Monday, March 14, 2011

A Real Training Weekend

The kids are out for Spring Break so I guess I couldn't put it off any longer --- time to put some real miles in.  Saturday called for 3-1/2 hours in the saddle and I happened to be invited to join a new group of riders on a 56 mile training route for BikeMS.  I figured that should fit the bill perfectly.  So even though it was a 45 minute drive each way, I opted to take on some different terrain than my usual haunts and join them.  Sunday called for my first brick interval workout.  That should be interesting!

Wind was straight out of the south.
I got up, had some oatmeal and egg whites, and hit the road.  I ended up being the first to arrive at the meeting spot and after awhile began to wonder if anyone else would show.  I guess I was expecting a larger group but as the time to ride approached there were only 4 of us.  Then as we were clipping in another 6 riders arrived.  Sweet, now we have an actual group. I should mention this was yet another day of steady 15mph winds with gusts around 25mph.  Several riders were getting dropped regularly early on which meant the group would be even more fractured when we hit the crosswinds and headwinds.  So just as quickly as the group numbers had increased, 3 of us pulled ahead on our own.

The route was fast for the first 20 miles heading north as it was all concrete with a tailwind.  Man, that felt good after the previous day's "recovery" ride.  Then we turned east.  Suddenly we're leaning into the wind on chipseal - a double whammy.  After a quick nature break at a convenience store (where we lingered just in case any others from the group were near) we got back on the road.  It was clear it was going to be just the 3 of us the rest of the way so we picked up the pace a hair.  Not too much, but right around threshhold.  Before long we turned south and it was going to be headwinds for 20 miles.  The nice thing about these long rides on unknown roads is you have no choice.  You have to hang with the ride leader and you have to finish the route.  I was the weaker of the riders in this case but I never lost contact by too much and the majority of the time we were able to share the load - so very important in a headwind.

After 3 hours 40 minutes and 57 miles we pulled back into the parking lot.  This was by far my longest ride so far this year.  In fact it was my longest since the Livestrong Challenge back in October.  It would've been tough to get it done on my own mentally with all the wind so I was thankful for new scenery and some new riding buddies, even if it was for just one day.  With that, I loaded up and headed home.

Zoot Men's Endurance Tri Race Suit, Shadow Pure/Yellow, Medium
Not me but my Zoot suit.
First brick workout = first time in my tri suit.  I have to admit, I was concerned with how that minimal pad was going to feel the day after my longest ride of the year.  I also had some challenges regarding how to record my workout data.   I decided to capture all the bike intervals as laps in a single file on my Garmin Edge500 and to do the same for the runs on my Garmin FR60.  Even though the data wouldn't be contiguous I figured it would be easy to sort out in the end.

I took off on the bike for a warmup and was surprised that while my sit bones were predictably sore, the minimal chamois in my Zoot Tri Suit was more than adequate.  In fact, I was as comfortable as I could've hoped to be.  After warming up I hit a threshhold interval which was challenging in a way I didn't expect.  I actually had trouble getting my heartrate up to LT, and I never have trouble elevating my HR.  It's usually the HR recovery part I have a problem with.  As I'm typing this I've received an email from my coach saying this is common the day after a hard ride.  Guess I won't sweat it.  1st bike leg: 7.73mi.

Now it was time for the first run interval.  I did the typical brick newbie thing and took off way too fast.  Of course, I was aware of this tendency so I got control of my pace quickly.  I actually felt fine the first mile but the legs got heavy .... fast.  My pace was decreasing very steadily and I was not enjoying the run at all.  1st run leg: 1.78mi @ 8:43min/mi.

Back on the bike and all is well.  HR still not in its normal range and speed is a bit lower but I feel better.  2nd bike leg: 4.8mi.

The second run was even more brutal than the first.  Nothing pretty about it - not my form, and definitely not the thoughts in my head.  Still, I didn't get to this point in the weekend to throw in the towel now.  I had to put on a raceday mentality to finish it off.  2nd run leg: 1.44mi @ 9:28min/mi.

Ah, back on the bike for a cooldown.  Nothing to complain about here - back in my element.  Final bike leg: 3.16mi.

Total Brick: 15.69mi bike and 3.22mi run

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