I did not cycle nearly as many miles as I should have in the beginning of my training for Wildflower. I was getting out, but many of my longer rides I had to cut short. I tried to compensate for my lack of outdoor miles by jumping on the indoor bike, doing some spinning classes etc.
I have started racking up some decent "outdoor" miles on my bike this past month. My latest long ride was Sunday. Adrian had this ridiculously long run with a group of other ultrarunners on the very eastside of town. That area of Tucson near Saguaro National Park and Colossal Cave has some wonderful scenery and is popular with cyclists.
Adrian started his 27-mile "fun run" up to the top of Mica Mountain and back at 6:30 a.m. It was chilly, so I drove back a ways into town and grabbed some coffee, before returning to the trailhead.
I feel more comfortable on the bike than ever before. My clipless pedals aren't so scary anymore. I knew how to shift before, but now I am using the bike more efficiently. I took a meandering tour eventually getting on Old Spanish Trail Road, an awesome cycling road for any of you who ever get out to Tucson. I road past Colossal Cave, where the Colossal Cave stage race was being held. I stopped and chatted with some other accomplished cyclists and triathletes - I swear they are everywhere here - and watched the bike race for awhile.
I started back only to have the cycling couple/triathletes I had left behind 15 minutes before come racing up behind me and of course pass me. The woman called out, 'Jump on board' and for a little while I did. I couldn't maintain their pace for longer than 15 minutes though and eventually fell about 50 feet behind.
I think training would be much easier if I had someone, who was better than me, to ride with regularly. Until then, I'm going have to keep poaching rides with random strangers.
Knowing that I will no longer be competing in the Wildflower killed my motivation to train. On Wednesday after I found out the race was on Sunday and I made the decision not to compete I didn't even want to play soccer let alone work out. One of my friends that I'm doing a reverse order mini triathlon with in April was even bugging me to come to the gym yesterday and I didn't go. I think I'm over it though. The part I'll miss most is the change in elevation. I was really excited to have that competitive advantage.
Don't worry, I'm still going to compete in a triathlon - just not one quite so prestigious. While it's anti-climactic shopping for a local tri after my most recent plans to have 3 friends accompany me to California for a couple of days of fun, there's consolation in knowing that a little extra time to improve my swimming will definately not hurt. I guess the biggest upside is that I'll be in even better shape as I'll be continuing to train throughout May. Not that I didn't have aspirations to continue working out after the race but let's be honest - races really do provide good focus and it's harder to get out the door without that race hanging over you.
Let me go ahead an lay out my progression in the swim starting in January and going through March.
January: This was a tough month and almost broke my spirit in even doing the triathlon. I am extremely competitive and just could not do the swim where as the run and bike I was doing well with. I flopped around the pool struggling through every day I had to jump in the pool and perform the training program laid out for me. I had no sort of breathing technique and I could barely do a 75m freestyle(and that was right when I hopped in the pool).
February: Things started to look positive. I was making progress and the drills seemed to be helping, but not a whole lot. I also could not stand the drills because I could barely do them without stopping and catching my breath. The kick drill was a nightmare too and seemed to really get my shin splints going. By the end of this month I had progressed on my freestyle, but only to 200m when I was fresh. I had to switch to the breast stroke after that so I could catch my breath. My breathing technique was starting to form and I was taking a breath every third stroke.
-- March: I had started completing all of the swim drills, but I felt like the progress on my freestyle swim was about maxed out because I just kept running out of breath. This was pretty important because my breast stroke was signifigantly important and I knew the only way I was going to be competitive at the Wildflower was to get better at the freestyle swim. After watching other people swim, I decided to changemy breathing to every other stroke. That was the trick! Now I can do all of my swim training in freestyle mode and don't have to switch to the breast stroke.
I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that I can focus on my swim technique without having to worry so much about suffocating from lack oxygen. April isgoing to be a good month.
I wanted to say thanks to H20 Audio for hooking me up with a waterproof headphone system and I-Pod shuffle to get me motivated during my swim training. When I got the system, I was skeptical on how they would work and totally thought they would fall out. After 4 different swims with them, I can tell you that I am pleasantly surprised that they have not come out once yet. The other swimmers are obviously jealous as I glad through the water blasting a little Bon Jovi and Guns N' Roses. Nothing like a little Hair Metal to get me fired up in the pool. Thanks H20 Audio.
P.S. Did I mention they helped increase my form tremendously. Check out my pic below.
Did they change the day of the race? I was told it was on May 2nd and have been planning on that since last year.
I went to rent a bike and they told me the olympic race is on Sunday. I double checked my registration and there is no date. When I click on the olympic link on the wildflower site it says it's on Sunday, May 3rd as well. Before the schedule wasn't complete and didn't make any sense but now it has the olympic race clearly set on the 3rd. Is this news to anybody else?
San Francisco - for those of you not in the know - is hilly and a perfect place to get some much needed training in. And that's what I did while I was attending a convention there last week.
My husband, Adrian, has become my running coach and taskmaster. Naturally, he got us up early Friday morning to hit the streets of San Francisco. We started in Union Square and headed towards Chinatown. As we headed through the Chinatown gates most of the stores were still closed - their windows protected with plywood - and only a few shopkeepers were roaming about the front stoops.
We climbed up - arrghhh these hills -- and then plateaued as we approached North Beach. We kept to its edge, passed the famous City Lights bookstore and then made our way to Washington Square, where on an average morning you might see Italians sipping espresso and seniors practicing Tai Chi. It is here my favorite breakfast restaurant - Mama's - exists. We grubbed on some serious eats, hiked up to Coit Tower and then pounded out another mile or more back to the hotel.
OK, later that day we left San Fran and arrived in Glen Elen, a small town in Sonoma County. We decided to get a longer run in and took off from the Glen Elen Inn. We completed about a five-mile loop along small rolling hills, past ancient Zinfandel vines - per Adrian - and homes big and small. Adrian kept us off the main roads and even though I struggled a bit in the beginning and middle, we made it back to the room without stopping.
The final run. The next morning we drove up to Jack London State Park. Adrian took me on a trail run that began at about 400 feet up to the park summit near Sonoma Mountain at about 2,400 feet. We walked up the steep uphill and ran the whole way down. My quads were screaming at the end and a day later they were still rebelling.
I'd love to hear from some other guys on the first tri about any interesting runs they've been on lately.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, last week I met Victor Plata, the 2007 and 2008 winner of the Pacific Grove Triathlon among other races. I was attending the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association and had decided to participate in the Chain Reaction spinning event. The event, hosted by HealthCorps and Star Trac, is an effort to raise money in the fight against childhood obesity. HealthCorps is an non-profit started by Dr. Oz - you know the doc that's on Oprah all the time.
Anyway, Chain Reaction held hourly spinning classes led by an instructor and featuring special guests. I participated in three spinning events and that's where I met fitness icon Kathy Smith and later Victor Plata. After my last spinning session, which just happened to be the one Plata took part in, I had to ask him a few rookie questions. Like, so is Wildflower hard? And, do have any advice?
Here's what he had to say about preparing for Wildflower.
1. It's hilly. I knew that, but he had this advice for training. Go out on your bike and pick a long steady hill, work at 70 percent, and stick with it for 10 minutes in your big gear. Build up to three 10 minute reps for 30 minutes -- always on a long hill. He said this will prepare us for that first mile from the transition, which apparently is straight up a steep hill.
2. Unless you're a strong swimmer, let the pack pass and then get in the water. Plata says unless you're used to swimming in a thrashing, chaotic sort of scene it's best to stick to the edge and let the really fast guys go first. Victor wasn't trying to freak me out. He just said swimming in a pool is very different then running from a beach into the water along with dozens of others.
3. Do lots of brick workouts. So bike and then run. Swim, bike and run. This he says is the best preparation. Gale already has us doing this, but I thought it would be good to mention it here too. I know I haven't done enough of brick workouts.
Thanks Victor for the words of advice and encouragement.
I had running shoes on yesterday when I found myself stranded with some friends on the side of the road after the car we were in broke down. We had just met at a parking lot that was now on the other side of the freeway from us where we had left another car. As it only seemed like a couple of miles I offered to run and grab the other car and said I'd be back in 20 minutes. It was much further then I expected but there was a nice 5% grade in my favor for the last bit. When I got to the car I calculated that 21 minutes had passed so with driving I figured 25 minutes had passed by the time I got back. According to google maps that stretch of road is 3.8 miles. We weren't quite to the entrance of Micron so I'd round down to at least 3.5 but that doesn't sound quite right so 24 minutes would probably be a safer bet. A 7 to 8 minute/mile pace sounds feasible.
Anyway, it was a fun way to get in what turned out to be my only work out for the day as by the time we ate, finished our activity and got the car pulled down the same route I ran and then some with a tow rope ... let's just say I missed the Orem rec closing time of 10pm. Don't worry though, I got up and played basketball at 6:30 this morning so I'm not a complete slacker.
Traveling on business generally crimps my style. My workouts are less frequent, I can't cook at home and my eating schedule can fluctuate. I just happen to be on a business trip that has helped at least maintain my training, although a little unconventionally.
I am in San Francisco attending the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association convention. I spent the week sitting in on various seminars - a standard convention activity. I've also spent a fair amount of time on the trade room floor trying out treadmills, Pilates reformers, Gravity trainers, Bosu, stability balls - you get the point.
The convention also had a few sports and fitness icons. Joe Montana spoke about teamwork and leadership and Olympian Dara Torres talked about developing a champion attitude. I even met Kathy Smith. For those of you who don't know Kathy, well let's just say she one of the first to produce a line of aerobics/fitness videos back in the '80s and '90s.
I had a few other experiences at the show that I'll put in future posts -- so keep an eye out - including a conversation with Victor Plata, winner of the San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island in 2008 and the Pacific Grove Tri in 2007 and 2008. He won the Collegiate National Championship at Wildflower in 1997. I uploaded a video of Victor talking about his 2008 Pacific Grove win. Interesting and just a cool tri video to watch. I'll post my very casual interview with Victor soon. He gave some great tips on training and getting through Wildflower, which he plans to compete in this year.
It finally feels like I'm reaching the home stretch on training and I'm starting to feel like I am actually prepared for my first triahtlon. The workouts have definitley jumped to a whole new level of intensity between the 40+ mile bike rides and 7-9 mile runs on the weekend back to back. I'm putting a lot more time in at the pool too, but that does not suck the life out of me like the rides and the runs. So, I've decided to take it easy this week and not run or bike Today, Tomorrow, or Saturday. Instead, I am going to let my legs heal all the way up so I can get back to putting stronger efforts into all of my training. After this little "break" I am not going to not miss anything and just put my head down and focus on getting the most out of these last few weeks before I try to tackle the hills of the Wildflower.
Great job with the Who Wants to Get Active program blogging contest! You all did so well that we decided to have another contest. It will
run from now through April 30. This time you can only win in one category though--we didn't want Levi snatching them all up again .
Awards will be handed out for:
Most blogs from now through April 30
Most comments on other participants' blogs from now through April 30
Funniest blog post from now through April 30
Best true story and blog post about motivating another person to Get Active (For example: "i motivated my lazy dad to go running with me when he was visiting" or "I forced my kids to go hiking and they had so much fun they now beg me to take them!")
$100 to your favorite restaurant
$100 to a sporting goods store of your choice
A one-hour massage
And another surprise!
Be sure to check out the other team blogs and comment on those too as the contest includes all 16 participants on Bye Bye Baby Weight, Team First Marathon, Rookie Runners and Your own First Triathlon team.
Way to go in your training so far and keep up the great work!
Ok, so here's my video of the dreaded "Gauntlet." Don't even ask what I was trying to say at the end. My cycling buddy was bugging me to get a move on before we were ran over so I didn't get a chance to redo it.
So there are 6 weeks left and I'm feeling like I could use 6 more months of training. Especially when it comes to swimming. I've worked my way back up in biking and running but in swimming I feel hopelessly behind. Everyone keeps on telling me that if I just keep moving then I'll finish before the cut off. I hope that's true.
The weather has started to warm up allowing for our first ultimate frisbee games of the season on Saturday. Over 2 hours of good solid exercise. If it weren't for my hip bugging me from playing basketball before it would have been the perfect day. That and my hops definately weren't there. I'm wondering if squats are messing me up. All I know is I'd go to jump and midway into the air in both of my upper calves I'd feel some kind of a pulse where my calves just gave out and were like that's all we have and it wasn't enough. I've noticed the same problem in basketball but that was right after working out. This was at least a day after which was kind of disconcerting. If anything I was hoping to come out of this with a little more of a vertical but I guess I can worry about that in May.
The Temecula/Murrieta, CA area is a super clean family oriented community which I am happy to live in. The weather is always within a few degrees of San Diego and it's pretty easy to stay active outdoors. The only issue is that it is a growing community and a lot of the conveniences that more developed areas have have simply not been built yet. Below is a couple complaints.
-- Lack of pools: Their is literally less than 5 pools in this area that are even semi-accessible to the public. 2 are at other gyms that I don't have a membership to, 1 is at a swim training facility which you have to be taking lessons at to access it, another is a community pool that is open to the public that's always a mess. Which leaves me with my only real option that is the pool at 24 hour fitness. There I can use their 25m, 5 lane pool with my membership. Unfortunately, I have to wait until after 9:30 PM during the week to even be gauaranteed a lane to swim in. Ahhhh!!!
Not many bike lanes: This area is growing way faster than the current road system can handle which leaves everyone on bikes fighting for a piece of the road with all of the cars. Their is one particular scary 2 mile stretch that I have to ride on almost every time I go on a ride. On this particular stretch, it is a two lane road with no divider, no bike lane, a speed limit of 50mph (which is usually 60), a shoulder that conisists of loose dirt that leads into a barbwire fence, and rolling hills which help to abstruct driver's vision. One of my favorite loops through the wine country is almost as bad and that's a shame because less experienced cyclicts don't even atempt this ride and its gotta be one of the most scenic loops in the area. Look for a couple video and picture blogs that should be coming soon showing the Ups and Downs of Riding in the 951.
I hope a member of the Temecula/Murrieta City Councils gets a hold of this blog and addresses these issues before I lose my mind.