Sunday, July 8, 2012

More numbers: Four weeks to go!

Well, it seems that I haven't gotten this focus on the numbers out of my system yet!  With our trip in June, I did not want to ruin Michael's travels, nor my own, by obsessing about the Boulder race, which is officially four weeks from today.  And while the four week mark does elicit a range of emotions, most are positive, especially after this weekend's round of training.
So, yes, here it is: the ubiquitous training report.  And a bit of a ramble.

It seems like a long time ago that I signed up for Boulder 70.3, and I trained more or less steadily and faithfully all spring, but for other races, not so much the "big one".   May did not motivate too much to focus on Boulder (I had other things on my mind, such as the end of the school year), so when we returned from our trip last Thursday night, I took a look at the calendar and my stomach did a little flip in panic.  The trip was not a total wash in terms of training, since I continued to run quite a bit, but swimming and biking did suffer quite a bit.  However, I do feel confident after logging in a week that was VERY heavy on training that I should survive the Boulder race, if not finish strong.

The distance is the most obvious concern since this is new territory for me on the bike and in putting the distances together.  So, that begs the question - am I logging in the training hours necessary to finish the race feeling strong?  Before this weekend, I probably would have declared an emphatic "no", but thanks to a longish run (10 miles) yesterday and a slow but very hilly ride (44.5 miles and over 3800 elevation gain!) today followed by a 3 mile run, I've bolstered my confidence, especially because I ran and rode in warm weather and never felt like complete shit.  I thought that I would be exhausted for the rest of the day after the brick, so it has surprised me that my energy levels have been fairly high.  I had been dreading the ride today, thinking about the heat, the time in the saddle, and the crazy (to us) elevation gain.  We survived the climb, crawling along, and once we arrived at the intersection of Big Tujunga and Angeles Crest, we had a 9-mile decent. This gave our legs a much-needed break but challenged us in a different way, as the downhill is a somewhat (to me) technical decent, especially with the cars and motorcycles that zoom past and the rocks that we maneuver around, trying to avoid hitting them.  We had moments of white-knuckling along some parts of the decent, and Michael and I were both happy when we made it safely back to the flat lands!

In addition to mileage, the heat/weather conditions in Boulder have also worried me these past few weeks.  When we were in the Northwest, I enjoyed the cooler temperatures.  The hardest part about that was that I couldn't decide what to wear when it was 57 degrees outside and I was heading out for a run!  As pleasant as that was, it did not help me much to prepare for the heat that I'll most likely have to endure in Boulder in August.  With that in mind, I've made an effort to run and bike in the late morning or in the afternoon so that I will be somewhat prepared for the Boulder heat.  My first run back in Southern CA last week was pretty hellish as I struggled through 7.5 miles, but I'm making progress.  Please note, however, the high today in Boulder is supposedly 72 degrees, so I have NO IDEA what I'll have to deal with on August 5!  And, yes, I do wonder if the race will even happen, especially if another wildfire happens to break out somewhere in or around the area.  With that in mind, I'm keeping all of my options wide-open (you know, DNS, DNF, finish).

The training plan for the next week is to continue to push without, I hope, stressing my body too much.  My next long ride will involve much less climbing, so it will be interesting to see how much faster we are when we are tackling rolling hills rather than a relentless march up, up, up. Knock on wood, but my body also seems to be enduring the longer miles in the saddle and on my feet, one of my major concerns when I contemplated signing up for a longer triathlon.  Currently, I am feeling  more confident about tackling the longer distances in Boulder, but I am trying to balance that optimism with a dose of pessimism just to keep myself well-balanced!

At this point, I have not had any "AHA!" moments while training about the meaning of life, nor can I use triathlon/training as a metaphor for anything.  I have, however, enjoyed that the summer has given me the time to focus on this swim, bike, run thing.  I am still slow on the bike, but I have moments when I feel speedier.  Also, I noted after the ride today that the back of my legs were sore, not the front, so I'm working on my bike technique in addition to adding mileage.  One more plus in all of this - Michael has accompanied me on most of these biking exploits, so we've motivated each other.  It's definitely more fun to ride with someone else than alone, even though those solo rides can be necessary too.

The next few weeks will be filled with more mileage, and then some high-altitude training.  I plan to enjoy it as much as possible!


kilax said...

No need for a dose pessimism! You will do great! :)

Kalli said...

this sounds great! i am glad you are getting in those long runs and bike rides. i think boulder will be cool in the morning and then heat up as the day goes exciting!

Kristina said...

Kim - I hope that I enjoy the experience. That really is the most important aspect of the race to me, but you are right - no pessimism!

Kalli - It definitely won't be 100 degrees at 8:00 am, but I am worried about running in the heat. Hopefully the past few days here will help me, although it's been tough! Thanks for your kind thoughts.