Monday, April 09, 2012

Big Weekend

I was joking during my ride on Saturday that this was my "walking on Sunday night is optional" weekend.  Turns out, I really wasn't joking.  Yowzers.

Friday I did my Masters swim workout in the morning, which was 3,000 meters.  I am on swim team #4 since moving here, and so far so good.  However, its only been 2 weeks.  The workouts are pretty good, though.  I joined LifeTime fitness.  The pool is an appropriate temperature (81, but it doesn't feel that warm) which is nice.  Meters pool, which is ok.  But the lanes are about 6-8 inches narrower than they should be.  That makes group swimming a bit more of a contact sport than I'd prefer.  Thank goodness for that crazy IMTX swim - now contact doesn't bother me anymore.  Workouts seem pretty varied, which is good.  Friday was 10 x 200s, which with my previous team would have been all freestyle (zzzzz).  This set was varied, with some pacing, kicking, pulling, and IM.  Not zzzz.  Cool!

Friday after work was fun because I got my new Team SunRype kit!  Last year, I was a bit bummed with the Sony kit, it was soooo monochromatic, all black, grey, and white.  And the shorts were awful - tons of seams and none of them were flat.  I'd get chafing marks from a 5K!  The SunRype kit is much, much better.  Flatlocked seams (yay!) and this sucker is colorful.  Will also approves, because it is primarily Broncos colors.  Ugh.  The bonus: it coordinates really well with my obnoxious new Newton Motus shoes.
After much messing around with my new kit (read: procrastinating) I put on plain boring running clothes (but kept the shoes on) and hit the trail for a 1 hr run.  This run sucked.  It was crazy windy out, to the point where I almost had to point myself sideways to maintain forward motion.  It also sucked because it was just plain hard to run.  The legs just weren't feeling it.  But I got it done.

Saturday called for a long brick - 2.5 hr ride and a 1 hr run.  Wa-hoo!  I did the ride with my tri club and we took the hilly way around town.  Three (?) weeks ago when I did this route, I honestly thought I was going to die going up the hills.  My heart rate was in the high 170's and I was hurting.  This was also my first ride of the season outside.  Happily, this ride was much better!  HR never got above the low 160's and I felt like I could climb easier.  Woo-hoo!  I didn't do the full loop because of my 2.5 hour limit, so a few of us broke off and rode the trails back to the Rec Center.   I immedately stripped my warm layers off in the parking lot (I got a lot of looks from the soccer moms) and took off for my run.  In my fancy orange shoes.  This run felt FANTASTIC.  Funny how maybe all I needed was a bike ride to warm up my running legs.  I kept with my nutrition plan from my long run a few weeks ago: 1 sip of a Liquid Shot ever 2 miles, sip of water ever 1 mile.  My stomach was a bit crampy after the Liquid Shot, so I adjusted my pace slower for a minute or two following the nutrition and that really seemed to help.  I managed to throw down 5.5 miles in 1 hour, which is my fastest run this season.  Woo-hoo!

Then the rest of the day was an ice bath, a nap, and some chinese delivery.  I am a bundle of excitement.

Sunday called for a long ride - 60 miles.  It wasn't going to be very windy and for some reason, I decided that it was a good day for Palmer Lake.  It is so pretty up there, but that 20 miles of rolling uphill climbing (2,000 ft in 20 miles) is hard.  I had ridden it a few times last spring and it kicked my ass, so I was interested in seeing where my fitness was this year.

I finally got out there by 8:45 AM and it was chilly.  I think the temps were inthe 30's.  Brr.  Not a happy camper, and I tried to store this feeling in my cons list for considering IMCDA next year.  The elevation increase starts from the very beginning of the ride and pretty much doesn't stop for a little over 20 miles.  Immediately, my legs were dead.  Like, there was nothing there at all.  Hmmm, this was going to make for a long 60 miles.  I always approach this sensation with my "30-minute" rule.  Give my legs 30 minutes or so to warm up and then evaluate things.  Thirty minutes went by and things weren't great but they were tolerable.  By mile 9 I had a full bladder so I stopped at a tree-lined ditch.  That seemd to help things and I was having an easier time riding.  By that point, I wasn't sure if I was going to be ready for the big hill, so I decided that maybe the way to go was to do two 15-mile out and backs to get to my 60 miles total.  At mile 11, the legs were cooperating and I was doing better.  By mile 14, I started recognizing things and realized the big hill was maybe a mile away.  Legs felt ok and I decided to suck it up and go for it.  I saw the hill and realized it really wasn't that bad.  Well, not that long anyways.  I went for it and I think I actually did a bit better than last year.  This hill is a bit deceiving, though.  Its not long, but its steep.  And it banks around a pretty sharp curve.  There's no shoulder and with the banking, it makes it a bit scary.  Once you start going up, you're committed!  And of course a big truck was behind me and honked at me.  I really don't know what the honking accomplishes.  If there was a shoulder or bike lane, don't you think I'd be riding in it?

I rode up towards Palmer Lake, but finally at mile 22 I was done.  I'm pretty sure I was at the last major hill but I was not feeling it anymore.  My legs needed a break after nearly 2 hours of uphill work.  So, I turned around without actually making it to town. 
I really have no idea why I can't manage to keep my helmet straight...
I really love this ride because you hug the foothills and even get up into the foothills a bit.  The whole area is ranch land and open.  So even though my legs weren't happy, I just focused on the pretty-ness and appreciated the fact that I was riding in Colorado and not Houston.
Definitely not Houston
The way back is mostly downhill, so you can cruise.  I had a hard time figuring out the winds.  When you were standing around, there were no winds.  When you were riding north, there were swirly winds.  I didn't remember feeling like I was riding into a headwind on the way up, but riding down, it felt mostly tailwind.  With some scary swirly crosswinds.  I was hauling at 30 mph in my aero bars when a gust came out of nowhere and made me wobble a foot sideways.  Freaked me out, as I had visions of going down with a broken collarbone and I had just purchased my $300 entry to Boise.  It was just going to be one of those descents... the kind where you don't get to enjoy it as much as you've earned the right to.

On the way up I noticed a herd of pretty rust-colored cows.  So on the way down, I stopped by to take their picture.  They were all lined up nicely against the fence and then a huge line of 15 motorcycles blew by and scared them away.  Sigh.
no amount of sweet talk could coerce them back to the fence.
The clouds were so neat that day!
In the middle section, there was a bit of a dip and climb.  I should have had about 42 miles round trip, which meant I had about an hour more of riding left on my schedule.  My hope was that about an hour of nice, easy downhill riding would recover my legs enough where I could ride that last hour and be ok.  This little bit of climbing was pretty awful and I decided that 3 hours and 42 miles was going to be it for the day.  And traffic going south-bound was picking up.  I'd been honked at a second time (again - no bike lane! not sure what honking will do!) and my mood overall was just not great.  Not sure what the deal was, but my legs were just not playing along.
I love this barn in the background but never made the time to stop and take a picture.
I think given how my legs felt from the begining, 3 hours is still pretty good.  I wish I hit 60 miles, but I've got 8 weeks to Boise and have at least 2 more 60 mile rides in my future.

That afternoon, we were getting our patio ready for a bbq.  Just walking up 3 steps while holding patio furniture killed my legs.  Walking upstairs was even worse.  My legs were JELLO.  Even with taking a super-cold ice bath.  It was almost funny how wasted they were.

I'm trying to evaluate my nutrition and see if maybe that didn't have something to do with it.  My legs actually felt fine Sunday morning.  No soreness from the previous day's effort.  It was like there was no gas in the tank.  Saturday I didn't have a recovery drink, which in hindsight, was a bad call.  I had an iced coffee, which has no nutritional content to it at all.  And then about an hour later I had 2 pieces of pizza.  Sunday morning I had a Coke Zero, an apple, and almond butter.  I ate basically the same thing on Saturday and felt fine, but maybe I needed a bit more in the tank for a consecutive hard training day.  Either way, it was a good reminder that I need to have a recovery drink ready in my truck.  Or get something a bit more nutritional at Starbucks.

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