What a training week this has been! After a teaching riding with Chuck on Monday, I did a swim/run brick on Tuesday, a 17 mile ride on Wednesday, rested on Thursday, a bike/run brick on Friday, a 10K run on Saturday, and a challenging 23.5 mile ride today. Then tomorrow starts a whole new tri training week all over again.
After Monday's ride I felt exhilarated and couldn't wait to ride again. Tuesday was a lazy swim, followed by two 1.5 mile runs -- both of which felt quite good. Then on Wednesday I was back on the bike for a 17 mile loop where I was able to try out many of the things that Chuck had taught me. One of the biggest struggles that I had was my breathing - also true in my running. Having asthma as a triathlete adds a little bit of an extra challenge, but I have pushed through that with the help of my doctor and I rarely, if ever, struggle with an attack. However I still wanted to maintain my breathing without sounding like an obscene phone caller. What I have learned was that I was expending too much energy using the strength in my lengths which was making me oxygen deprived. When I lightened up on the gears that I was using I spun a lot faster, but didn't expend the same amount of energy and I was able to take the big hills with more energy and less heavy breathing.
By the time Thursday rolled around I had planned to run a 10K, but there were thunderstorms -- always a great excuse for a rest day! Then on Friday I was back at it with a 9.5 hilly ride followed by a 2.5 mile jog. The bike was good, but oddly enough I felt better on the run. I didn't use the MotionTraxx training podcasts that day, but I have used them enough now to help me establish a good pace for myself where I am not breathing too heavy or starting out too fast in a speed that I cannot maintain. I don't know that I will ever be a fast runner, but I am feeling pretty solid at an 11-12 minute/mile pace. I would love to get below a 10 minute pace someday and I will continue to target that as a goal. I know that I can sustain it for one mile, but after that I'm punked.
Saturday morning was supposed to be a rest day, but I needed to make up for my missed 10K from Thursday so I headed out with my MotionTraxx and finished in 1:12 which was about as perfect of a pace as I could get. My legs are now starting to give out *before* my breathing which I believe is a sign of progress for this girl! I rested in a cool bath (more on that in another blog post) for about an hour and then pushed to rehydrate as much as I could in preparation for today's ride.
Today was supposed to be a 26 mile ride, not too overly challenging, with a break in the middle for snack/lunch. Obi-wan had other plans for me - and the 5 other people on the ride besides us. He knows that I am training for this tri coming up in three weeks and wanted to help me to prepare better. This guy has been at this for years -- who am I to argue? So off we went on a shorter (23.5 mile) ride, which was far more challenging with a lot of hills and gradual inclines that seemed to go on forever. At first I thought he was trying to kill me, but as the ride went on I saw the wisdom and genius of his plan (thus the nickname Obi-wan). He worked with me a bit on pacing up the hills and maintaining a certain heart rate so that, in the race, I would have something left over for the run. After the ride I felt great and he talked with me a lot about strategy for THE HILL that is at mile six in my race.
The race is exactly three weeks from today. I am actually feeling pretty good about my chances to make it across the finish line. I am even resigned to the fact that I might be the last person across the finish line - after all, the last place finisher always gets the loudest cheers, do they not? :-) I am confident that I can complete each of the events individually. The question is, how will my body react when I string them all together? For the record - it's a .93 mile swim, 24.8 bike, and 6.2 mile run. Thus the crazy preparations over the last week, which will continue for the next two weeks at which time I will taper the training to give this poor old body a rest before race day.