Sunday, February 24, 2013

FUN in the Sun!

After last weekend it finally hit me, exhaustion!  Yes, I am human & Yes, I was expecting it at some point... everyone warns you it will strike usually at the end of Build I.  Mine hit a week later at the end of recovery week. The hills of Vanderpool sucked every last ounce of energy I had left in me.  By Sundays long run I was dragging along, good thing it was a recovery week and all we had to do was 8miles.  My fatigue was confirmed by my heart rate, I was struggling to keep in zone 2 at a lot slower pace than I would normally go.
Monday swim is always a welcomed workout.  Mainly because it's active recovery & that's usually "all" I have to do for that day, but also because it feels great to shake out your muscles from the weekends workouts.
 Tuesday Kris, Shelly, & I rode out to Castroville for a donut.  It's always a nice treat when we can all get off from work a little early and get a ride in.  There was a nasty headwind on the way back, but the day was sunny and beautiful, so it made it less painful.  Regardless of weather conditions, and believe me we've been tested by a few days recently, it's always a privilege to be able to be outside in mid-February... and in short sleeves! :-)
Wednesday I had a great swim, followed by a wonderful trip down memory lane, 6mile track workout. I went to the track at Brandeis HS around 2:30pm, there was only one group of kids with their coach.  I asked if it would be ok if I ran & got the ok.  By the time  finished, half of the high school was on or around the track!  Surprisingly, I was able to get my workout in with too much crowding.  I started my warm up and was quickly drawn back to 1994.  Probably the last time I had ran on a track, senior year of high school.  My workout called for 4x800 with recovery in between.  As I was huffing & puffing, "sprinting" my 800's, the young kids were running in the outside lane, chatting away & laughing keeping up with my "sprint"!  Ahhh, man it was so easy when I was young! :-)
Thursday and Friday were both great workouts, and then came the weekend!  70mile steady ride.  Finally!!! A true "recovery" ride.  We decided to keep it light and keep it FUN!  It was a beautiful sunny day and we had a nice tailwind in many directions!  The ride from TA to Exxon started out cold as usual, but by 5miles out we were all pealing layers!  Luckily, Herb met us at the Exxon to ride to Castroville and back with us, so we through our layers in his car.  The ride to Castroville was flat and fast... it seems that the promise of a donut is like a light at the end of the tunnel!  We quickly grabbed our donut and started on the return trip.  From Exxon to TA, Kris, Alphanso, & I cruised back leaving it all out on the road.  It was a strong finish to a really FUN ride!

Today's run with Kris ranked right up there with yesterdays ride.  Sunny, beautiful weather and a nice conversational zone 2 run= FUN!  Again, up until last week all of our long runs ended with some efforts or we were racing 13.1, so it was nice to be able to enjoy a run, no pressure.
This weekend ended up being a much needed "break" from the last two long rides/ runs we had done & which each of us found "less than fun" at one point or another.  I know training isn't suppose to be FUN all of the time, but it's a nice reset point to come back to every now and then, especially when you hit the exhaustion point.  Now it's time to hit Build 2 with a strong positive attitude and a tank full of FUN!!! :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vanderpool... aka: Recovery Week

After last weeks century ride, followed by a 16mile run, not to mention the weekday workouts that led up to that... I was definitely ready for recovery week.  Although a few weeks ago I put two and two together and realized the infamous Vanderpool ride was going to fall on our recovery week.  That meant we would be riding less, but we would be riding Texas "mountains".  For the past year I had been listening to my Iron-friends talk about "the Vanderpool ride"!  Any ride during which complaints were aired could usually be followed up with... "not worse than Vanderpool!"  I heard all about Shelly's panic attack, Santiago's speed wobble on a decent, and various other stories that contributed to an ulcer in the weeks approaching.
So Saturday came, just like any other day I've dreaded.  Kris & I drove up to Vanderpool together, 1.5hrs from San Antonio.  As we drove up Kris kept me entertained with more Vanderpool horror stories and details about camp coming up in March.  She made it clear, and has allowed me to hold her to her word, that if I can do Vanderpool, I can do camp.  As we neared Vanderpool, we drove up a very steep hill and back down the backside... "this is our first climb."  O.M.G.
We got to the parking lot, which would serve as our transition area for the next 3 out and backs.  When the gang was all there, Dawn explained to the group our game plan.  First out & back: 4miles out, 1mile climb & back.  Second: to Leakey and back.  Third: I have no idea what she said at that point, I just knew it was going to be hard!

Let's ride!  It was the third time riding Zion & I expected nothing but great things from her.  Four miles out, the weather was cold, but sunny, with a slight wind.  Not bad compared to the past few weekends. We were already warned not to go throwing off layers as we climbed because the decent would cool us back down plenty!  Suddenly, I was staring at the wall!  OK, time to climb.  Pedal, pedal, pedal, breathe, breathe, breathe.  Pedal, breathe, pedal, breathe.  Whatever I had to do to get to the top... just keep pedaling!  And just when you think you've reached the top, the second half comes into view... WHAT?!  What am I going to do now?, other then PEDAL!  I finally made it to the top & Coachie was there waiting with a big smile!  What goes up, must come down.  1mile decent... Whhhhhheeeeeee!!!  I'm never out to break the sound barrier, so I was feathering on my brakes the whole time.  My max speed on that decent was 36.5.
Round two, 15miles out to Leakey and back. Within the first mile, BOOM!, Texas "mountain"!  The kind that you can see in front of you and then again off in the distance to the right, still climbing!  Then came the switch backs.  Kris had warned me, that this road was heavily traveled by motorcyclists & race cars.  As I climbed, I knew exactly why.  The road looked exactly like one that you would see in a Ferrari commercial that starts off with: expert drivers only, done on a closed road.  As I struggled both physically and mentally, I watched convertibles go flying by me and thought, "what a nice day to be out for a ride... in a convertible!"  By the time I reached Leakey, I was convinced I was DONE!
I had thought of very excuse in my head not to continue on.  I just wanted to get in the SAG vehicle and take my lashings from Coachie.  I walked over to Dawn, knowing I was about to step on hot coals!  "Coachie, I can't do this anymore.  I'm too tired & it hurts!"  "You're doing great!  This is your first time, it's suppose to be hard."  "I know, you're right... Yell at me some more!"  "You already had your hall pass on New Years Day... You're finishing this ride!"  ...OK...
I made it back from Leakey with every last once of energy left in my body determined that I was NOT going on the third leg.  Next thing I knew we were clipping in and heading out again.  OK, I will ride as long as I can while it's flat.  Then came the Texas "mountain", 1.5miles worth.  Pedal, pedal, breathe, breathe... just keep moving.  If I make it to the top, then I can get in the SAG.  As I slowly passed Alphonso I confessed to him I was getting int he SAG next time it came by.  He asked me nicely if I wanted him to wait with me until they came.  I told him I would wait for them to come & he urged me to keep pedaling until they came.  Again, next thing you know I'm at the top!  Ok, I will enjoy the decent and get in the SAG for the rest of the 5miles back.   Whhhheeeee!!!  At the bottom of the decent Kris & I grabbed onto Dawn & Jeff's wheel and drafted our way home.  DONE... well riding at least.
Afterwards, we "quickly" transitioned into our running clothes and headed out for a 30min run.  "Whoa, we are going way too fast, 8:23 pace!"  But no one slowed down, including myself!  We finished the day off with a 3.47mile run in 30min... 8:39 pace!  Where did THAT come from?!  I think Coachie riding along side of us on her bike helped :-)

Today, I think it all caught up to me.  Our recovery run of 8miles was done at a 9:40 pace & I felt like it was work to keep that up.  After our run Kris & I headed to the pool for a nice 2000yd PBB workout.  Wow, just what I expected... every single muscle was sore!  But nothing a relaxing swim can't work out.
So, in terms of "recovery" week, I feel I got ripped off.  But in terms of building strength & character, I got a full dose!  THIS is IM training... and I'm in the heart of it!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My First Century Ride!

Today I rode my first century ride!  The glitz and glamour that surrounds this initiation into Ironman training was definitely all that I imagined!  All week I had been daydreaming; imagining how amazing, comfortable, tiring, painful, etc., etc., my first 100 mile ride was going to be.  Allen had picked up my birthday present in Houston last Saturday, so this would be my first inaugural ride with Zion, my new P3 Cervelo!  I spent the week getting her ready; bike fit, CatEye odometer, bottle cages.  I brought my QR bike just incase I needed to get use to my new bike slowly.  Yeah right, I knew from the start, if she felt right... she was in for the long haul :-)

Our day started early, meet at Coachie's house 7am.  Dawn, Kris, Orissa, Brian, Alphonso, Nick, Mitch, Dale, Jeff, & Enrique... Team Tri-Belief training :-)  And of course, Devon, Dawn's son, who was nice enough to be our sag support for "a few" hours.  It was a first time century ride for Alphonso & I, so Coachie wanted to make it extra special!  As we left Coachie's house and headed up Blanco Rd., I got a quick flashback to our New Year's day ride (reminder- I tapped out that ride!) except this time a few things were different.  Slightly warmer, definitely less wind, it wasn't wet or rainy (yet!), and oh yes... a new carbon fiber bike with a few more gears to play with! {Thank you Brian Loftin :-) }  As I settled into my new big girl bike, I knew this was going to be the start of a beautiful friendship & a great inaugural ride!

Being new to San Antonio, I still don't know the roads very well, so it's always nice to be able to follow a group.  I like to think that works both for and against me.  I had somewhat of an idea that we were heading north, and to the north there are HILLS!  But that was only an idea, I truly didn't expect what we were about to ride!  As I said, Coachie wanted to make it special :-)  Climb, climb, climb.... Whhheeeeeee, downhill!!!  Rewind and Repeat... for the next 6 hours!!!  A few hours after the ride Coachie informed us we had climbed 5000+... EXTRA special!!!  Again, ignorance is bliss.

About 1 hour in the temperature started to drop and the drizzle started :-{  Oh well, we were no strangers to these conditions.  It seems the past few rides have all included some sort of rain & cold temps.  Ride ON!  Each stop for food & restroom break made it harder & harder to start back up.  It was getting colder, and I was getting more tired!  Ride ON!  A few times I couldn't tell the difference between larger rain droplets or mud being slung at my face... OUCH!  Especially on the downhill, which I always enjoy so much to go fast... it would just hurt worse!  Ride ON!

I was hoping the rain would stop and the sun would start to peek through like it had on our last ride.  Nope, rain until 100.0 miles!  But that didn't stop me from smiling the whole ride :-)  As we approached Dawn's house the odometer was nearing 100 miles.  My OCD had Dawn take me around the block as to not stop short... 99.6, no way!  99.9...100.00!!!  WooHoo!!!  There were no bells & whistles or champagne popping as I had dreamed of earlier in the week, just a huge smile & high five from my Coachie!  D.O.N.E.!!! :-)

It's a privilege to be a part of a new group of awesomeness, I thank everyone that was along on that crazy ride!  The best feeling I am walking away with after that ride is that my next 100+ rides will never be that hard... or will they?!  Anyway, time for bed... 16 mile run in the morning!!!