Monday, February 18, 2008

My Half-Ironman Weekend

In anticipation of 12 days at sea with fewer than normal workouts, my last week has included some of the toughest workouts I've faced so far and a reintroduction to the brick. This weekend was no exception... but with good results. While these workouts were physical, I think they are also, more than anything, mentally preparing me for the notion that I can and will complete White Lake 1/2 Ironman.

The weekend started Saturday with my strongest ride ever with Endorphin. We did the usual 28 mile somewhat hilly loop out into Goochland and Hanover from West Creek. Unlike the earlier weeks, this time, my focus was not just on being able to finish, but to hang strong with the other cyclists (all male I might add) and keep pace without James' nudge. I rode to a fairly strong start and joked with Bart when he finally took over the lead as to why I, easily the weakest cyclist there, was leading up to Manakin when he, much stronger, was filed in behind me. I managed to stay up tight in the middle to back of the pack and even was more successful executing pace line techniques. As normal, however, when we hit the big hill right after the pace line, I fell back and James had to help get me rejoin the pack. While we were catching up, James did pass along some shifting tips and a technique focus that I practiced on the remaining hills and will be able to draw on in the future. We averaged over 16.5 mph. When we got back to West Creek, I refuled with a PB&J and some fruit smoothie and headed out, this time on McQueen for 2 more hours. I've still been having some saddle issues, so I was a little apprehensive of riding in aero position for that amount of time. But with the help of some chamois cream, I finished without TOO much discomfort. At the end of 3 hours and 40 minutes total on the bike (about 60 miles), I racked my bike, slipped on my running shoes and headed out for an easy 20 minute jog. My legs felt like jello for much of the first mile, but they must have still been turning my cycling cadence rhythm. I surprised myself with a 10 minute pace for both miles. Yikes... will probably have to slow down my start a bit if I am going to follow with a half marathon.

We celebrated Saturday night with some Casa Grande Mexican and a late night glass of vino at DeLux in honor of TG Fave's birthday. It was great seeing the TGs and their other halves out and fun to be out in the Fan night life for a change of pace.

Sunday was the bike/swim part of my half-iron weekend. SanDee, an absolute saint, offered to join me for at least the first part of the run, so we headed out to WC around 11. My legs were not excited to be running at first. We practiced nutrition and hydration (something I did poorly the day before) along the route and near mile nine, my legs started to feel really strong. At that point in my run, I realized that if I started my half marathon at this pace, I could easily pick up my pace over the last 4 or 5 miles and finish it below my goal time. We BOTH finished 11.5 miles in 2 hours, at 10:30 pace. After a stretch, a bar and a few minutes chatting with TGs Margo and ANNN who had just come in from a ride, I headed to the pool for my 50 minutes of swimming. While I'm not always enthusiastic about getting in the chilly water after my run and continuing my workout, this part of my workout always feels the best - like one giant cool down. My muscles get stretched out and cooled down and the repetitive movement of the swim seems to just steady me and my mind. Since I lost track after 2000 meters, I'm not sure of the exact distance I swam but based on pace, I'm guessing it was around 2200 give or take a hundred.

One half-iron weekend complete.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pirate Anniversary

Happy Two Year Pirate Anniversary Bart! I love you and can't wait to return to the scene of the crime.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Prayer

Over the weekend, two very dear friends of mine suffered the deeply saddening and tragic loss of a child and one has had her own health in limbo. Since the news, I've found myself at nearly every step thinking of them, praying, reflecting and, at times, even giving thanks. I have been amazed by the instant support system my warm, loving group of friends creates when one of us is in need. I am grateful to have them and be a part of such a strong, caring group of women. I am thankful for my loving and supportive husband and for our health.

LW you have touched our hearts deeply. We love you and God be with you and your family.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Spring Fever

The summertime warmth and 60 and 70 degree temperatures we've had since Saturday have struck me with a severe case of Spring Fever and have me counting down the days until I head to the BVI to sail the blue waters of the Carribean. But before I go back to my thoughts of fun in the sun and whether I can figure out how to work "outside" this afternoon, here is a quick recap of my recent workouts.

Friday - I decided to pass on scheduling a run lesson (aka speed workouts) for Friday in hopes of having more legs on my Saturday long ride. Instead, I stuck to my plan of a easy recovery run and a hard swim in the pool. 300 warm up 10 x 100 at 1:55 (45 second recovery) and 150 cool down. The consistent swimming and masters class are starting to pay off. After the first 100 I doubted I could finish the workout at the pace (1:50) I was swimming, but somehow, I got through all 10 repeats and suprised myself with times between (1:45 and 1:50). Now if I could only swim that fast for 1900 meters and not feel winded at the end!

Saturday - Bart and I were hosting wine club at our house Saturday night so we headed out for our long ride early. I was determined to have a better ride from the previous week and avenge myself on the same course that caused me such heart ache the week before. This week's ride was LEAPS and BOUNDS better. For the most part, I let Bart lead and I worked on my handling and drafting skills. We rode the Goochland route again averaging around 16.3 mph and I made it up all of the big hills without switching to my granny gear. A big accomplishment, especially on Mount Patterson. My favorite part was the fast stretch of Manakin road on the far side of Broad when I was able to keep pace with Bart flying over 22 mph. After about 2 hours, we changed bikes at West Creek and McQueen and I headed out to finish my 3 hour 20 minute workout. Luckily, before I got very far, I ran into TGs ANNN, Kate and Carrie and after catching up for a bit, I convinced Kate to keep me company for a few loops of West Creek on our new bikes. Since Kate has been busy marathon training, we hadn't caught up recently and there was lots to chat about to help pass the time quickly. Kate and Annnn you are doing awesome with your running! Keep it up! Soon, Kate was headed home and I was headed out to finish my last big loop of WC. By the end of the ride -- my longest since last September -- the sun was shining, skies blue as they could be and I felt like I could ride for hours. . . . but it was back to the house to shower up and cook for wine club.

Sunday - Wine club was a success and all of the new recipies I decided to try out, actually turned out. (My favorite was the cabernet marinated flank steak with fontina cheese, basil and proscuitto.) While I curtailed my tastings compared to club gatherings in the past, I was not very excited about having to shake off the cobwebs and head out for an "easy" hour and 50 minute run followed by 2000 yards in the pool. The sunny skies and my new running skirt, helped motivate me out the door and TG40 (also a little sluggish from festivities) kept me motivated throughout the run. While not our most stellar run ever, we finished with a respectable 10:37 pace, enjoyed a little sunshine and headed to the pool for a strong, long swim.

Monday was a rest day for me on the exercise front but certainly not at work. We had a huge filing due at work and so I spent a long 12+ hour work day at the office.

Tuesday morning, my good weather karma must have continued. I had a great indoor cycle on McQueen at Endorphin. Suprisingly, as last week was my biggest week ever, my legs felt rested and ready to go and I felt good about the technique and strength building drills Craig had cooked up for us. I still need to remember to keep my head up, but I think think power repeats the last 3 weeks have made a slight impact in my strength when I head to my big gear.

The good weather is supposed to continue for a few more days. Hopefully I'll get a few more outside workouts in before it disappears!