Some Bike Milestones

You wouldn’t know if for what little training has been going on in my life the last couple weeks, but this month I’ve had some good cycling milestones.  Giving some thought to these milestones is just what I need right now.  After admitting to myself that I was feeling exceptionally blah, I thought that would be the kick start I needed to get back into the swing of things.  It wasn’t, and I actually spent four days last week doing absolutely nothing, save a bit of senseless crying.  Now I’m trying to head into the next two weeks before Reston with a renewed sense of vigor.  You know what goes really well with vigor?  Self-congratulatory reminiscing about bike stuff!  In the last month I had a bike birthday, the longest ride ever, and my first puncture.

Last August I bought a used Linus Dutchi 8 from a friend.  It was meant to be my safe and friendly introduction back into riding.  Swoopy and upright, with an internal hub and fitted for all my grocery getting needs, I named her Peggy, and she came through like a champ.  I remember being scared going downhill the first time, riding the brakes the entire way down.  I remember riding to the top of “the hill” and feeling like I’d conquered Everest.  Best of all, I remember how great it was when I really started enjoying my time on the bike.  I’m an anxious and nervous person, and being on a bike made me feel wobbly, out of control, and like I had a target on my back.  Lots of times I still feel that way on my road bike.  But one day, on Peggy, I realized I felt good.  No big deal, just me and my bike, out doing bike things.  While I haven’t put nearly as many miles in as I thought I would, I still look forward to spending time with my swoopy steed.  Happy Birthday, Peggy!

Dutch bikes are wonderful, but they aren’t going to get you far on the bike leg of a triathlon, so most of my time this year has been on my road bike.  Given my anxiety and wobbliness, it should come as no surprise that during the week I get most of my rides in on the trainer.  On the weekends, in the early morning when the sun is just coming up and the traffic is light, I hit the roads.  Earlier this month, I got in my longest ride ever: 30 miles!  In addition to this being a milestone ride, it also helped me get the monkey off my back with regard to covering the race distance, since I added in a 3 mile run to make it a brick workout.  I started out in a bad place for that ride, with some saddle pain less than an hour in, and aching shoulders for the last eight miles.  By the time I hit the red caboose in Herndon, I was feeling better, and I was in a more mentally positive place on the way home.  As I cruised into the apartment complex, I realized I had gone 29.8 miles, so naturally I did a quick loop around the complex to bring home in 30.

I've been working all year toward this picture!

I've been working all year toward this picture!

I had no idea when I finished up my milestone ride that I had picked up another– my first flat tire.  It had to have been a slow leak, as all systems were go as I parked that day.  My bike leaned against the dining table for the next two days, and it wasn’t until Tuesday night that I realized the front wheel was completely flat.  A quick inspection, and I discovered a teeny little sharp piece of rock wedged into the tire.  Thank goodness I got to practice changing the puncture at home instead of on the side of the road.  After a bit of back and forth online with people who know way more than me, it was determined that I needed a new tire, since the rock had sliced all the way through.  With my race just a few weeks away, did I really want to have the added anxiety of riding on a patched tire?  No, no I did not.

This is my confident face.  No, really.

This is my confident face.  No, really.

That’s when the mechanical shenanigans really got going.  With the replacement in hand, I settled down to get the tube changed and put the new tire on.  Friday night done right!  I am in complete awe of the people on youtube who can zip through a tire change in a couple minutes.  It took me quite a bit of time to muscle the tire off the rim.  And getting the tire back on after the tube is replaced?  Maybe practice makes perfect, but if that’s the case, I’m really good at swearing now.  So there I was, finally ready to pump up the tire.  I was getting some weird hard and soft spots, and then the tire popped off the rim.  Turned out that the tube had some kind of defect, with spots that ballooned up and others that wouldn’t inflate.  No worries, I had another spare tube…

Except I didn’t.  Well, I did, but it didn’t last.  J decided he wanted to give the tube changing a go.  He likes to mess with stuff like that, and I was crazy busy playing Sudoku on my phone.  Anyway, long story short, pinch flat and blowout.  Whoops!  A few hiccups and missteps, but before long I was the proud owner of 5 properly sized inner tubes.  Installation went well, the new tire was put on, and finally (finally!) I was good to go.

Which bring us to today.  August is almost over, and I feel like I’m walking around in a fog.  Sometimes each day can be a bit of a struggle.  You take things one day at a time, and suddenly its 10 weeks later and you don’t really know where the time went.  I’m going through a rough patch right now, so it’s nice to be able to put together some thoughts about things that are going right.  Not that a puncture is ever right, but I’m excited to celebrate every single milestone available to me.  One day I’m going to look back at this and laugh, because 30 miles will be a quick ride, and changing a flat will be easy!

week in review: Reston Triathlon Training, week 5

This week I officially registered for my next two races: Harbor Fest 1.2 mile Open Water Swim, and the Reston Triathlon.  Reston will be my first Olympic.  And yes, I stressed out about this decision for way too long.  I am quite nervous about conquering the hills of Reston, but I’ll get to sleep in my own bed before the race.  Eight weeks of training before the big day.  Here’s how last week went.

My totals:

Swim - 2:23:38, 5450 yards

Bike - 3:27:22, 55.00 miles

Run - 1:26:20, 6.42 miles

Crepe Myrtle in bloom!

Crepe Myrtle in bloom!

Monday

  • Swim - 47:54, 1950 yards
    • 350 choice warm up :60
    • 300 pull (breathe 3/5 by 50) :90
    • 400 swim 2:00
    • 400 pull 2:00
    • 300 swim :90
    • 200 c/d

400 swims no longer feel like an eternity!  Step back weeks are always funny.  I feel like they should be easier, but I’m still so darn tired.  But hey, I can remember when 1950 was a seriously long workout.  Now it’s a stepback week.  Amazing what a bit of time and hard work can produce.

  • Trainer Ride - 45:02
    • Aerobic Intervals, aka sweatfest!
    • 10 min warmup
    • 4x (4 min @85% max, 3 min easy)
    • cool down

Tuesday

  • Run - 22:09, 1.78 miles

A bit overcast, and not as warm as I heard it was going to be. My HR kept buzzing at me for being too low, which was unexpected. Since this was such a short run I kept it to apt complex loops, so that meant no real elevation change.

  • Post Run Stretch

Lots of attention to calves.  Shoulders too, as I apparently slept contorted the night before.

  • Functional Strength - 45 minutes
    • 1/4 mile warm up walk
    • leg circuit #1
    • pedestal #2
    • myrtls
    • foot/ankle routine
    • 1/4 mile cool down walk

The leg circuit is hard! One legged squats are no joke, and I was so glad I only had to do 5 reps. On the bright side, my hip is definitely starting to feel stronger, and my balance is getting a bit better, too.

Wednesday

  • Swim - 52:45, 1950 yards
    • 250 w/u :60
    • 4x25 kick :15
    • 4x50 drill :20
    • 4x100 pull :30
    • 1x200 swim :60
    • 4x100 pull :30
    • 4x50 drill :20
    • 4x25 kick :15
    • 100 c/d

My workout called for drills, and I made the decision to do the ones I really can’t stand.  This is with the feeling that if I hate them, I must need to work on them more! So: catchup, one arm, and fist drills it was. Reach reach reach! I think I'm still swimming too flat, so I need to get my rotation back in order. After the season is over, refresher lessons are in order. Plus, they were super fun, so why not?

  • Trainer Ride - 45:14
    • LT Intervals
    • 10' warm up
    • 8x 2' @95% max HR, 1' recovery
    • cool down

95% max HR….yeah, right!  That would be 175 for me.  I was working my tail off and by the end of the second minute I was getting a titch over 160. Judging by the pools of sweat on the mat under my trainer, I was working pretty hard, so I'm happy with my effort.

Thursday

  • Run - 28:16, 2.02 miles

Warm and sticky, but the sun was out, which was nice. Wednesday was so overcast, so this was a nice change. The heat wave’s a-coming!

My legs felt heavy to start, but actually warmed up pretty decently. The 14 min/mile pace is a bit rough for the ego, but I do feel like I got further up some of the hills today before my HR buzzed and I started walking. No pain, and, quite happily, no acid reflux!

  • Functional Strength - 45 minutes
    • 1/4 mile warm up walk
    • leg circuit #1
    • pedestal #2
    • myrtls
    • foot/ankle routine
    • 1/4 mile cool down walk

I never would have guessed that lunges and planks and donkey kicks and whatnot would make me sweat more than I ever thought possible. Thank goodness for disinfecting wipes for those poor communal mats at the REC!

Friday (Active Recovery Day)

  • Swim - 42:49, 1550 yards
    • 200 warm up
    • 6x50 2x(kick, drill, swim) :20
    • 6x50 2x(back, breast, free) :30
    • 6x50 descend 1-3, 4-6 on 1:30
    • 300 as 2x(50 kick, 100 swim)
    • 150 cool down

Lots of backstroke and breaststroke in this recovery swim, and I loved it! Got my descending 50s, concentrated on rotation, and enjoyed my time at the pool. Stretched in the hot tub, then started the day!

Saturday

  • City Bike - 47:02, 7.63 miles

Hit the ATM, rode to the farmer’s market, locked up Peggy, and did my run out on the W&OD.  It was warm and sunny, and I drank my entire bottle of water between riding and my run.

  • Long Run - 35:55, 2.62 miles

I got a late start, so it was fully morning by the time I started running. It was quite a bit warmer than I was hoping for, so I needed to take plenty of walk breaks to get my HR down. I made it as far as Arlington before I turned around.  I had my new Nathan handheld bottle with me, and I like it pretty well. It could hold my phone, but I kept that in my Spi belt. Instead I had my keys, cash, and cards in there, with room for nutrition if need be.

Near my turnaround point, heading back into Falls church.

Near my turnaround point, heading back into Falls church.

Speaking of nutrition, since I was going to be going for well over an hour including biking, I tried out nuun plus. No change to the taste, which I love, and no stomach upset. Score!

Sunday

  • Long Ride - 1:10:04

I could write something about how it was really hot out, and I wanted to make sure this was a Zone 1 or 2 ride, and that’s why I was on the trainer.  But that would be a big fat lie.  I am a bike chicken.  My handling skills are horrible, and my discomfort is actually getting worse instead of better with every time I head out.  I am so in my head about it, which makes it worse.  So, this was a trainer ride.  While I’m quite pleased that I got a good hour of aerobic work in, I’m so disappointed in myself for not being able to conquer this bike fear.

So there we go, step back week is in the bag.  I have to figure this bike anxiety out before it becomes detrimental.  Looking forward, I’m pretty excited for this week.  This Thursday, weather permitting, I’ll be getting in my first OWS training session.  Upward and onward!