So I got a lot of good training in this weekend! It was a rough one and I’m still feeling it, but man was it worth every second of the pain and mental toughness I had to pry out of me!
I Started off with a 1 Mile Swim on Friday night. This was a 1 Lap at a time Mile(25 Meters). This is actually the first time I have made myself do an entire Mile, so it was a bit rough.
I am not an efficient swimmer. I’m not a graceful swimmer. I’m a strong swimmer, and as such, I spend most of my time defeating myself by not keeping correct form. I also have a very hard time breathing correctly(with form). Keeping my head low and in the water, under my recovering arm and against my leading arm, is very difficult for me, as I have not yet ingrained the muscle memory. I am getting better though, so one step at a time. I mostly worked on my breathing on this workout. I probably swam too fast to really make it good(around a 33 minute 1600- and the Garmin only picked up 1575 meters, because I didn’t start it on one of the lengths 😦 lol ).
I took about a 30 second to one minute breather each length, to recover. I still have a hard time not kicking too much and my swim technique combined with poor form makes one length of the pool a grinder of trying to breath and keep my heart from not exploding in my chest!
All in all though, it was a great workout! You can see it here.
this workout felt great afterward and I feel it was a bit of an accomplishment. I am not where I need to be for the Swim portion of my upcoming Olympic Distance Triathlon. But I am one step closer 🙂
Saturday was next on my destination of pain weekend. I had already decided Saturday was going to be a long Ride. So I tentatively mapped out a 60 Mile course. I wanted this to be my longest ride to date- but only by a few miles.
So it was basically a 30 Mile out and back Course. Pretty easy. The weather was supposed to be nice so, I got up early, had some coffee and oats, rested a bit, got my gear on and got on the road!
The day was a bit chillier than I really liked. I didn’t wear my thermal leggings, although I did wear some knee warmers and Calf Compression Sleeves. I also left my full finger gloves and shoe covers at home- like an idiot. I was a bit cold, but nothing too uncomfortable and once I got warmed up, I was good to go.
The miles just kind of flew by. I set an alarm to keep me in HR Zone 3- to conserve energy for this long haul. My HR avg was 145, and it only peaked over 150 a few times- usually when climbing a local mountain(bridge) or if I would try to “safely”make a light.
I say safely, because if there is traffic at an intersection I won’t even think about “making a light”, but if it is clear and I have good line of sight of all directions, I’ll push it :). I did try to maintain a nice high cadence, and came away with an 85 RPM Avg. Which I thought was pretty good, as I prioritized HR over Cadence for this ride. I found even when pushing a light gear, my HR would want to climb when I got around the 95-100 Mark. I figure this is still me getting used to moving my legs this fast on the bike.
As I continued, I felt better and better, especially with this low speed and easy to maintain cadence. I took a break at the 20 Mile Mark. I felt great!. I had filled two water bottles, one with water, the other with Heed. I also brought along a zip lock baggie with Perpetuem in it, for later in the ride. After that break, I closed in quickly on the 30 Mile Mark of the ride. Then passed it. I decided I would do a bit more. And then a bit more. And then a bit more. Before I realized it, I was at 51 Miles!!
Now the way I mapped the course out, there were several “shortcuts” built into the ride, so if I needed to, I could be home in fewer miles if I needed to.
I decided it was about time for some lunch, so found my self a Starbucks. Had a good bite to eat and a latte, as well as finished off my water and Heed bottles. I had also been hitting my normal 10 minute rotation of some sort of nutrition every 10 minutes for this first 50 miles. I brought along enough calories to go twice as long(time wise) than I had estimated my ride would be, so I had plenty. I chilled and rested for about 30-40 minutes. Got in some good stretches, got my water bottles filled, mixed in my Perpetuem, re-organized my nutrition in my jersey pockets- for easy reach, and got back on the road!
As I headed back, I had the option to Take a few Short cuts. At first, I thought I would take one of these, as I was going into a pretty stiff headwind. Although my
speed suffered greatly, I spent most of the day comfortably in the drops. I kept my HR low and my cadence high and it went along pretty smoothly. I really wasn’t feeling exhausted at any point. I did feel the beginning’s of leg muscle fatigue at around the 70 mile mark. My Longest Ride Ever!! This was my last “big” cut off. I stopped for a few minutes for a breather and a quick Self Evaluation.
How do I feel?: Well, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m not tight and I’m not feeling a loss of energy.
How is my nutrition?: I have about 600 Calories worth of chewable nutrition left, and about half of a bottle of perpetuem(which was mixed about half a scoop too rich- just in case hehe).
Well, what do you think?: Heck, lets go for it!!.
I plotted out the course going back on the exact same route as I had began that morning, this would give me about 10 miles to my next “cut off”. I’d see how I felt then.
So I rolled on, The next 10 miles were fast, with a super low HR and a cadence I was proud of, I flew right through the 10 miles. At this point, I knew it was in reach. I hadn’t given the notion or a fully formed thought of it all day, it was just a slight tickle or whisper in the back of my mind. But now, almost at mile 80, I felt it.
I can do a Century today! I can do it. I can complete this on my own!!
So I continued on my path. At this point I just added one of my normal weekly rides to the course(it was the same road I was on, so it was easy). This course is usually around 25 miles, with about 1.2-2 of it being from my apartment to where I intersected it with my current course. By combining the cunning use of trig- calculus- and geometry that would make many mathematicians and physicists proud- I subtracted 2 miles from 25 miles and got 23 miles. Then added 23 miles to 79.5 miles- and got about 103 miles!! I know I know, you’re impressed with ma maph skeelz.
At this point it was later in the day and the road were busier. I popped an extra gel, to make sure I kept my sugar with some blood in it(yeah, at this point I was seriously not the sharpest tool in the shed). I wanted to stay alert enough of vehicles on the road, as I was also in a busier section of town. I honestly should have called it quits. But I was not sane enough to make that call lol.
This portion of the course was an out and back loop of about 7 miles total and then another 12 mile loop(6 out and back) with a return loop of around 3-4 miles.
I made this first loop and felt a lot more fatigue than I had thought I would. The last half of this little loop was deep on into the wind again and I struggled to maintain good form and breathing. I got to the 12 mile loop, and decided to take it head on!(remember where I said I wasn’t all there? Yep, here is proof lol). So I slowed down a lot, kept a high cadence, just pushing a super easy gear( I later found I was still doing around 15 MPH- which I was ecstatic about- to explain further. I didn’t want to be emotionally affected with a slow speed. So, to make sure that speed was not a factor at all in this Day’s ride, I removed it from my main screen on the 910xt- So I pretty much never knew my speed all day hehe). About 1-2 miles in, I started to feel great again. Still taking nutrition and water when my 10 minute beeper would go off, and really just enjoying the ride!
I took another break at the turn around for this loop- less than 10 Miles to go!! I hit the head, drank some extra water and partially filled it back up(I was at a gas station- I actually passed this gas station 3 times, including rest stops, for this ride haha). Took a 10 minute breather and got back to it!
Going in the opposite direction, the wind was coming at my back from an angle. I would have the wind to my advantage for all but the last 2 miles of the route. So I sat up, put my hands on the horizontal bars( I call them the tops, I don’t know if they have a “real” name lol) and used my back as a wind sail. I maintained the same rhythm and patterns as the rest of the day, and I felt like I was flying!! I was only hitting about 16-18 MPH(via later inspection of the route data) but man I felt great! I felt so good, that when I turned back into the wind, I kept up the pace, and pushed that last little bit out!
I crossed the 100 Mile Mark! Threw up a fist in victory and kept chugging along! I am sure a few people saw some crazy dude on a bike, in a Marine Corps Cycling Jersey, looking like a crazed maniac rolling down the side of the street! But I didn’t care! I just completed a Century!! But now to get home!
I stayed in the drops and finished out the ride strong and feeling great!!
I got home and stretched and ate for about an hour or two haha. Took a good bath and called it a day!!
You can see the route data Here.
This was a really big confidence booster to me. As I did not think I could do my first century, and live, quite yet. I also did not think my first century would be a self supported one!
There is a Houston to Galveston Century near the end of this month, and I am thinking of doing it now. This would be my last big ride(and is scheduled to be my last big ride weekend anyway) before I do Kemah on April 12th and then the MS150 on April 18-19th. The first day of the MS150 will be a century as well.
I am feeling more and more confident of my cycling, every day.
Next up was Sunday! Now my legs didn’t feel like jello, but they didn’t feel up to much abuse either. I rolled them and stretched them and babied them most of the morning.
In the early afternoon, I decided I wanted to get a short swim in. So I decided on an 800 Meter swim. It was slow. Most of it was the same as Friday night, just breathe. Learn to breathe. Be comfortable breathing. And try to keep my heart from jumping out of my chest!!
This was a lot more rough, as my legs were sore and didn’t want to kick. Although, this ended up being a good thing! Since my legs didn’t want to kick, I wasn’t kicking!! So I wasn’t over or under balancing my body. My strokes were a lot more even. And my breathing almost even felt semi-comfortable…. Almost.
In the future I am going to continue minimizing my kick. This seems to save a lot of energy and allow for a more extended period of swimming! This is just what I need to make sure I can really perform well at Kemah next month!
This swim was a big eye opener and I am really going to keep up using that same technique. It was a bit slower- like 2 minutes for a combined 1600 meters slower, but the amount of energy used felt like a lot less. I don’t know if it was just me not trying to overcome bad technique as much or what, but I seemed to glide a lot more through the water. Making is so much easier to feel more “fluid” in the water as well.
You can see that swim’s data Here.
I got some more stretching and rolling in later that night to really help me relax.
Had some good food to keep things clean and wrapped up the weekend. We will see how things go! I am supposed to do a 10 Mile run tonight- Monday night, and if the weather doesn’t hold out, that may have to be on a treadmill. Which will not be fun.
All in all, this was a great weekend. Lots of activity. Lots of physical and mental testing. I came through it all. And was insane enough to enjoy it!
My over all confidence for April has skyrocketed!
I have a big Trail Run coming up on this next Sunday. It is a supported “free” run put on by Trail Running Over Texas(TROT). It is going to be a blast and can’t wait! The course is to be a loop of about 4-5 miles. You just do as many loops as you can between 6 AM and 1 PM(last loop cut-off is at noon). I am really hoping I can complete this at around a 50K(my first at this distance). Since I won’t really have a lot of training time the rest of the month- as I need to taper everything for next month’s madness. This weekend and next weekend, are to be my big tests and self evaluations!
After this, I’ll mostly just be doing maintenance miles, and easy workouts. I’ll do one “moderate to heavy” workout per week, but that would be like a 6-7 opposed to my current 8-9 lol. With lots of rest before and after it.
This next little bit(including this past weekend) is Testing my over all conditioning, gear, nutrition, freak of nature will power, and trying to stay somewhat sane throughout the whole thing!! April is to be my “Devil’s Three-way” and I plan on making it a memorable one!!
Thanks for reading everyone! Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions- and sorry for the book of a post!!