Sunday, June 15, 2008

Week 2 in the books

The short version of my second full week of tri training consisted of a short run on Monday, swimming in the pool on Tuesday, track circuit drills on Wednesday, swimming at Shadow Cliffs on Thursday (yuck yuck), knitting on Friday (what, knitting isn't a triathlon-related sport?), running and swimming on Saturday and cycling on Sunday. I'm feeling pretty good about it, except for the pain in my lower back from track, the pain in my calves from the cramping they did in the pool and the headache from lack of sleep. Otherwise, everything is cool. My knee hurts too but, well, it's going to so nevermind.

Saturday morning I arrived at our workout at Foothill High School ready to jump in the pool and -- it had been changed. I never did get the announcement but we were locked out of the pool until 9:00 am so we were going to run first. I grumbled back to my car, crawled into the back seat and changed out of my swimsuit and into running gear. Grrr. I was already in a cranky mood because of lack of sleep and that didn't help. We had a clinic on running form, then took off. I decided to take off with the Half IM group so I could get in extra miles but it ended up not making much difference. We were running a little loop around the school, about 1.5 miles, and I really just had time to go around twice.

The route started off flat but then there was a large downhill. In the past I would have just screamed down, and in fact I started doing just that, but I got a twinge in my knee and remembered in time that running downhill is not great for my particular aggravation. I slowed down (bummer, I hate slowing when I don't actually do it naturally) and wondered what the corresponding uphill was going to be like. Steep! I decided that since it was such short route I'd just power up, no slowing or walking. Coach Paul and I had a short talk about the downhill when I circled around and he recommended that I walk it; I think my comment was something like I know that would be the smart thing to do, but walk a downhill? It just seemed wrong. I ended up taking it faster the second time around and it only hurt a little bit more than the first time. The uphill, on the other hand, seemed much harder the second time around.

When we all finished running we changed into swimsuits and had another short clinic, this time on swim form. Interesting information. Then we jumped in the water and the pool was amazingly hot. I don't think I've ever swam in a pool that warm, it was like a bathtub. I had hoped that it would cool me down after the run but it just increased my body temp. I went in with the intermediate group, figuring that like last week I'd never get the entire workout done in the time anyway. I was wrong, I got it all done. Despite my calves which kept cramping up. It wasn't electrolytes (or lack of them) since I was drinking Ultima and had a salt tablet mixed in with the drink. I don't think it was dehydration since I drank a lot of fluids on Friday. It wasn't that the water was cold. No idea. But I tried to ignore the cramping and bull through it, just to get the workout done. I added up the yardage (and promptly forgot the result) but I think I swam about 1200 yards total. Or so.

When the workout was almost over I decided to ask the coach overseeing our group if he had any suggestions for improving my technique. I'm getting tired of always veering off to the right and my right arm is very sore from thwacking it against the lane separators all the time. I mean all the time. He had me swim another lap, watched me, and had some interesting comments. Apparently I swim crooked with my left arm; I throw it too far over to the right. Also, although I pivot nicely onto my right side (when breathing to the left), I don't pivot well on the left side (when breathing to the right). Wow, this is fixable! I've only been doing both-side breathing since we started swimming a couple of months ago so rolling a bit more is just one more thing to keep in mind. And I'll work on straightening my left arm stroke. Hey, this coaching stuff is worthwhile! Yay!

I was pretty achy and tired when the workout was over. A large group of us threw on dry clothes and went and had pizza. It was great getting to know some of my teammates a bit better. It's just like the marathon team, more of the mentors and captains showed up than participants. I'm not sure why that happens, going out after the workouts is one of the things that makes being on the team fun. Afterwards I had a lovely nap.

Sunday morning was a chance to sleep in a bit since our run wasn't scheduled until 8:30 am and we were meeting right off the freeway in Walnut Creek. It wasn't a chance I took full advantage of because I awoke at what's becoming my normal wake time of 4 am. Yuck. I stayed in bed and drowsed until I gave up a couple of hours later.

I started the morning again feeling cranky (yeah, it's becoming a pattern) and didn't really have high hopes for a good ride. The Olympic group was supposed to ride for an hour, the Half IM group for 90 minutes. I decided that 80 minutes would be good for me (where do I come up with these ideas??) and since we all started at about the same time, figured I'd be back before the last people. The route was very familiar since it was the same one Bree and I have been riding, only in reverse. Down Danville Road to San Ramon Valley Road and back again. Easy peasy.

I stuck with a few people for the first several miles, riding mostly behind and pacing off of Claudia. Not drafting, since that's a tri no-no, but a couple of lengths back. She asked if I wanted to pass but I was happy there. We had a strong headwind but were still cruising along at a decent clip. Finally she stopped at a red light while I caught it right when it changed so I sped on past.

I knew there was one and only one hill on the route and was pretty sure I'd be climbing it. Sure enough, I was at just about the halfway point when it appeared before me. I was warmed up and feeling fine by then, threw it in my granny gear and slowly made it to the top and over. I think a headwind on an uphill is just adding insult to injury. I wasn't in the mood to go down the other side and have to climb back up so I turned around.

That's when the real fun began. Downhill and a tail wind. Wheeee! I bent down into the drops, held on and pedaled away. Didn't put it in gear mind you, just spinning to keep my legs from stiffening up. I had some speed happening there and it felt wonderful. I slowed down for the lights but the entire way back I powered along with that wind and felt strong and fast. I blew past Claudia and ended up back at the start with something like a 10 minute negative split. Dang, that meant my ride was short! Didn't matter, my cruddy mood was gone with the wind and I was happy. Sore, but happy.My ride ended up being a measly 14 miles but the average was higher than the rides I did with Bree and I certainly wasn't working as hard to get that. I know the wind was the major reason but I'll delude myself for a while that training helps too. Makes me feel a little better about the Tri for Fun which is in -- holy scumwater -- less than a week.

I'm feeling better about the training (and the team) (and my general fitness level) this week. I have a feeling that will change week to week, depending on my energy level and pain. Er, I mean discomfort. No pain here! This week I'm realizing that while I'm a novice at this, there are others who are novicer than I. I get the work done and do the drills and the workouts at a higher level than my event calls for. I've dropped a couple of pounds, I'm getting tanned (ooops) and fit. What more can I ask for?

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