Saturday, March 5, 2011

72 Hours

The last 72 hours have been rather nuts, and quite busy...   here's how I spent them.

Thursday morning I woke up, had breakfast with the girl, kissed her goobye, loaded the car and started the long drive south to Orlando.  After the deboccle that the last car trip northbound from Florida was when I hit 4 winter storms and took 4 days to get home I added an extra day to the drive in case I got stuck in traffic/weather or whatnot.  Especially as I have to report to work on Sunday morning and if I'm late there will be trucks full of equipment and several crew people standing around wondering what to do and where I am.  So being late is not an option!

So thursday at 8am I started the drive south.  My plan was to try and get to the halway point, but to have no expectations considering the first day goes through Connecticut, New York City, Baltimore, and Washington DC.  So traffic is a crapshoot.  In the end I didn't really meet up with any traffic so I manged to make it into North Carolina after about 11 hours of driving.  At that point I called it quits and unloaded the car into my hotel room.

Its time to get serious about the tri season so there was no resting about to be had even after 11 hours of driving.  So I setup the bike on the trainer and set about doing an hour on the bike with 15x1 minute intervals with a goal of holding each minute over 200 Watts.  So I spun for 10 easy, 10 moderate, then 15x1 and then a ten minute cooldown.

Then...   after that workout I went through my physical therapy stretching routine which takes about thirty minutes, and then after skypeing with the girl (our new favorite way of staying in touch when I travel) I collapsed in bed exhausted...   but not until I'd set the alarm for 530AM.

Friday...   530AM the alarm goes off.  I got up, found some coffee and then fired up the TRX dvd on the ipad and did a 50 minute long TRX strength training session.  Once that was done, and I'd showered and packed up the car again it was back on the road south.  Plan for day 2 was to try and make it all the way to Orlando so I could take advantage of the day off on Saturday to ride.  So another 11 hours in the car and I'd finally made it all the way to Orlando.  I spent that evening prepping to swim and bike the next day and then went to bed feeling pretty darn exhausted!

Saturday...   530AM again and the alarm goes off...    this time mostly just to keep myself on that schedule as I'm going to have to getup at least that early all week to keep training before work as most of my workdays this week will go into the late evening.  That and I hate training at night.

This time I had a leisurely morning and I spent some more time going over my planned bike route and getting everything ready and then headed off to the Orlando YMCA Aquatic center.  All 30 25 yard lanes of it to get a swim in.  When I walked in they said that 26 of the lanes were closed (UGH!) but that 4 were open in the dive pool and they would try to add more.  Well within seconds there were 20 or so young kids in those 4 lanes in the dive pool.  All way way faster than me and about 4-5 per lane.  I looked around and said screw it.  And left.  Had there been a lane remotely close to my speed I would have joined in, but I just can't keep that pace so I would have been in the way, and they would have been in mine...  so I decided to just go bike instead.

So back to the hotel, packed up and checkout, and then head off to the Orlando Airport area to check out this road that supposedly has a bike lane, is very flat, makes up a 13 mile loop, and is a favorite amongst local triathletes.  I found the area without too much trouble and drove it once to check it out.  Looked boring, but good enough.  Orlando doesn't have a lot of roads that aren't full of cars with no shoulder.  So this area looked great considering it had a bike lane and was pretty empty.

So I got setup in the parking lot of a KFC and then headed out to get my ride in.  My plan was to ride just over two hours and do either 40 miles, or 56 depending on how I felt.  I set out on the first loop.  My first impressions were this...

-WOW Its AWESOME to ride in bike shorts and jersey again in 75 degree weather! YEAH!!!!
-Holy cow its windy!  (a steady 15-20mph crosswind the entire ride)
-Maybe this new Cobb saddle and I can be friends.
-I love my tri bike.

The first lap was pretty uneventfull.  I didn't push too hard and mostly stayed around zone 2.5 by hearrate which worked out to about 150 Watts.  This was my first long outdoor ride of the season so no need to go do anything stupid.  I just enjoyed the fact the road was flat, tried to stay aero for the entire ride (I did!) and get used to my bike.  I've spent more time on Cannon in a trainer than on the road so we still have some getting to know each other to do.  I have to say though that the more time I spend on it the more I like it!

The course was right next to the Orlando Airport.  In fact technically it is directly between the two major runways.  Theres a road that the course goes under that is in fact a taxiway for the airplanes to get from one runway to the other.  So it was kind of fun to watch the planes takeoff and land as I went back and forth along the route.  Definitely a not very scenic and quite dull ride.  But it was more about getting used to Cannon and keeping an eye on power and other numbers on the Garmin.  Speaking of that this was only my second ride with the Garmin 800 and I'm really pleased with it.  I'm looking forward to playing with it more.  And speaking of Garmin...  I got a chance to bust out my new Garmin bike Jersey I got on clearance at the Pearl Izumi outlet here in Orlando.  You gotta love an argyle bike jersey!

As the winds were surging (there were some brutal headwind/crosswing moments!) I started staring at the watts display.  Every time the headwind flared up I stared at my watts and tried to keep them constant.  So instead of fighting the wind I just slowed down to keep my watts steady.  I also kept an eye on cadence and shifter according to keep myself around 85 which seems to be the sweet spot for Cannon and I.  It quickly became apparent that this is going to be the key to my Ironman.  Pacing by wattage just had me feeling  a LOT fresher!  No big surges in power that weren't necessary.  I think for me the trick is going to be maininting a steady wattage for the whole race.  My focus in training is going to be on making that average wattage number higher and higher but sticking to it.  And from that will come the speed.  I have to say my legs felt really fresh today because I didn't punish them when the wind kicked up.  My effort was constant, and accordingly my legs weren't thrashed.  Definitely an intereseting excercise today and one I'll keep playing with as time goes on and I get used to training with wattage.  That and I have a lot more reading on that subject to do.

As I neared the end of the third lap of the course (mile 40) I decided that there was no need to do another lap.  Its only the first ride of the season.  I felt like I could go another 13 miles but figured I should instead focus on slowly increasing my mileage each weekend on my long ride.

After the ride I felt pretty fresh.  My right leg was a little sore as it often is whenever I do anything lately...   annoying.  But it wasn't bad, and certainly wasn't painfull at all...   but that was troubling none the less.  The doc and my PT have said its fine though...    it just doesn't feel that way.  I just keep hoping it will get stronger as I keep strength training and stop feeling weaker than my left leg as the season goes on.  Time will tell.

So now I'm at the hotel I'll be at for the next week.  Theres a pool here thats just about 25 yards long so I'll get some swimming in starting tomorrow morning before work.  It supposedly doesn't open till 6am but theres no lifeguard anyway so I'm going to try and get in at 5AM tomorrow and see what happens.  Doesn't look like they will care...   most hotels often don't.

And speaking of hotels...   here's Cannon white its wheels locked to each other throught he frame, and the frame locked to the frame of the bed.  Certainly not enough to stop a determined thief, but enough to stop a casual one...   that plus the do not disturb sign on the door all week should hopefully keeps us both safe!

So...   a very long few days and some quality training in there too.  Here's hoping I can get some serious swimming done this week and sneak a few rides in too.  I went out and bought some little cheap clip on lights at target for Cannon so I'm hoping I can get some early morning rides in this week too.  That could be fun.  This weekend I'm off between shows so I also plan to get some nice long rides in then too.  Should be a great week of work and training!  I'm PSYCHED that the tri season is finally starting and its time to get serious! 

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