tailwinds were giving me a nice boost, even in the sheltered section.  But then WHAM!!!  as soon as I rounded the point it was like riding into a brick wall of wind!  Holy Cow it was an insane wind!  I was literally down to 12mph in the granny gear standing on the pedal to make progress at some points.  The wind was so strong I couldn't manage the big ring even on the flats.  It was nuts and hysterical, and pretty fun too.  Ocassionally the crosswind gusts on some of the curvier parts of the road were pretty challenging to deal with.  The wind was so strong and steady you could literally lean the bike into it to avoid tipping over.  It was like nothing I'd ever ridden in before.

When I got close to the girl's house I knew I had a little more time to ride so figured I would tack on another couple of miles to the ride.  So I headed down Memorial towards first beach.  Riding down the hill into the wind it was seriously funny how slow I was going downhill.  I had to pedal to make progress.  The ride down the beach to the turnaround was nuts as its wide open to the ocean there so there was zero shelter.  However once turned around I was flying back up the hill on Memorial.  You could almost go uphill without pedalling.  In the end my ride was around 22 miles.  Good fun and great practice for riding in some pretty intense winds and crosswinds.

After my ride I got back just in time to change clothes and then head out for a run with the girl.  We went for a nice 4 mile run together.  We stayed mostly in sheltered areas to avoid the worst of the wind which was nice as I'd had my fill of it on the bike.  The girl and I have only run together a couple of times now.  Were still working on it.  I'm a tad faster than she is so I need to stay a half step behind her to match her pace and not head out too quickly.  Oddly though for whatever reason when we run together we seem to be slowing her pace down from her usual as well.  Our average yesterday was a solid 45 seconds per mile slower than her usual grooves it every single run pace that she's used to.  So we'll have to work on upping the pace back to where she and both of us are comfy.  This is a learning experience for me and I'm trying to be on my best behaviour as I love running with her and I'm really hoping we'll figure it out so were both comfortable running together.

The girl and I also went for our first ride together on Sunday.  We had orginally planned a much longer ride together but the day got away from us quickly and after we'd run all the errands on our list we were running out of daylight.  So we changed plans and headed to the bike path so we'd be safer if it got dark as neither of us had the proper night riding gear with us and it was nice and close and easy.  I'm happy to say that we rode together very well and at a pace that was comfortable for both of us.  It was a nice little ride but more than that it was great to see that we'll be able to share some long rides together in the future at a nice happy pace.

So far this week is off to a good start training wise.  I'm hoping to get my first pool swim in tonight at the Y.  As much as I'm dreading it I just need to get it over with and start working towards improving my swim.

In other news I put my long run schedule in my calendar today.  Scary to put two twenty milers in there!  But on the plus side there won't be too many of my long runs that will happen while travelling for business.  Looks like I can fit most of them in here at home which is great.

Ok...   time to get back to work and get through this nasty bunch of shows and travel coming up between now and the end of November.

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