Monday, June 16, 2008

I Needed That

After getting home at midnight Friday night, I decided that hitting the road Saturday morning wasn't in the cards, so I moved my ride to Sunday morning. Sunday morning started like every other ride prep with waking up early (5:00a this time), and spending an hour getting gear, drink and food together. I hit the road at 6:00a with a 22.4 mile route planned out.

This was my first ride since Bike to Work Day on May 16th. That trip was a 22 mile round trip, so I didn't think matching that mileage would be a problem. What I didn't realize was how "not a problem" it was going to be.

My first test on this route was at 4.5 mile hill, aptly named because this is a very common route out to the Frederick countryside, and it hits me right about 4.5 miles into the ride. I knew this hill needed a name since it and I have quite the history. When I first started riding last year, I would end up with my heart rate pounding at 200+ bpm at the top. After learning how to properly climb hills, I was able to keep my HR under 200, and based on my fitness level, it continued to drop. Sundays result? 187 bpm and feeling like a champ. I didn't have my heart rate monitor when I rode this hill the week before BTWD, but I know I didn't feel as good as I did yesterday.

As I continued on, I found myself laughing, talking to myself (which then caused me to laugh more, mostly at myself), whistling, playing games with the squirrels in the road, and generally having a grand ol' time. I'm still astonished at how relaxed and mentally calm I was. I hope this is something that stays with me. This was a great time for this kind of thing to happen because I've been on the fence recently about whether or not I would make it to race day. With my swimming and cycling strong, I just need to push harder on running and I'll be golden. Easier said than done. But my cycling is strong.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hot Hot Hot!

I decided after my unproductive treadmill run last week that my biggest issue now was running on a treadmill. There are things inherently wrong with running on a treadmill such as lack of air flow, the surface, and the monotony (not to say that running isn't monotonous, in my opinion). It seems I can't move beyond a 30 minute treadmill workout, so I decided it was time to hit the paved W&OD trail behind work.

I decided on Wednesday that I would run before work since it had been so toasty lately. Well, even at 6:30/7:00a, the dew point was elevated, it was humid, and it was hot and sunny. I did a 3 mile out-and-back, and the first half was brutal. I was working through a cramp that started at my clavicle and stretched down to my lower ribs on the right side. This made me begin to doubt why I had thought I could be a runner and that I should stick to cycling and not this fancy triathlon stuff. On the way back things felt better, and I let all the bad thoughts fall onto the trail. There was a lot of walking overall, but considering the weather, I let it go.

Hopefully getting out of the gym will help me extend my runs (or rather, walk/runs) and build up my endurance. I'm tired of hammering myself for not being able to run 3 miles straight, but if I start walk/running 4 or 5 miles, those first 3 miles should become easier. Here's to hoping.

Boy, I am so NOT a runner.