A lot of training has happened since my last post, and the time crunch for this race has suddenly started to stress me out. I think that’s due to the Peak Racing training camp next weekend in Augusta, but more on that in a moment. Let me start with what I’ve done the last couple of months.
In the month of June I slowly transitioned to road running and started building my running base back up. It was a slow progress, still is, but it has been going well. I signed up for the Blalock Lakes Olympic distance aquabike on June 21. I knew I wouldn’t be ready for the run at the end by then, so I stuck to the aquabike. It was a tough course with lots of hills on a pretty hot day. The swim went very well for me I thought, but the bike was rough. I realized that I had some things to learn about fueling for triathlons.
On July 4th, after some discussion with my coach and promises to listen to my body, I ran the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. I really expected to run maybe 3/4ths of the race and to give out of steam. My longest run since March 3rd was 5 miles, and I only had a total of 20 running miles in June. I went into the race with the plan to run the first part extremely slow, see how long I could keep running, and if I felt good later, then I’d pick up the pace, but if there was any nagging pain, I’d walk. Surprisingly, my legs felt pretty good at the 3 mile mark. This is also where the hills kick in on the course, and it was where I decided to start trying to pick up the pace some. For the remainder of the race, I was able to not only maintain but get negative splits, and I felt great at the end like I could have ran another mile. Woohoo! My running legs were back!
On July 12th, I had a small sprint tri called the Tributary Retro Tri hosted by Peak Racing in Douglasville, GA. With the HIM date looming closer and this sprint being only a 250 yard swim, 6 mile bike, and 2 mile run, my coach had a long ride and t-run scheduled for that weekend as well. He had given me the choice to do it the day of the sprint or the next day on Sunday. Since we were in Douglasville by an area called Silk Sheets where a lot of cyclist bike, I decided to join my teammate, Clay, after the sprint for our 2 1/2 hour ride and 20 minute run. I might rethink that choice if given it in the future. After going all out in the sprint in z4 the entire time and standing around for awards for an hour afterwards, climbing back on the bike and starting again made for one of the hardest rides I’ve done to date. My legs were toast at the beginning of the ride, and we were doing a 35 mile ride on a somewhat hilly course. I knew it was going to be a LONG day! In my mind, all that counts is that it got done, and that it did.
Since the Retro Tri, I’ve had some mixed feelings about how I’m doing in training, but I’m hanging in there. It’s hard to explain how one day you can feel pretty good about where you are, and the next you realize that you’re 9 weeks away from your HIM, and you start to panic a little. We had a group training day this weekend on the 26th that went ok, and I have the Peak Racing Augusta Training camp next weekend, and an Olympic distance tri the following weekend. I think the two upcoming weekends just have me a little freaked out right now. Plus, Saturday’s training swim, ride, and run was tougher than I’d hope it would be at this point probably due to the heat.
Seven of us arrived at Clay’s lake house Saturday, July 26th, at 7:30AM with plans to start our swim at 8AM. It was slightly delayed due to a heavy fog on the lake, but we got to it pretty quick after a few laughs and photos on the dock. After a mile swim, we all headed out on our bikes. The bike route was pretty straight forward with very few turns. We stayed together for the first bit, then we’d regroup as needed and peel off as we reached the distances we needed. The first couple of people turned off at 1 hour. I needed 2 hours and 45 minutes, so my turn around time was at 1 hour 23 minutes. I was already feeling like death warmed over by the time I reached my turn around time, and the other 3 were pretty far ahead of me, so I had to either keep going to let them know I was turning around or hope they saw me turn around and didn’t wait on me. As I said, I was dead already, so I choose to turn around on a long straight away and hope they caught a glimpse of me turning around. TWENTY TWO lonely miles laid ahead of me to get back to the lake house, but it was the only way I was getting back because I don’t quit! Did someone mention this was a shady route during the first 20 minutes of the ride? Oh yeah, that was Bonnie. She turned around at the hour mark, so maybe she had some shade on the way back, but it’s now after 11AM, and there’s not a stitch of shade on this route. Guess who forgot their sunscreen today of all days. Yep, that’d be me. I could feel the sun baking my arms as the ride went on FOREVER! To add to that, my new Speedfil water bottle didn’t make it before the weekend, so I had 2 25 ounce bottles (one with water, one with Ucan) on the back of my seat plus another 35 ounces in my Profile Design Aquacell bottle, and my water was getting low around mile 35. My neck was starting to tighten up pretty bad as well because I was having to keep it up more due to the two straws sticking up out of my water bottle. I swear I felt like they were going to poke my eyes out if I crashed. Anytime I tried lowering my head, the straws hit my helmet just above my forehead, so I had to keep my head cranked up more than normal, and it was KILLING me at this point. I was ready to throw the straws on the side of the road and leave them. I couldn’t really put my finger on why I didn’t like this water bottle before, but I definitely know what it is now. Remember that neck injury I had issues with? Yeah, I had an hour and a half to worry about if it was going to come back because of two STUPID straws! Maybe it’s just where it has to sit on my bike, but I definitely wouldn’t want to ride again with the straws right in front of my face like that, and if I cut them any shorter, I’ll have to stand up and lean forward to reach them. Then, I started to wonder if I had missed the turn I was supposed to make while I was so focused on these straws, but I was pretty sure I couldn’t….or could I? My seat was even feeling like it was chaffing me. I think this was just a mental ride for me and my mind was just messing with me all around at that point, so I stopped for a minute to take a breath, squirt the rest of my water left in my 25 ounce bottle into the aero bottle, and drink some of the electrolytes while I stretched my neck that was tightening up, and then I was off again quickly. At this point, if I stopped long, I was really afraid I couldn’t start again. Soon enough, I came upon the turn I was looking for, and all I need to see next was a red light in about 4 miles. Naturally, my mind wasn’t done, and a little ways down this road, I started second guessing if I was supposed to turn left or right at the stop sign back there, but I kept telling myself it had to be left because on the way out we all turned right there….or did we? Maybe I’m not to that road yet. Yes, this is the conversation that went through my head off and on for the last hour of my ride! I finally caught a glimpse of the red light though, so I knew I was almost back. As I pulled into the garage to transition, I grabbed a couple of cold water bottles, poured half of one on my head and back of neck, filled my run bottle with the other half, and drank the other bottle. Ahhhh, that was what I needed. I instantly felt better. It was now 12:45PM, and I needed a 35 minute run. Have I mentioned that I always start all my long bike rides at sunrise? Yep, there’s a reason for that. I shall not forget it again! Off I went on the run, or walk with a tad of running thrown in. Whatever you want to call it. My HR wouldn’t stay in z2 unless I walked. I finished up my run just as the other 3 riders were heading out on their run, and I headed straight to the lake to cool off. The rest of the day was spent talking tri stuff, grilling, eating, swimming, and getting to know more about my tri buddies.
Next weekend, I get to swim the Augusta course Sat morning followed by riding the 56 mile bike course and a short run, then on Sunday we’re running the course. If you don’t hear from me again, then it’s because I didn’t survive the Peak Racing Training Camp next weekend, but hopefully, I’ll be posting about how much better I feel about the Augusta 70.3 being 9 weeks away after it. Can you sense my excitement? Just as in running, there will be highs and lows, or at least this is what I keep telling myself. I’m obviously in a low right now (I hope), and the confidence will come soon just as it did in marathon training.