Saturday, January 1, 2011

First Sunrise of 2011 as Seen from a Bicycle

Its 2011 now… Its going to be a good year. It will be the year I complete multiple half iron distance triathlons and the year that I’ll end in grand fashion with my first full iron distance triathlon. I’ll run a marathon, multiple half marathons, and try and PR my 5K again. With any luck I’ll even be healthy enough to race the Newport Pie Run and PR that 5 miler too post Ironman. Good things are going to happen this year. It’s the year I closed the scenic design side of my business that caused me so much stress and frustration. It’s the year I’ll move in with the Girl and take the next step towards our future together. Its going to be a great year.

So how do you kick off such a great year? Well… I’m down here in Boca Raton working on a show. We got out of work around 7pm last night on New Year’s Eve and I pretty much ate dinner, prepped my bike stuff and was in bed by 8ish and asleep by 9pm. I woke up this morning at 6 and was out on the bike just as the sun was rising. Today was supposed to be my last “long run” as part of the taper which was an 8 miler. Which at 9’s would take 1:15 so I subbed a 1:20 bike for the run to continue to rest my legs and let them recover a bit.

The ride today was extremely challenging, but really fun! Forecast was for sunny skies, 70 degree temps, and high gusty winds with steady 15-20mph winds and gusts to 30ish. I didn’t actually read the wind part till I got back though. So that part surprised me. As soon as I got near the beach it became clear the wind was going to be a big factor today. I’ve run a lot down here in this area and experienced some really bizarre winds along the shore. The tall hotel and condo buildings cause the wind to swirl around and do really strange unpredictable things. When you’re running its funny… on a bike its really challenging! Thank goodness I didn’t have my race wheels on the bike or I would have been miserable. As it was the random shifting winds did their damndest to knock me right off the aerobars a few times. It led to some interesting funny moments. As well as some dicey ones when you would get smacked with a surprise crosswind gust pushing you into traffic as you passed next to the gaps between condo towers.

Mostly though despite the winds I was just thrilled to be out on the bike. The sun was up and the view was gorgeous with the ocean in view for most of my ride. I was sad that the ride was over so quickly. But I knew I shouldn’t push it with the marathon so close and I also had to get back and get to work.

I reached the turnaround point 40 minutes out and turned around. Uh oh! Apparently what I thought was just a super strong crosswind was more diagonal than I thought and felt like a significant headwind when I was heading back. There were some moments I considered getting out of the big ring despite how flat the roads were on the way back to the hotel as my cadence was super low just trying to keep moving even in the highest gear available without cross-chaining. But I sucked it up and hammered my way through it and enjoyed the challenge of it. In the one half second I almost let myself complain about it I remembered I could be in New England where its cold and theirs melting snow everywhere and salt and sand and I’d be stuck on the trainer instead. So instead I smiled and enjoyed the challenge. I was a bit worried too I wouldn’t make it back to work in time with the headwind but I hammered away and made it back with just enough time to shower and get to work.

So today is Saturday which means the marathon is a week away now. Its strange but I’m just not in the headspace for this race. I’ll be fine… but I just feel like when I’ve been this close to a major race I usually feel really mentally focused on it. But in this case I don’t feel that way. I think its partially as I’m not trying to PR anything here… just complete the 5K,1/2, full marathon challenge in three days. So I don’t feel the self imposed pressure to race hard and fast. Although I’d be lying if my brain hasn’t had thoughts like “if I feel strong on the marathon day maybe I can set a new PR” which is ridiculous the day after a half marathon. But you never know…. I may just start out fast on marathon day and see how my legs feel. I can always slow down and it will get me out of the big pack of people a bit which will be nice later in the race. But I think I’m kidding myself. I’ll be tired after the half and I suspect my strategy will be to just put one foot in front of the other and enjoy the day. We’ll see how I feel come race morning. For now the focus is on recovery, rest, and taking care to stretch and stay relaxed and keep that hamstring/glute /calf tightness in check.

Now that I’m in the taper however I need to figure out what my running plans are for this week. I think it makes sense to go back to running now that I only have two more runs to go before the 5K. I think I’ll run 3 on Tuesday, 4 on Wednesday, rest Thursday, enjoy the 5K at an easy pace on Friday and then pace the half marathon on Saturday nice and slow and enjoy it and try and stay as fresh as possible for the full on Sunday. So that’s my plan. Here’s hoping it goes well. But as I said before… I have a good feeling about 2011.

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