Timberman is now a mere 3 months away, or at least it was as of Saturday.
It’s a good thing too, because I am so not ready yet to take on those distances in succession. Independently, I’ve swam 2100 yards in under the time limit, and my longest walked 1/2 marathon time is 3:45. Even though I consider the bike my strength, I’ve never actually ridden 56 miles, and I am slow on hills; so there’s a lot of work left to do.
Our training has really started to pick up, as we move towards longer distances. Saturday, I did a quick 7 miles just to get work on. Sunday, we really put the hammer down with a mini-triathlon of our own; 1000 yards in the pool, 18.5 miles on the bike, and a 2 mile run. The swim time and run times were fine, but the bike time was no where near what it needs to be.
Our bike was slow in part because we did hill training. We decided to just go out and ride, and take on hills as we found them. And find them we did, with a surprisingly hilly area just north of Cambridge, MA. For a while it seemed every time we turned we were headed up; even when we turned back towards home. Let me say that not knowing whats coming around the next bend isn’t helpful; I prefer to know where the pain is going to come from.
For her part, Rach was good on the hills dancing away on the pedals as I watched her slink on up each hill, gapping on me every time. She’s clearly more ready for the climbing than I am. Thankfully, I’ve been learning more about the full capabilities of my bike, and as I get to a hill, I drop down into the “granny gear” up front, and changes gears as needed in the back. On several climbs I was able to make it to the top without dropping into the lowest gears, while on others not only did I hit the small ring up front; I was on my 2nd lowest in the back too.
And I still had to stop along the way. It’s not my leg strength that’s causing the problem, it’s my cardio fitness. On each of the 3 longest hills, I had to take about a 1 minute break halfway up to catch my breath. I get out of breath trying to haul my big lumpy self up the hills. I can manage well on less steep climbs, but as the climb turns up, so does my breathing, and I just don’t have the practice I need yet.
The other part of the speed issue is that we kept getting lost. We stopped several times to figure out where we were. I was getting tired from the hills and so when I wasn’t sure what the next turn should be, we stopped and out came the GPS. It got to the point where I was tired enough that Rach had to make sure I was reading it right (It was hot yesterday, and I didnt bring any Gatorade, just water, so I was running low on sugar to be sure). Eventually we got it straightened around, and got headed back the right direction.
The good news is that I’m clearly making progress. I didn’t have to walk any of the hills, and I was probably no more than 2 minutes behind Rach on any of the climbs. If we have 80 days left of full on training time before we taper in August, minus the honeymoon, I should be able to get in 35-40 more rides. My speed in the flats is fine and is easy enough to keep up. Now I just need to climb every single chance I get.
The weird part about yesterday is that the run felt like the easiest part of the day. I hadn’t swam in a week, and my climbing sucks, but I’ve been running enough that I’m guessing I did 2 miles at 13 minutes each. Rach beat me back but said she wasn’t waiting for much more than 5 minutes. I’m thinking it was closer to 8, but I’ll take it. I didnt have the GPS with me on the run, so I only went by feeling, but I know where the 1 mile turn around is. I jogged way more than I expected, though I didn’t do it consecutively until the end. It was like 2 minutes on, 2 minutes off, but I felt pretty good. I could have done more but was glad I didn’t have to.
Knowing where we are now, I’m glad we’ve done all the training that we have, but I’m just as glad we still have time to get where we need to be.
- We were supposed to swim at 5:30 this morning, but my body simply wasn’t up for that. 1800 yards in the pool as a workout for the day will seem easy at the end of the day. But to start the day, my body wasn’t into it.
- Rach is working a soccer camp this weekend, and taking the car both days so I’ll have time to work on my areas of weakness without making Rach wait at the top of every hill. It’ll be interesting to see how I do for training motivation when making sure she doesn’t have to stop riding too long isn’t in the back of my mind.
- When you train with someone you love, in traffic, on bumpy roads for fast winding downhills, it’s hard not to think about their safety. I find I do it constantly with Rach, especially when we’re exploring new territory. She’s good on her bike, but doesn’t know anything about maintenance, so wouldn’t have the first clue what to do if she had a problem. That’s another thing we need to work on before Timberman. She has a nice bike, but I need to teach her to change flats and other basics.
- After yesterday I’m more optimistic about my upcoming race with the in-laws. I don’t expect to beat anyone, but I think I’ll put in a PR, especially if our running these next two weeks lets me hit that distance (5k) regularly.
- Lastly, the scale this morning showed 314. My next weigh in should put me at a 3 year low.