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.


TriGirl 40 said...

You swam way more than that - don't lie.

And you are such an inspiration!

Enjoy your incredible boat excursion.

Take pictures.

Wear your water belt.

Drink wine!

TriGirl Kate O said...

After that weekend, you totally earned 12 days off! Drink a few painkillers for me and Joe at that rock off Bitter End and ENJOY.

Melissa said...

I just got tired readign that!
Sounds like SUCH a mentally (and physically!!!) fulfilling weekend!
Great seeing you saturday night! xoxo