Monday, January 17, 2011

Top 10 things I learned taking my new bike out for its first ride of the season

10. They moved the bottle cage on this bike from my last one-- I can't reach it. Why would they do this and how was I supposed to know when I bought the new one? Along those lines, they removed the cage holder from the seat tube. . . only 1 cage??? Not cool. Gotta figure out one of those butt pack ones now.
9. Almost all the confidence I gained on my old bike did not transfer to my new bike-- took 18 miles (or so) to feel even close to comfortable on the new bike. Still not sure I like the new shifters either
8. My new bike needs a name. Problem is I liked the name of my old bike (see #6, below).
7. Double spin class (2hr) in the gym is nothing like 2 hours on the real bike. Nothing.
6. Who ever stole my old bike is really an asshole. And I'm not a big fan of whoever bought it and is riding it now either.
5. I still climb better than I descend. Why do I keep signing up for Ironman races with no climbing? IM St. George (Utah) still has spaces-- what am I waiting for?
4. I missed both of my better cycling halfs. . . Sandy and or Norma, we need to ride soon.
3, You can't tell from the first ride whether your aerobars are in the correct position (or at least I can't). . . Felt short for the first 18 or so, then started to be OK. . . think I need another good road ride to figure it out.
2. God bless my Adamo saddle.
1. Just because you rode 112 miles 4 months ago does not mean you can jump on a bike and ride 25 easily.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Dance Card

Who is on your dance card?
Knowing that I'm doing Iron Man Arizona on November 21, 2011 leaves me with a long long time to figure out what, exactly, I want to do between now and then. My first temptation, sitting on my butt and hoping that I can just show up and have a good race probably isn't all that realistic, so I've been designing a training plan/race plan for the year.

So here is my dance card (definite races in bold-- tentative races in italics)
Solvang Century Ride, March 9, 2011 (100 mile bike ride)
Oakland Marathon, March 27, 2011 (26.2 miles)
Wildflower Long Course Triathlon, April 30, 2011 (1.2 mile swim; 56 mile bike; 13.1 mile run)
100th Anniversary Bay to Breakers May 15, 2011 (7.4 miles across San Francisco)
Escape From Alcatraz June 5, 2011 (1.5 mile swim; 18 mile bike; 8.4 mile run)
Dipsea Footrace June 12, 2011 (8.4 mile trail run)
Peachtree Road Race July 4, 2011 (6.2 mile run)
Vineman Aquabike July 30, 2011 (2.4 mile swim; 112 mile bike)
Falmouth Road Race August 13, 2011 (7.1 mile run)
San Francisco Triathlon @ Alcatraz August 21, 2011 (1.5 mile swim; 24 mile bike; 7 mile run)
Nike Women's Marathon (or 1/2) October, 2011 (26.2 mile run)

Guess I gotta start training
So I've got the races picked out-- and it looks like a pretty full year to keep me motivated. Now, gotta actually start training for those races. I've started back pretty slowly-- I'd not been doing nothing for the last two months, but I've definitely not been doing 100 mile bike rides either. So, this week-- with plenty of time to get my act together-- I started my run focused training with some brick workouts (a bike ride followed by a run) and some longer runs.

Monday's spin class at 6:45 am was great-- then, after getting the kids ready for and to school it was off to Blackie's Pasture for my run. I did a six mile "lollipop" loop and felt great-- I even made it back in time to make it to Reader's Workshop in Will's class.

On Wednesday it was another 6:45 spin class followed by an 8 mile run (after getting the kids off to school). The out and back to was a good run. The way out was nice and toasty-- my gloves came off; my shirt sleeves got rolled up I stopped to take a picture of the seal floating in the bay. Then came the turn around. Yikes-- Holy Head Wind Batman. It took me an extra 5 minutes to make it home the wind was so strong. All in all, however, it was a pretty strong run for my first longer run since November.

It was even colder on Friday. The temperature dropped to 39, and while not particularly cold for most parts of the world, it is pretty chilly for here. This is partially my own fault since I've managed to not acquire a lot of really cold weather gear. That being said, gloves, ear warmers, full tights and long sleeves on-- I headed out.

I'd decided to run a Dipsea Loop. Not the Dipsea Trail, but a loop through Mill Valley that includes the famous dipsea steps (you can check out other editions of my blog or for a discussion of the famous Dipsea Footrace.

Anyway, this is a really up hill course and includes all 671 steps. Yes, 671 steps. They are steep. They are uneven. They are really hard to run. So, I ran the first set. . .

Walked the second set. . .

And ran the third. To say that I was sucking wind is an understatement. By the time you get to the top of that third set it is a "freight train" breath moment. . .
Followed by a three mile run down hill back into town and to my house. All in all-- a good training day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Week One-- Sort of

Wow-- so last year, when I knew I was going to do an Iron man, I had the benefit of knowing that I was going to do it with Team in Training's IronTeam-- a group of folks dedicated to curing cancer AND training for distance events. I'd have coaches (three of them no less) to design workouts; team captains to provide routes, mentors and other captains to provide support on the courses. . . Basically, all was taken care of and I had nothing to worry about.

This year? I have nothing.

O.K. well, not completely nothing, I've got books with triathlon workouts in them; I've got 1/2- 3/4 of my season's materials from last year; I've got maps of good routes here in Marin county; I've got the Internet-- try a quick search for Iron man triathlon training. . . I'll wait right here. . .

See what happens? By my computer, there are almost 2.8 million articles, stories, plans, groups to train you, and coaches on the web. . . Yeah-- that helps. Not to mention that most of these coaches, plans etc cost money-- the one thing that (after having to pay the Foundation Fee to get my race entry) I'd rather not do.

Yep, you guessed it. I'm already feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of doing this all by myself.

That being said, I know that there are some things that I want to do this time.

If you've read my previous entries, you know that I was not happy with my run-- to the extent that you can call it a run. Throughout last year's season, I didn't feel like I was running enough-- never felt like I was going to be prepared for the run part of the course-- and I was right. Now, I think that the reasons for that are twofold-- first, we didn't run enough and second, no one (no matter how much they try) can fully mentally prepare you for the way you feel starting out on that marathon at 4 in the afternoon. So, one thing I want to do is improve my run (and my run time).

Most of you also know by now of my off again love affair with my bike. I've never been a biker. I'm generally terrified of my bike. BUT, at some point during last year's season, I developed a confidence on the bike. I was slow, but I was capable. I climbed some killer hills. I pedaled some killer distances. I was able to do this. By the time race day came around, I knew that I could complete the 112 miles on the bike. . . and I thought I could do it in the time limits.
I was hoping to do the distance between 7hours 45 minutes and 8 hours. Due to the heat (103 degrees on the bike) and some problems with water (the race not having any at a few water stops) I pushed the higher end of that envelope and finished in 8 hours and 4 minutes. This year, I'd like to do better.

Finally, or more appropriately, first off, the swim. I'm generally pretty strong here and put forth a confident swim time. That being said, I do think I could do it a little faster next time-- I know that while I was in the water I kept thinking about one of my coaches, our swim coach, who left too much of her energy in the swim during her first triathlon and had a rough afternoon because of it. So, I don't want to change too much here-- maybe shave off a minute or 2.

I know my goals:
Swim- 2 minutes off my time
Bike-30 minutes off my time (8 to 7h 30 min)
Run-30 minutes off my time (6 to 5h 30 min)

and now you do too. . . now we just have to figure out how to get there.

As an afterthought, the other think I'd like to do better is transitions. I spent about 5 minutes in the first transition (changed from bikini bottom to bike shorts, socks, and got shoes, bike helmet and sunglasses and bike)-- which was respectable. I spent 14 minutes or so in T2. Changed shorts, top, hat, socks, and got out the door. . . not sure what happened here. . . OK-- it had something to do with a 103 degree bike ride and a large (3 ft) fan in the changing tent . . . but I know I can do better here as well.