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Sunday, 29 June 2008

What have I gotten myself into?

Bike: 57km @ 1hr46 (West Carleton)
Run: 7.6km @ 49min13

Just in time for my biggest brick to date came the heat, humidity and wind. Knowing it may not be any better on race day, I headed out, spurred on strong by my wife and daughter at about 11am.

After getting my gear ready, taking the bike off the hook, and pumping up the tires (front one first, as always), I discovered that I had a flat on the rear tire. A quick pump-up showed that the tire had decided to stay flat, apparently giving up on the whole training bit. They cynic in me stated that this was not the way to start a training ride.

Aside - I remember on Thursday's morning ride that, near the end, it felt like my rim was bent. Now I think I was just riding the last kilometer or two on a tire that was nearly flat. Got lucky there.

Thankfully I had just purchased a new tire and found a patched tube that I put on somewhat quickly. I used my bike stand this time, which made things much easier. I was pretty pumped, actually, to finally replace my cut tire (from before) with a new Continental tire that just looked fast. After getting the tire back together, I was about to inflate when I saw something I'd never seen on a bike tire before - a rotation indicator. And as luck would have it, I put the tire on such that it would rotate in the wrong direction. So if you look at it that way, I changed two tires today (well, the same one twice, that is).

Finally, at about noon, I headed out starting westward towards Stittsville and Munster. And headlong into the wind. I crossed paths with another triathlete coming eastbound just flying with the wind - he shouted "You'll feel great on the way back!" Yeah, but I wasn't heading back this way! Doh!

I found some good gearing, and just stuck my position on the aerobars to get through the wind, and when I turned south to Munster, I used the crosswind to bump up my momentum along the way. I was feeling fast and strong - even with the wind - so when I finally turned onto Franktown road and I got the tailwind, I was on fire! I don't know my speed, but it was faster than usual and it felt great! This greatness feeling lasted the entire ride, actually - all 1hr46 of it. I could have gone another hour like that!

Then I switched over to the run. And I realized just how hard I was pushing the bike. But it was just so much fun to do....

This run hurt. Normally this loop in my neighborhood is a quick little getaway, but today it was full-on anaerobic chest-pounding hell. The first 15min covered a lot of ground, and I was surprised by two things - my 95%maxHR, and my sub-5min pace. If I was going to do this run, I needed to get that HR down and keep it down. I walked for 2min, then turtled at about a 6min/km pace. 14min later I was walking again! And there was one more walk break in there too. But I just couldn't get my HR down below 78%max until I got home, downed some water and cooled off.

Lots of times in that run I was asking myself "Why the hell am I doing this?" Strong feelings of doubt came in on the backs of the muscle fatigue and pain (or was it just strong discomfort?). But I needed to finish this run, even with the walk breaks. I needed confidence (hopefully I found some), and I needed to feel what I'd go through in the half-iron if I don't get this right.

But it's done, I'm recovering, and I'm feeling alright.

So what happened? Well, here's my shortlist of "Fix or Fail" points:
  • Back off on the bike. Carrying >30kph on the bike for 90k will kill my run.
  • Back off even more in the heat/wind. The goal is to finish, not to win an age group. I need to toss all preconceived notions of what I "could" do the race segments in, 'cause I'll burn out if I try to stick to them.
  • Hydrate on the run. Judging by the amount of water I gulped at the end, I was dehydrated a lot. But cold, garden-hose water is the best!
  • Eat on the bike. I can't rely on HEED and Sustained Energy alone to cover the bike and the run. One or the other, but not both.
  • Pull back the cadence off the bike. I can't maintain a sub-5 pace out of T2 for anything longer than a sprint-distance race. It sure won't cut it in the half-iron.
  • Adjust the aerobars. Right now they slant down too far, so hitting any bumps on the road causes me to slip forward. Rotating back up will drive that motion into the elbow rests, keeping my form better. Then I won't have to adjust my position every 30sec.
I'm still learning, at least. If that wasn't happening, I'd be totally screwed (and totally pissed off at all this). With two weeks to go, I've got a few things to work on, and a few things to mentally prepare for. I think if I can fit these points in, and stay patient enough, I'll finish the half-iron in regulation. And I might even want to do it again. :)

Two weeks!?! Damn! I can remember when this seemed so far away....

1 comment:

TrainingtoTri said...

2 weeks! Wow, you will do awesome, you put in the time. I can't wait to read your recap.