A Time Trial and Strength Training

07/18/2014

Whoa – two posts in one week!? I must be getting wild!

I have been jealous every week I’ve seen the results and people talking about the time trial up at the speedway, which I’ve done quite a bit in the past, so I wanted to make it a point to get my butt out there and do at least one this year. After doing it, maybe “jealous” was a bit of a stretch.

I had to take my dogs to the vet on Wednesday 😦 so I took a half day at work which helped motivate me to do this particular one. Trying to leave work to get ready and get up to Concord at 5:30 is normally a huge buzz kill. It was nice to be a bit more relaxed about this one. We arrived with plenty of time to warm up a little before Derek’s start at 6:30. It was his first event and I was more nervous for him than myself!! I like when the pressure is off me. 🙂 He did great for his first time ever and I know he’s got more in him next time. Part of time trialing is just figuring out just how hard you are capable of going for that exact distance – no more and no less. He rode at his exact goal speed and had “fun” doing it!

After watching Derek finish his ride I started my own a little before 7:30. I hit it hard the first lap and tried to get settled into a good groove that I could sustain for the next 6. I didn’t actually watch my power this time because I didn’t want to be discouraged if it was significantly lower than I’m used to seeing in past time trials. Head games. 🙂 So I set a goal speed (26.5) and just watched it and my distance the whole time. And tried to not to puke.

I wish I could say I felt awesome but after about 2 laps, I did not. By the 6th lap, I saw 7.25 miles and was delirious about if this was my last lap or my 6th. I came around the 4th turn on what I had hoped was my 7th lap, but looked down and saw 8 miles and almost quit. I take full responsibility for this. I had a really small lunch that day since work was very busy (read: cup of soup) and nothing but two hard-boiled eggs before we left for the track. I was starving before the ride so I knew energy would be an issue but I came unprepared with any gels or food. By lap 7, I was seriously out of gas. I pressed on as hard as I could and kept telling myself, ok, pick it up at the 3rd turn. Then I’d try, and I wouldn’t go any faster, so I’d think, ok pick it up at the 4th turn, and the same. The finishing stretch was all about not falling off my bike, honestly.

I was shooting for 22:40 and I finished in 22:39- not too shabby a time prediction on my part! The craziest/best/funniest part is that this was actually the highest 20 minute power test I’ve ever done!? After I’d caught my breath and caught up with Derek, I checked out my average watts and lo and behold, my jaw hit the floor. Given my time was over a minute slower than my best there at the speedway, I figured my watts would correlate (since it wasn’t super windy)…but surprise!

I’ll get on a little soapbox now for just a brief moment. The past year and a half since my foot injury has taught me the importance and benefit of cross training and, more importantly, strength training. When I was knee-deep in swim bike run, I used yoga as my sole method of strength training – which is not a bad form I’ll say. These days however, I do TONS of burpees, short 100/200 meter sprints, tons of pushups, planks, squats (body weight, jump and weighted), lunges, side shuffling, and in general just a significant amount more strength training. I continue to be surprised to see some of my results this year not be too dramatically off where they used to be when I was solely focused on swim, bike, run training, which is definitely attributed to my overall increased strength. Now there are definitely workouts I could / should do that are swim, bike, run specific, that in conjunction with my strength training, would net great results, but I’m not into being all too focused right now – more just doing what feels good, having fun and staying fit. I will say though, less is more!

My time was good enough for 2nd female as I was edged out by another great rider Sarah by 4 seconds. Makes you look back and think “doh, shouldn’t have let up that time” but I did the best I could and she also had a great ride! Congrats Sarah!

If you are around uptown during the week and want to join our little group sessions during lunch, anyone is welcome! We work super hard but have tons of fun! I’m also happy to plan such workouts for anyone who might be interested!

Happy Friday all!


Jimmie Johnson 5k and LKN Excursion 65 mile ride

07/17/2014

This past weekend I decided to run my first stand-alone 5k in about 4-5 years and my first organized bike ride in probably 2 years! I love the LKN Excursion and have done it a few times in the past when training for Ironman, and this year (or maybe last?), they added a 5k before the ride. I was gonna be up there to do the ride I might as well get a run in too! Efficiency at its finest.

JJ 5k

The 5k was up first and it certainly reminded me why I don’t tend to do them very often – they’re REALLY hard. My overall lack of fast twitch muscles also doesn’t bode well for short distance, fast run running but I work with what I have. 🙂 I tried to remind myself that the run was primarily a workout, but in the back of my mind it was also as a little “test” to see how well (or not well) all my cross-training / athletic conditioning type workouts are doing for my fitness vs. solely swim, bike, run.

I lined up about 4 people back from the front behind a few speedsters with the goal of running a little below or right at 24 minutes. I thought that would be a push, but feasible given I haven’t been running much. The first mile I felt good (you usually always do), the second mile I felt not-quite-as-good, and the third I felt like complete dog doo. My mile splits went from fast, to fast-ish, to slow-ish. I found some speed for the first ~15 minutes, and then it slowly escaped me but I pressed on despite a massive, overwhelming urge to walk about 2.2 miles in. There is something to be said to just knowing how to suffer, I suppose. I finished in 21:54 which was enough for 5th female / 1st age group. Small field 🙂 If only I could have stayed on pace mile 3 with mile 1 and 2…but overall I was pleased to achieve my goal for the day! 5k – check!

LKN Excursion

In years past, any opportunity to ride a 100 mile supported, organized ride, I was all over it. This year, I was not – I opted for the ~65 miler at LKN Excursion. I had a bit of trepidation about my 60+ mile bike ride fitness as the longest ride I’ve done in quite some time is about 50 (without a 5k sufferfest beforehand) but figured why the hell not give it a try! I expressed my 65-mile trepidation to my friend and his response was “you’ll be fine, we’ll just sit up front and hammer”. Welllllll ok. 🙂 Definitely not the “we’ll just ride easy” response I thought I’d get – time to put on my big girl pants!

The weather was great, hot and humid which I’ll take any day on my bike over windy and cold (side rant: people – it’s July, it’s North Carolina – it’s hot, it’s humid – fact! If you don’t like the heat, this is likely not your state. If you’re surprised by the heat “this year”, I don’t understand – it’s hot every. single. year! Complaining doen’st make it cooler. End rant – back to business). I set out with the front group and felt great riding their pace and even doing a little work upfront myself. After 10 or so miles we got organized into our small-ish group and were able to do some really fun pace lining, put out a nice fast pace, and enjoy riding hard at times, and not quite as hard at others. I had forgotten (with all my due respect) just how awful some people handle their bikes and how awful they are to ride in groups with, but overall, it was a safe, fun ride with great people.

Sadly, about 25-30 miles in, that humid 5k started to take a toll on me. I forgot my salt tabs (which help with cramping) and tore through my 2 bottles of water/nutrition on my bike within the first 60-90 minutes so I was left scratching my head about what I was going to do with ~90 min of riding left to do an no fuel. For a 60 mile ride, most people will have enough nutrition on their bike so they don’t have to stop. And if you actually get in with a good group of people to ride with, you don’t a.) want to ask the whole group stop (cause they won’t – especialy when timing chips are involved) and b.) want to stop because then your group will take off. With my great group surrounding me, I blew past the rest station at mile 30 but by mile 45 my calves were cramping so terribly on every pedal stroke I knew I had to get some fluid and nutrition. THANKFULLY, three awesome guys said they would stop with me, I guzzled a whole bottle of Gatorade, crammed two salty crackers in my mouth, topped off and we were back on the road. We didn’t have the big group we had before but at least there were 4 of us to share the work. We still managed a decent pace after the stop and still had just as good of a time for the last ~20 miles. I felt very thankful they stopped with me – riding alone is the pits!

If you are training for something or just like to ride, I highly recommend this ride in the future. Great course, great support, and great people! I’m glad I decided to do this event and will likely be supporting in the future!

I wrapped up my day after a coma-like nap at the Justin Timberlake concert where I danced myself into the ground, had entirely too much to drink and had a really awesome time with my three favorite girls! It was quite the day – needless to say, Sunday was “less awesome” but totally worth it!