I hope you aren’t getting sick of hearing about cycling, because me and my P2 have been spending A LOT of quality time together lately and that’s what I want to talk about!
Yesterday I had one of those “breakthrough” workouts. A training workout where you feel like you’ve really accomplished something and that the world is your oyster. You finish this kind of workout thinking that you’re going to win your age group at your next Ironman. Crazy thoughts like that. Then you go back home and look up the winning times at your upcoming Half Ironman and realize that you aren’t playing in the neighborhood playground anymore – this is BIG time and your open half marathon PR doesn’t come close to the women who come in on top at your upcoming event ran 13.1 miles AFTER biking 56 and swimming 2,000 meters.
Regardless of my lack of ability to crush all my opponents at Oceanside next month without the help of a natural disaster that just happens to take out the front of the pack, I had a great workout today and I’m proud of that.
Yesterday Mike and I set out alone on our twin P2s (except mine is 2012 and his is 2011 😉 for our long bike ride as Asia and Jeremy decided to do a practice triathlon with a coach that they have been informally working with. Mike and I decided to add-on a short loop that we knew of on the same 61 mile route with 2,500 feet of climbing that we completed last week. I decided that my goal for this workout was to come home with a Garmin time that read that I did the course with an average speed above 15 mph (hard for me to with all those stop signs and stop lights and has only been done on flat courses) and also with a heart rate in zone 2. I also wanted to take as few breaks as possible, although the two bathroom/water refill breaks we did last week were inevitably included in our route.
As soon as we set out, I was feeling good, despite my fears that such a high volume cycling week would zap my energy (we did a 45 mile ride on Monday since we had it off and then also did a 90 min zone 2 spin on the trainer and a 60 minute interval workout on the trainer – over 5 1/2 hours already on the bike this week). I thought the ride would be mentally difficult since I didn’t have Asia to occasionally chat with, but I found that I had plenty to think about. By the time I met up with Mike at the first pit stop, around mile 25, I was averaging just under my goal, which was expected since those first miles were a net incline. After a quick stop, we were off and as soon as I hit 2 hours on my watch I was right on track for my 15 mph goal.
Surprisingly, the third hour was my fastest, which included the very intense 7 mile upward battle up Del Dios highway. When I got to the top, Mike told me how shocked at how little distance was between us. He had looped back down before the first pit stop and then again at the top of the hill to add extra mileage yet he was still only 5 miles ahead of me. At this point my legs were a bit fatigued from all the climbing but overall I felt good. I rode the next segment feeling great, hit the next pit stop, and took off. We were home in just less time than we completed our previous week’s 61 mile ride, which was 6.5 miles less!
One thing I really noticed during this ride was my comfort level cornering, getting aero and descending. I was a very timid rider when I first started and I have noticed a huge improvement. I got aero more often than ever before during this ride and stayed aero around turns and mild declines and inclines, whereas I used to pop up at the sight of a hill or corner. After getting my bike fitted last week I feel more comfortable in the aero position and it actually feels pretty good to be down there.
After the ride I ran 4.3 miles and felt really good, especially the first half because I had a really strong tailwind! I was cruising at 8:40 min/miles thinking how easy this Half Ironman is going to be. Then I turned around and got a strong headwind in my face and my pace dropped back into the low 9s and put me in my place! Pretty much every blog that I read about a person’s first Half Ironman talks about how they underestimated how hard it would be. Although this brick went well, I still need to remember to respect the distance and not to try to race it like I’m trying to win. Regardless, I will take it for what it was and be happy that I completed my longest ride to date feeling good!
How were your weekend workouts? How have you found your outdoor pace has translated into you race pace (ie is it the same or do you see a difference of 1 mph or 2 ?)