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Monday, November 22, 2010

Not as well as expected

Just one of these times I'd like to start a post with, "Boy that was easier than I thought it would be!"

Started bad.  I jumped into the 61 degree water and had a bit of a panic attack.  Negative thoughts crept in and I thought about swimming to the edge and getting out of the water right there.  Fortunately I made myself get out there.  I found that I could not really breathe out when my head was in the water.  It's a cold water thing but I thought by now that I'd be used to it.  Anyway that forced me to breast stroke most of the first half of the swim.  As I made the turn back to home I was finally pretty relaxed and swimming became a pretty easy exercise.  I was sighting well and made it back pretty easily.  I thought for sure that I was going to come in with a 1:30.  I was shocked when I got within earshot of the dock and the announcer said that we were at 1:29.  I ended up with a 1:43:02.  I think that my first half was probably 1:05 and my swim back was 38 minutes.

One of the things I was really worried about was the weather.  They were predicting rain and high winds.  The race area was actually very nice.  A little cloud cover had kept the temperature up but there had been no rain.  The sun came up during the swim and it was very nice outside.  I went the the transition kind of slow due to my disappointment from the swim.  I got dressed and headed out on the bike.

My goal here was just to go easy.  I kept it in a very low gear and just pedaled along.  I was still passing some people but I was focused on keeping my heart rate very low.  The ride is a 3 lap out and back that carries you from Tempe out to Fountain Hills along a road called The Beeline Highway.  It's a false flat road meaning that even though you don't really see it, there's quite an elevation gain going up there.  On a normal day with just an reasonable pace I can ride up the hill at 18 mph and then down it at 30 mph.  One thing that started to worry me was that my speed going up the was about 18 and I really wasn't trying hard at all.  When I got to the top and turned around I discovered why - there was a 15 - 20 mph wind that was blowing me up the hill.  This is the worst way that wind can blow on a bike.  You really want the wind in your face on the uphill.  Now the fast downhill became a slow effort to get back to Tempe.

The wind on the second lap was worse made more so by the freezing rain that dropped on us on the Beeline.

By the third lap I had decided to open it up a bit.  I had a pretty fast lap but at the end I could feel a little bit of burning in my legs.

I got my running shoes on and really thought I was going to do something special on the run.  I got through the first 8 mile lap in a about 9 minute miles but I noticed that the run felt a lot tougher than my heart rate was indicating.  There are a couple things that can cause this.  One is that your nutrition or your electrolytes can be off, but the biggest reason is that I probably just used too much energy on the bike.  My body just hasn't gone any further than 80 miles since June and I haven't gone 112 since last November.  You have to get in at least one ride of 110, 120 and 130 miles each preparing for this. 

So in the second lap I did a bit of recovery.  I walked one of the miles and made sure I ate and drank enough and I walked up the only climb on the course.  It really didn't help much.  Then I started to get down on myself and that kind of self defeating talk really makes for a long marathon. 

As I finished the second lap and went our on the third I just decided to run, but to run very slowly.  I held a pace through much of it but it was really torture.  I ran pretty much the whole thing and finished OK.  Wasn't a great time by my standards but in hindsight it really wasn't too bad.  I would have liked to have seen what I could have done in that marathon.

There's always next year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

T-57 hours

In one sense I feel more prepared for this race than for any other.  I think like with anything you just get more confident (cocky) as you get more experience.

On the other, I do have a certain sense of dread regarding the bike.  I think the swim will go well, a little faster than usual and my run should really be something special.  It's just that I haven't had the time on the weekends to get the long rides in.  I did one or two centuries over the summer and I have countless 75 and 80 mile rides but the last time I went 112 miles was 12 months ago.  The strategy here is just hold back forever.  Maybe on the last downhill open it up but that's it.  I'm saving it all for the run Sunday.  Hopefully my body won't disappoint.

I can't find a jersey I want to wear.  I was thinking a white tri top with something personal screened on it but I really can't find a jersey.  I'm going to try a triathlon store tomorrow but I'm not buying one just to blow money.

Tomorrow is my 42nd birthday.  I actually thought I was 42 already.  Going to try and go for a super early 1000 meter swim and then grab my free slam at Denny's with Ken and Matt.  I'm speaking at Openworks in the afternoon.  Saturday I do an easy 20 minute run, drop off my bike and get ready.

I'm ready.