Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hitting the Trails

Last week was all about work, a little bike test, and trails.

I must confess, I still haven't figured out how to get in all of my workouts with work.   I know though, that if I don't get my workout first thing, I'm unlikely to get it in after work, particularly if it is a tough one.  Case in point, last week's power test.  Originally on my schedule for last Friday, I postponed it because of my gluten incident.   On Tuesday, it was on my schedule again.  When the alarm went off at 5:30 am Tuesday morning, I hit snooze and thought, I'll just do it in the evening after work.  Work is work though, and so at 6:30 pm, when I was leaving the office, and still had about 2 more hours of work on my plate for the evening, I skipped my power test and workouts and opted for some dinner, some more work and bed.   The result, 2 workouts missed on Tuesday.   I'm still learning, but on key workout days, mornings are a must if I'm going to meet one of my key training goals for the year - to be consistent.

As for the power test, I did get it in on Thursday morning.  Kate joined me on her trainer for some extra motivation (she was doing her test too) and we cranked out our 20 minute TTs.  I hope the saying is correct that you have to get a little out of shape during the off season, because I've certainly done so.  My power levels were, to say the least, disappointing.  Threshold power was down 11 watts lower than my already fairly weakling levels.  So. . . definitely room for improvement.  

Now, for the fun part.  Trails.   I really love trail running.  While training for IMLP, Bart and I spent a lot of time running in Pocohontas State Park on the fire roads.  During those runs, I loved the peace and beauty of the park and what felt like a communion with me and my goals, triathlon and otherwise.  I haven't run much on the trails this year and last Saturday's run with the gals reminded me how much I love it.   Trail running is a complete escape for me.  I don't think about running or even my pace.  Instead, I'm concentrating on the path before me and learning how to push myself based on feel, not necessarily a number on my Garmin.  Saturday, some regular billy goats took some of us relative trail newbies on a tour of Belle Isle and Buttermilk trail.  I've run these trails before but got to learn a new trail, appropriately named "the lost trail" on Belle Isle.  The weather was the start of a perfect Indian summer day and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face at the end of the run.  More trail running, and perhaps even a few trail races are in my future.   My billy goat friends have me thinking hard about the Swinging Bridge 35K Trail Race in January.

As much as I loved the trails on Saturday, I dreaded them on Sunday.  Somehow, after our trail run, I let myself get talked into mountain biking on Sunday with the crew.  Shawn took pity on me (under a total excuse that she "needed" me to ride with her so she wouldn't have to ride alone) and the two of us took off on the "easy" single track while the others headed for the harder trails.  As much as I hate to admit it, it wasn't as bad as I envisioned.  I still managed to fall a few times and have a few bruises and scrapes to show.  And yes, mountain biking is still way out of my comfort zone.  I still have trouble with my pedals (this time getting in them, not out), and I still hate to go fast down hills, particularly when there are roots or I have to negotiate between hills.  But, I did manage to find a smile or two during the day and thanks to Shawn's patience, got to build a bit more confidence.