Tuesday, July 31, 2007

And Onto the Next!

I gave myself a whole three hours to get over my Hall of Fame 5-Miler performance... and then I registered for the Greater Cleveland Triathlon and the Akron Women's Super Sprint Triathlon on Sunday night.

Registration for the Perfect 10-Miler and the Portage Lakes Triathlon will have to wait. I still need to experience how post-triathlon feels to me!

With those two events looming, I thought it was about time I start riding my bike already. So, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. (much to Neil's dismay) on Tuesday, had a healthy bowl of Flax Plus Raisin Bran with blueberries, packed my riding backpack and cycled to work.

I went through the usual self-cursing during the first four miles of uphill, more uphill and still uphill, and then took a different route to Kent State where I was actually afforded a bike path!

What I didn't get was too much peace of mind: I've had this sneaking suspicion that my back tire is flat. I tried to patch the whole, but found none. And while my tire always ends up low after a few days in the garage, it was just fine this morning. But I rode all day with the fear I'd be low-riding at any minute!

After I pushed through the uphill torture and meandered down the bike lane, I thought I was almost at work. But it was then that I realized that Tuesday would be the day of wishful thinking. First, I swore that I was farther down the road every time I turned a corner, and then I was repeatedly confident that I had just ridden over the "big hill on Fairchild" everyone had been talking about. Until I was at the foot of it.

It was a MONSTER hill! Granted, I'm remarkably awful at cycling right now and probably won't think the same way in a few months... but it was HUGE! By my uninformed and spatially challenged perceptions, it had to be a 30 percent grade. Ahh! I felt like I was in San Francisco.

It was about nine miles into my ride, my legs were pooped and the raisin bran had been burned by mile six. I switched into one of my lowest gears and took the first eighth of the hill pedal-by-pedal. I huffed, I puffed and I nearly blew myself down.

Then I gave in: I hopped off my bike and power-walked my bike up the hill. And even the walk was difficult. It made me realize, however, how my legs will feel when they're exhausted from the bike ride. (Please: no photos of me next Sunday when I kick off into that final 5K!)

It also made my appreciate (read: love) the downhill that followed. Unfortunately, I was riding on the sidewalk where the would-be crosswalks didn't have ramped or smooth edges to them. Just curbs. And that just doesn't feel great when you're flying downhill at 20-25 mph.

With all of the uphills, downhills, flat lands, lights and stops, the ~10-mile ride took me an hour into work and then 58 minutes back. I was aiming for 50 minutes on the way home, but it didn't happen.

I don't have a handle yet whether I'm just a bloody slow cyclist, my route is excessively hilly or the stops/lights stall my progress more than I realized. If it's not one of the latter two, I'm going to be dead last in the triathlon... aren't I? I know people who can run faster than that. Sigh. At least I don't have to worry that riding a hybrid bike (instead of a tri-bike) will hurt my success too much. From the looks of it, I might just need to pick up a Vespa.

Other than the bike commute, I also pedaled to the rec. center, where I swam a quick 1,800-yard workout, including:
  • 300 yards free warm-up
  • 1,300 yards free
  • 200 yards IM cool down

A rather speedy girl was swimming at the pool today (she was one of those major leg-slapping flip-turners), and on any other day, I would have loved the push. Finally, a formidable competitor! Only I was less than formidable today. I was already a bit creaky and exhausted before the morning ride, and I could feel my tiredness and weakness throughout my arms and legs in the pool. Perhaps it was just the tiring past week, Monday's weight training or power yoga... it's just a rare occurrence. So, I'll use it as an exercise in my own control and ability to swim for myself.

I might not be as successful next time ;-)

Neil's running tip of the day: if you want to increase your pace, just run faster.

When Neil and I were discussing my pace before Sunday's 5-miler, I admitted that I had a pacing problem and have had difficulty reaching my pacing goals. So, Neil gave me some key advice: if I'm behind pace, just run faster;-) I guess I should have followed his advice! But I'll keep it in my for the future.


Charlie said...

Bike commute times are always a bit slow. Being on your bike will make you a better biker. Stoplights and hills break momentum, don't let it discourage you. You will be fine at GCT. I will be at the finish line with my guitar. Have fun training.

Steve S. said...

...I guess that's good advice...

...OBVIOUS, but good...

GP said...

Hey... it's not obvious to all of us! Some of us might need a more than usual reassurance ;-)

Oh 2 Run said...

I found your blog on CRN and was interested in the title - KONA in 2015. I have been doing tri (the short ones0 for about 8 years and keep telling myself that when I am older and wiser I will do the big one. I keep getter older and it is still scary to think about. I like your determination.