I am slowly getting my race confidence back. It helps that my leg is starting to cooperate and that I have the most awesome, supportive friends/family ever!
This past week was a bit of turning point for me. I was able to run 3 times this week with minimal pain. I did a 5 miler on Wednesday evening which was painful but felt really good at the end. I also did a brick run on Saturday (more on this) of 4 miles that was super hard but also felt great at the end. And, a hilly 6 miler on Sunday that was just great!
I did 3 rides, 3 runs and 3 swims this week—much closer to the level that I should be at this point in training. Still not ideal but better!
The two BIG highlights for the week: 1) Thursday evening with Jen and Zach. It was a new ride for me and it was great---hard but great. I should have known it was going to be hard given that it was called the Terwilliger loop. It felt great to tackle the hills with confidence. Both Jen and Zach said they thought my riding has improved—yay! 2) The Inaugural Coach Jen Hagg Lake Tri! Jen organized a simulation tri for me and it was awesome!
Instead of boring everyone with all the details of the week I’m really just going to recap the Tri.
I picked Jen up in the morning and we headed out west to hilly hagg lake. I’ve ridden out there a couple of times and I did that 1.2 mile OWS back in May there as well. I had planned to do the Olympic distance race out there a few weeks ago but since I still wasn’t able to run I decided it wasn’t worth the money. Instead I had Jen organize my very own race!
The plan was to do about 20 minutes swimming which is approx 1000-1200 yards for me. Then bike 3 or 4 times around the lake (not totally race pace but pushing hard and minimal stops). Then do a 4-6 mile run depending on my leg.
I set up my T1 spot on the grass and my T2 in the front seat of the car. Jen was going to lock up the bikes after the ride but I was suppose to rack it on the bike rack, just like I’d have to do in a race.
Setting up T1
Swim: Jen did a countdown and I was off and swimming. I kept the pace nice and easy and just did lengthwise laps so I could still see the beach area. Jen was going to start waving her arms when it was time for me to head back to the beach and up to T1. I worked on staying relaxed and sighting. I practiced going around buoys, even though there weren't any actual buoys in the water. When I saw Jen wave her arms I rounded my last “buoy” and hit the gas back to the beach. I exited the water and started pulling off my wetsuit.
T1: I quickly padded off my feet and got my bike shoes, helmet, gloves, glasses and camelbak on. I took a gu wadded up my stuff, shoved it in a bag and threw it in the car. I grabbed my bike and headed to the “mount line.” Once I was mounted, I was off and riding. Jen estimates about 3 minutes 20 seconds.
Bike: Hagg lake is constant hills there are no flat stretches except across the dam which usually comes with a headwind. All I wanted to do was practice riding strong, taking my nutrition and focus on staying mentally positive. 56 miles is going to be a long way. I road the first 2 laps (about 21 miles) without any stops. This doesn’t sound like much given I can ride easily that far without stopping but at Hagg, in times past, I would have stopped at the top of most of the climbs for a breather. Instead I pushed through. At the end of lap 2 I stopped for 1 minute 30 sec break to adjust my shorts and seat and grab some more food. I rode the last loop as strong as I possibly could and learned that my fear of going fast downhill can be somewhat curbed by keeping my feet moving. New max speed 34 MPH was hit sometime during the ride—hooray for free speed. I road into the parking lot and dismounted at the mount line and went to the car for T2. (Nutrition: about 40 ounces of water drank, ¾ cliff bar + 1 Gu during T1) Mileage: 31.8 miles
T2: I changed shoes, slapped on my water belt, grabbed Garmin and my visor. I decided to use the time to also make a bathroom break since it’s quite possible I will need to during the race. Jen estimates about 5 minutes and change.
Run: The run was hard, I won’t lie. My legs were tired, my water balloon wasn’t happy and I’m out of running shape. But I persevered through 4 hilly, tiring miles and made it back to the “finish line.” I was greeted with a big sweaty hug from Jen and some handpicked flowers for my medal---awww! Oh and the best part---gourmet picnic food courtesy of Zach!
Total time: 3 hours 56ish minutes (I estimated that would have been about the same amount of time it would have taken for an Olympic tri. This was 2 run miles short but 8ish miles long on the bike. This was a super confidence building experience. It was also eye opening how hard the run is going to be. I know I can finish but I am going to have to stay mentally strong and really push through on the run.
This week I have a TON going on, we sign papers on our house, we move in on Saturday and my birthday is Friday. I’m still planning rides, runs and swims. I’m tapering down the biking distance, keeping swimming about the same since it doesn’t really tire me out and actually trying to up my “long” run a couple of miles. I can’t believe race day is almost here. I am both excited and scared and everything in between!!!