I’m starting to think of my runs less as huge failures in my goal to becoming a triathlete and more as learning experiences. For example, today. I ran 2.7 miles in 50 minutes (plus a 10-minute .6-mile warm-up). I learned from my last few dehydration experiences and brought water and learned from my last few rubber legs experiences to warm up a bit before launching into the run. However, my fatal mistake was that, realizing I needed a change of pace (literally and figuratively, but let’s go with figuratively for now), I decided to head into the Presidio rather than trying to find another route in the much more level GG Park.
So up Arguello I go, pass the SF Free Folk Festival (which I missed again this year, darn it), up the killer hill (only walking a few particularly steep steps near the top), and then realized just how hilly this run would be. Down into the Presidio, left towards the residential area, down some more, around a loop, back uphill, and uphill, and uphill.
To keep my mind off the hills, I focused on steadying my breathing; on my previous runs, I seemed to get out of breath, get panicky, and have a difficult time recovering. That went okay, so on to focusing on form and the chi running drills, interspersed with regular running. Then down a big long hill by the golf course and back up–without stopping or walking! Back down Arguello, I was able to push my pace harder, and so I think I’m going to try to end each run by sprinting (or as close as my body will allow me to get) for the last two minutes.
So all in all, not an unmitigated disaster: I basically did a negative split, which is how I should be practicing. I found some energy to push it out towards the end. I learned to steady my breathing a bit. But I still really need to get my speed up. I think I also need to get sport orthodics…
My goal for this week was to do all six workouts, but life gets in the way. I’ve been counting on the fact that this training season has an extra month, but that’s not going to last me too long. Time to kick it into high gear.
The other thing I realized after my run today is that I didn’t even reach my goal per-mile time of 10 minutes (admittedly, still pretty slow). At the rate I went today, I’ll be running for over an hour and a half the day of the triathlon! YIKES! I’ll be damned if that 6.2 miles takes me longer than an hour. I don’t want to be running that long!
So short-term goal: do the next six workouts on time.
Long-term goal: get my per-mile time down to 10 minutes (and soon!).
I keep meaning to write about this as part of my other posts, but I get side-tracked, and well, it just seemed better suited for it’s own post. I’ve noticed this feeling I get when I’m working out for these triathlons, about three-quarters through the workout, I feel overwhelmed by the thought, “I can do it!” I feel capable of anything. I haven’t felt that way since school, when I knew I was capable of anything, at least, academically (the only classes I did poorly in were the couple of alleged blow-off classes I took and Prof. Araujo’s French class–that was a little bit too much of a challenge).
So I’m mentioning it now not only as an observation but as a reminder to my future self. In a month or a week, I’ll probably be struggling through some workout (running in Grass Valley was pretty tough), but if I can just tap into that wellspring of endorphins that bring on that invicible feeling, I know I’ll be able to get through it all.
You know, the technicalities of biking is completely Greek to me. When I bought my bike on Saturday, the salesman was trying to explain to me the difference between the various types of pedals, clipless systems (that actually clip in, I still get confused over that one), and shoes. My eyes completely glazed over.
And so, after a trip back to the bike store today to make sure I bought the right bike, I realized it was a combination of buyer’s remorse and simple ignorance of how road bikes are supposed to feel. Now Chad thinks I’m not reaching enough.
I went to a Spinning class this morning, partially because I wasn’t sure what the status of my bike was and partially because I thought I could use some technique advice since I’ve missed all the bike drills so far. It was pretty interesting. It was nice to be able to get advice and tips for a full hour straight without the instructor riding out of earshot. I still need to get more competitive with the biking.
I can see now why people keep doing triathlons. There’s so much to learn, so many small points that get absorbed into your brain or muscles only partially at first and need a few reminders or a different approach to finally sink in.
I got a great deal on a bike yesterday–a 2002 version of a Bianchi for hundreds less than the 2004 version sells for. After test riding quite a few bikes, Chad and I got some coffee, talked it over, and went back to pick it up.
Today, after I did some work on my fundraising stuff and some work work and Chad got back from a scooter event, we got all geared up to go for a bike ride. The first thing that seemed strange was that the seat was about three inches too high. And the reach felt too long, even though they were supposed to put a shorter stem on. And there was zero clearance above the top bar. And the tag on the bike said 53 cm, when I thought I had bought a 51 cm frame.
Figuring it might be buyer’s remorse, we decided to go for a ride anyway to see how it felt. But first, I needed to get a little more used to the clipless pedals and, more precisely, getting in and out of them. Chad suggested riding down the side street by our house, which I did. When I was coming to a stop, I pulled out of my pedal, ready to stop myself, and promptly fell to the opposite side. CRASH! I got up, clipped back in, headed back toward Chad, and dismounted OK, but on the last “test ride,” I fell again and have a lovely scraped-up knee to show for it.
By that point I realized that the bike just felt too big to ride, so we put our bikes away, called the shop, and I’ll head down there on Tuesday to make sure I got the right frame size. I guess I’ll be doing Spinning classes and riding my hybrid this week after all.
After my lackluster performance at last Sunday’s captain’s run (and my inability to get to Pacific Bikes to buy their Yakima car rack for only $44), I decided to just bring my running shoes up with me to bluegrass camp in Grass Valley. My first run, especially, was pretty lackluster. I started off from camp really enjoying the surroundings–nice rolling landscape, passing by farms and schools and ranch roads. And then I realized I was really dehydrated. Between being outside all day for classes in the 90 degree-plus heat, staying up until all hours of the night jamming, and the difficulty of getting water at night that didn’t taste absolutely disgusting, I was really pushing my limits. I gasped up the last hills and had to take a few short walking breaks. But I did it. And on Thursday, I pushed myself and went even farther.
And I also found out some more bad news about friends of mine who are affected by the cancers I’m raising funds to cure. The rumor was that Allison, my guitar teacher’s wife, was waiting on the results of a biopsy and that’s why they weren’t coming up to Grass Valley until the weekend. Her lymphoma has been in remission for three years. Patti, the Barefoot Nellies (i.e., my little bluegrass band) bass player, has myeloma. She got the diagnosis last year at Grass Valley, so this was basically the one-year anniversary. And I heard that another person I know tangentially through the bluegrass crowd was recently diagnosed with lymphoma.
That’s the real reason I signed up for Team in Training. I just know so many people with cancer now. Doing a triathlon and raising a measly $3,100 (measly in the scheme of things) is almost literally the least I can do.
I have the lamest reason for missing the coached ride today: I couldn’t get my bike into my car. I tried for about 10 minutes before giving up at 5:55, five minutes before the practice started. I thought I’d try riding down there, and just catch up with everyone, but then, when I picked up my bike, Chad’s bike pump got all caught up in it and part of it broke. Great. That’s just about how my day was going today.
So I walked over to Office Max to pick up some colored envelopes for my fundraising letters (no, I haven’t sent them out yet), came back, put my gym shorts back on and went for a run (I’ll do a spinning class tomorrow). And I’m glad I did. This week has been busy, but it’s nothing like what the last half of June and much of July is going to be. That will be agony between longer trainings, an extra issue to produce at work (jammed right in the middle of our regular production schedule), the final batches of my freelance proofing project, and possibly, Nellies rehearsals. That’s why I need to force myself to do all the workouts now, so I can keep it going then.
I love running in the park, though. I love that feeling of camaraderie, passing by all the other runners. But I wish, just once, I could get through a run without someone stopping to ask me where the Japanese Tea Garden is.