Sunday, April 10, 2016

Workout Recap: 6 and 7 weeks out from Chattanooga Half Ironman

Alright gang, here is my recap of workouts from while I was away in Mexico and then what I have been up to since I got back!  We are getting down to the wire and I am starting to feel a bit panicky, but doing what I can to get ready in the time that I have! I feel like I would have more confidence if I had done some 50+ mile bike rides yet, but my peak is still 46. I will make it my goal for the next few weeks to get my riding up there with the bike mileage!

Here is what I have been up to before/during/after vacation with training:

Monday 3/28 - Half of a swim practice

Knowing that I was leaving for vacation that evening, I wanted to get in one final swim workout before heading out. I had everything with me to go to swim, to work, then to the airport, which took a little bit of coordination. However, once I was there and swimming, I started to get really paranoid about wanting to get to work on time so that I could wrap up everything that I needed to do at work before going out for the week. I jumped out towards the end of the swim set so only managed to get in half of a workout before vacation.

Tuesday 3/29 - Rest day (Walked Chichen Itza)

I wanted this to be a rest day, so was happy to not have exercise on the agenda, although I did end up walking around a bunch through Chichen Itza and got some light swimming in at the cenote :)

Wednesday 3/30 - 4.45 mile run... two solo and then two with Dani (10:00 min/mile)

It was so great to run up and down the main road in Merida that had lots to look at and big wide sidewalks. There were all sorts of monuments throughout the way, which was awesome way to experience the city.  Add Mexico to the list of countries I have run!

Thursday 3/31 - Rest day (Walked Uxmal)

Thursday we had an early day of travel and spent a good amount of timing walking around Uxmal. Then arrived in Campeche to 105 degree temperatures, walked around some more and then a cocktail hour to get ready for! Then, the illness took over. So, rest day.

Friday 4/1 - Sick day

You know the story here.

Saturday 4/2 - Danced until 4:00 a.m.

Still wasn't feeling well in the morning and was still dehydrated, so thought it best not to run in the extreme heat. I did, however, have to burn a couple calories and get something out of the fact that I danced all night long. My dress was completely soaked with sweat by the time we got on the bus to head back to Campeche, so that counts as a workout, right?

Sunday 4/3 - Recovery day

If you don't plan for the day after a wedding to be a rest/recovery day... then you are doing weddings wrong. I slept as much as I could and then went to brunch, had some more drinks, and traveled to Merida. No workouts happening today.

Monday 4/4 - 3 mile run (:30, 9:54 min/mile)

It was so hot and humid for this run and my first run back after being sick. I wanted to ideally do more miles, but I couldn't get my body to do it. I was happy I got anything in though and did another 3 miles in Merida along the monument road.

Tuesday 4/5 - 10.25 mile bike ride (:41, 14.84 mph) + 1 mile run (9:51 min/mile)

My flight landed at 4:00 p.m. and I got home around 5:00 p.m. and decided to immediately get out for a little bit of a workout. I had been sitting all day so didn't want to push it. I did a 10 mile bike ride on the Silver Comet and followed it up with a 1 mile run. I definitely took it easy, but was really proud of myself for utilizing my day to get a workout in!

Wednesday 4/6 - AM Swim Workout (3200M) + PM 6 mile run (1:01, 10:11 min/mile)

I hit the ground running on Wednesday, starting the morning with swim practice, and coming home after work for a 6 mile run. I had a ton of my mind and used this run to mostly just clear my mind. I ran from my house, which means that it was super hilly from start to finish. My lungs were burning on the first mile. I was really proud of myself for completing these two workouts today and how quickly I was able to jump back into training.

Thursday 4/7 - 18.43 mile bike ride (1:31, 12.16 mph)

This day. Well, my lack of motivation and distraction that plagued me throughout the weekend, began on Thursday. I originally wanted to get up in the morning and do some strength training at the gym, but slept through that. I did, however, bring my bike into work, to go for an evening ride.

I have been meaning to try the group rides that to go out from the cycling shop near my house where I bought the bike in the first place. They have one on Thursday evenings and I challenged myself this week to give it a try. I need to get off of the Silver Comet trail and more training on the roads so that I can practice turns and hills and using the gears more, rather than just going straight and flat on the roads.

I was terrified all day and trying to come up with every excuse to get out of going to the group ride. It was extremely windy and I thought maybe it wouldn't be safe? Maybe they cancel the rides if they are too windy? I really honestly don't know how to explain how much it makes my stomach flip flop to go out to these group rides by myself. They are really intimidating to me.

Finally, what I decided was that I would go to the bike shop after work. I knew I wanted to look around at little carriers to hold nutrition at the front of my bike and I figured I could pretend to be a shopper, check out the group, and then decide if I wanted to ride or not. When I was there I ended up asking some questions of one of the workers and he offered to introduce me to the person leading the ride. As soon as I went over, I introduced myself to him and said I wasn't sure if I should join, was new to riding on the road and with groups, and wasn't very fast. He said that I should absolutely join.

So that was that. I was one of 2 females at the ride, the other one was way beyond my level though. I rode in the back, riding the whole way with just the group "leader" who spent a lot of time trying to teach me about stopping properly and other techniques for riding on the road. This was my second group ride and second time that I spent the whole ride in the very back with just the "leader." Although I didn't feel as bad about it with this ride, since it was a free group ride and when I did it the last time, I was crashing a club ride. The guy was really nice and helpful and I only fell off my bike 2-3 times during the ride when trying to stop!

The group ride started at 6:30 p.m. and when we arrived back at the store it was getting dark out and everyone else had basically already returned and packed up and left. I actually totally forgot about doing a brick and didn't even think about running after I rode until I realized that I forgot. I didn't care though because I was just happy to have worked up the confidence to get out and ride with this group. My pace was probably a little faster than this, but not much - I just didn't stop my watch every time we hit a light or I fell off my bike...

Friday 4/8 - Swim practice (2400 M)

I really struggled to get myself out of bed on Friday morning to exercise. It was the start of feeling really unmotivated throughout the entire weekend. I did get out and swim and was really glad that I did, although I felt super exhausted throughout the whole thing.

We did some longer sets, which felt good, with some speed work included in - we did 25s on 40:20 and 50:20. Which means every other 25, you are basically hitting the wall after sprinting, having a second or two of rest, then heading out for another 25 with much longer rest.

In the evening on Friday, I originally intended on going for a run. But then I bailed on that, watched a lot of Broad City on TV, then drank beer.

Saturday 4/9 - 15.1 mile bike ride (1:02, 14.67 mph) + 1.61 mile run (15:04, 9:22 min/mile) 

I gave up.

Essentially, going into Saturday, I didn't really have a plan. I mentioned that I lacked a lot of motivation toward the end of the week. I just sort of had a lot on my mind and couldn't focus my mental energy towards training the way that I wanted or usually need to in order to have a good weekend. The weekend before I left to go to Mexico - I was sole focused on having an awesome training weekend and I did a 46 mile bike and a 10 mile run. This weekend was one of those where I look back to two weeks ago and think, "How did I even do that??"

I went out on Saturday afternoon to do a bike ride at Cartersville/Bud plant. I wanted to do around 45 miles. I told myself as I drove out there, at least do 30, because I knew I was lacking the energy and mental fortitude needed and thought that would help me.  Sometimes with running I would trick myself by saying, "Well, just go out and run 2 miles, then you can stop if you want." and normally I would keep going once I get in the groove. However, I couldn't get myself to keep going on this one.

When it comes to the split that the 30/60/100 mile routes went one way, and the 15 mile route went another... I turned down the shorter route. I got myself back to the start, FOUGHT SO HARD to get myself to run for 15 minutes and then I called it quits for the day. It was windy and I just didn't want to be there. Literally every minute of that 15 minute run was a battle. It felt terrible. And the bike ride was just a struggle.

Heading home, I felt really, really down about the ride. But, I also vowed to try again the next day.

Sunday 4/10 - 37.13 mile bike ride (2:40:52, 13.85 mph)

So, I did better today!

When I was sitting in my car, playing on my phone before driving home yesterday after my failed bike ride, I received an e-mail from the same cycling store that I rode with on Thursday. They were doing another group ride on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. and they had a 42 mile route for "moderate" paced riders (and a 55 mile route for "fast" riders.) I didn't know what that meant but I figured I would just go for it. I had a little bit of courage after riding with this store's groups on Thursday, and the distance was right around what I wanted to do and it was at a different route that I had heard about a lot but never tried.

I got up and got all ready and drove out to the route, which is referred to as "Silk Sheets" and it is a bit southwest of Atlanta. As soon as I pulled up, I thought "Oh my God, what was I thinking." and immediately wanted to turn around and drive home. Unfortunately, unlike when I was at the bike store, there wasn't really a way to "pretend" I wasn't there for the ride. Everyone was unloading their bikes and they looked like PROS. Super fit, super lean, all guys, in super professional looking gear. I had the hugest pit in my stomach and felt terrified.

I parked my car and asked a man next to me who was in an Atlanta Cycling (the bike store putting on the ride) kit if he knew who was leading the ride. He said, "Well, I am - until we get out - and then everyone is on their own." He was actually the guy who sends out the e-mails, who I had e-mailed with previously asking about the pace of some of the group rides. Okay, so I told him that I was probably going to lose the group in about 15 seconds once we started so if he could please just explain the route to me.

He replied with a bunch of stuff and I stood there staring at him and pretended that I understood the directions he gave. I'm not sure if my face was convincing at all, but I nodded and said, "Okay, sounds good - I'll just do my own thing and go out and come back!"

By my car, I finished getting all my gear together. It was COLD for a bike ride at about 50 degrees and no sun. I opted for full gloves and ear warmers and hopped on my bike over to the small group of  [semi-professional/elite/super fancy] riders that were waiting to take off. When I rode up someone said, "Are you with us?" and I replied "Well, I won't be as soon as we start riding."

I was the only girl in the group. And the only one without fancy booties covering the toes of my clip in cycling shoes. I was the only one not wearing a cycling kit with fancy logos all over it. I was so clearly an outsider with this group, it wasn't even funny.

We started off riding and I immediately dropped back and was behind everyone. I knew that the route was going to be an out-and-back so once we were on the right rode, I didn't care if I lost everyone. It was actually more intimidating to try and keep up so I just wanted to be on my own. The group had gotten me out and out of bed, I would have to fend for myself from then on.

However, a little bit in, I saw someone dropping back to check on me and it was Don, the guy who sends the e-mails and who I talked to before we started. He started chatting with me and immediately asked me, "How are you at drafting?" I replied that I was not good and I was new to group rides.

I should have also told him right then that I was also training for a triathlon, in which drafting is illegal, so that is something I usually avoid. But I didn't.

He proceeded to ride with me for the entire route, which I was very grateful for. He taught me about drafting and encouraged me to stay as tight behind him as possible. Even going down some of the hills where we picked up speed, I sometimes kept my wheel about a foot or two behind his, which was scary, but helped to cut down on the wind that I was facing. Don has daughters my age, travels to watch the Tour de France every year, and has been cycling this route since the 70s. He pointed out to me the fire chiefs house, different homes along the route that also belong to cyclists, and where I could go if I was ever out on the route and had a problem. We stopped about 16 miles in at a store and Don bought a coke and I ate one of my caramel waffle nutrition things and drank some water.

We spent the whole 37 miles with me practicing drafting off of him, which I didn't have the energy to explain that I didn't want to do that and was grateful for the company and for the help on the ride. My lack of motivation was still a struggle for me. He also encouraged me to use all my gears - "Don't save your gears!" he kept telling me. And we practiced turning and how to keep your body steady while leaning the bike to go through turns. We finished the ride at 37 miles and I was tempted to go out for another 3 miles but wanted to finish with my riding partner Don. I thought about running but at this point, couldn't admit to him that I was a triathlete and also totally didn't want to run. So I figured that Saturday would count as my brick for the weekend. Additionally, my toes were so numb that I couldn't feel my feet and had to practically jam them into my sneakers when I was changing because they were frozen solid and I couldn't bend them to get them in my shoe.

I cranked the heat, came home and got coffee and felt good about the mental victory of going for another group ride.

Overall, I am happy with the week. The two group rides that I did are huge mental wins for me. I know the distance is still shorter than what I need to be doing, but I am feeling accomplished by overcoming my fear of the groups. I'm a little nervous that I haven't gotten up to longer distances yet (50+ miles) but I have a few more weekends to get there.

P.S. I thought this was cool - a bunch of people parked in a local church parking lot for the ride, and the church had a sign up to say that it was okay for the cyclists to park there. Don told me that a couple years a go they did a big charity ride and raised money for the church to do some renovations, so now they love the cyclists and let them use their parking lot. I thought that was nice!

P.P.S. Don actually e-mailed me to tell me that I did a good job. I thought that was so nice and meant a lot to me. People keep telling me that I am doing a good job and I am going to get better fast... but I feel like such a lame-o on the bike. I mean, what else would he tell me after the ride, that I sucked? Writing the e-mail was above and beyond though, he didn't need to do that, so I thought it was really sweet.

1 comment:

  1. proud of you! i know that awkward feeling of being like "i don't belong here bc these people are serious and i'm such a rookie" but one day you will be one of those serious people and someone new will feel like you! also, how do you look so cute in headbands?!? it's not fair.