Pretty obvious, but I needed a day off to rest and let the body recover after yesterday's ride. Today will be spent with the family. Grilling, swimming, relaxing and enjoying the long weekend. No kids this weekend so I plan to follow up with another bike ride tomorrow. Have to get those bike miles in on the weekends when the kids are not with me.
Headed out with a goal of extended my longest distance from 30 miles to 50 miles. Started a little after noon and it was a hot day. Took approximately 30 ounces of water and 20 ounces of Gatorade (low calorie version). Heat got to me and I was cramping in my lower back pretty bad by mile 25 at my turnaround. Ran out of fluids at mile 30 and started getting light headed and a little tunnel vision. Had to call it quits just after 37 miles. Not sure if this is just a matter of I need more conditioning or what? I believe that should have been enough fluids for me on this ride, but will have to check into that. If I need more, I will have to buy a third bottle for the bike as I only have two. I may have pushed too hard as my average speed was 17.1 miles 25 miles in. Pretty fast for me at that distance. I'll treat this ride as a learning experience. Need to work gradually forward. When I stopped, I got a ride from someone and forgot to turn off my Garmin so the GPS data got messed up a bit. Distance and time are good as I manually adjusted them, but
Didn't feel like a long run so figured I would head out and see if I could set a new PR in the mile. Actual 1 mile time was 6:59!!! Pretty excited about that. Amazing progress and about a 40 second improvement over my previous best mile.
Woke up super early and started this run around 5 a.m. It was still dark and reminded me of the morning runs we used to do in the Marine Corps. Considering the slow run time I ran in the race last Sunday, this was really the first chance I have had to test out the legs since my calf pain started a few weeks ago. I decided to not focus too much on forefoot striking and just go with a form that felt comfortable without too much heel striking. This run felt pretty good. I nearly hit my PR and was able to run 5k without any problems to speak of. It would appear that my strained calf is healed. I will stay away from any form work until after vacation in order to ensure I am safely beyond this injury.
In the future, I will continue to work on moving to a foot strike that is more conducive to speed and stamina, but will do so more slowly. My current book, "Tread Lightly", has been a treasure trove of good information. The main things I have taken from it, I am nearly finished, is that I need to work on form much more slowly than I have been doing up to this point. I also need to start looking into my cadence. The 175-180 range is apparently optimal, but I have seen pro triathletes recommend cadences that seem to vary with distance. More homework is required on cadence, but I can at least tell it is something I need to be looking at as it has a huge impact on running efficiency; regardless of your form. I also need to make sure I am not overstriding. This has been universally agreed by running experts to be a big no-no for the past 100 years now. I am pretty sure I was overstriding when I was working on the barefoot style before. Shorter strides, higher cadence, needs to be more of my focus. The book does point out that there really is no one optimal running style that can be applied to all runners and that you basically have to make the best decision as it applies to you and your body. There are too many variables. Do the homework and decide what is best for you. That is what I'll continue to do.
First off, let me tell you, I was not nearly as amped up for this race as I was for the first one. With the leg injury, almost total lack of training the past week, and the fact that I am now a grizzled veteran (insert eye roll), I was fairly relaxed. I didn't obsess nearly as much about my nutrition as in the first race, but did still do some carb loading the night before and made sure I wasn't starving myself during the week. I still have about 10-15 pounds to lose, but I know that the days leading up to a triathlon are not the ones to cut calories.
I woke up at 4:30 and was out the door just after 5 a.m. Race started at 7:15 a.m. so we were shooting to get there by around 6:30 a.m. or thereabouts. Rachel and I arrived at the first race approximately an hour and a half early last time. This actually wasn't so bad for the first go around as there is a lot to take in and it was nice to not feel even a little bit rushed. We didn't think this was really necessary for this race as we know the general routine now. Rachel and I collaborated on a quick breakfast for me. Last race was a bagel, peanut butter, EAS shake, chia seeds, and a red Gatorade X-factor out the door. This time we didn't have any bagels in the house so I went with some mini toaster waffles, peanut butter, banana, and the same red Gatorade X-factor on the drive.
We arrived approximately when we had planned and I got checked into the transition without incident. There was approximately 30-45 minutes before the race started and this was plenty of time to get settled in. Only problem was that most everybody else had already showed up so it was tough finding an opening for my bike/transition gear as there were no assignments. It was a free-for-all and I felt like I was the last man standing in a game of musical chairs. I did manage to find a spot though.
The swim was 300 meters in an indoor 50 meter pool. I had signed up for the race with a 7:45 estimated time so this had me starting with bib 80 out of approximately 145 entrants. I was a little nervous how I would do given my lack of training this past week, but decided to try to put that out of my mind and just go with the flow and try to be attentive to what my body was telling me along the way. I started out o.k., but definitely felt like I was less aerobically prepared versus my first race. I tired more quickly and had to go to the backstroke about 3 times after the 150 meter point. I never backstroked for more than about 10-15 seconds though and just pushed through. I passed several people and noticed that the lane behind me was empty as I was getting out of the pool. Checking my results after the race showed that I had a swim time of 7:31. I actually had done better than I had expected. First triathlon pace was 2:33 per 100m and this race was 2:30! Not sure why I felt so horrible, but I was apparently doing o.k.
First transition was uneventful. Got changed over fairly quickly. Was a little wobbly getting on the bike. I don't go out with my shoes clipped in to the pedals and opt to put them on my feet first. I had a little problem finding my clips so I didn't exactly look "pro" getting going, but I made it. Need to practice having the shoes clipped to the bike before my next race and see how that goes.
The bike course for this race was a little longer than the first race; 12.75 miles versus 12 miles. I immediately noticed a problem with my Garmin as I headed out on the bike. In the pool area, since the Garmin couldn't obtain a satellite signal, it had asked me if I was indoors. I replied "yes." What I didn't realize is that, despite being in multi-sport mode, this effectively turned off the GPS functionality of the watch. Heading out on the bike it was quickly evident that I had no GPS and therefore no speed or distance information. The only data I had was how long I had been riding and what my heart rate was. This proved to be a pretty big problem as I couldn't pace myself on the bike or run. I went out strong, but could tell that I was probably overdoing it because my heart rate was around 170-180. It pretty much stayed there for the entire bike leg. I felt fast on the bike and seemed to be holding up well so I just went with it and thought, "maybe I can try pushing myself a little harder this race." My official bike split was 41:38 at an average pace of 18.37 mph. This was a pretty good increase over my first race of 17.91 mph; especially considering the added distance.
Coming into transition off the bike I felt fairly winded, but was still doing o.k. I transitioned well and was off on the run without incident. My legs were a little tired and stiff, I had not run in nearly a week and had just come off of the bike after all, but there was not pain in my calf. I started off tentatively and eased into the run at a much slower pace than normal. This was by feel only, but I could definitely tell I was going at a much slower pace than normal for me. I felt o.k. through the first mile, but could start to feel the same stomach discomfort that I felt in my first race. It was definitely the red Gatorade sloshing around in my stomach. It was only 20 ounces and I had consumed it over an hour and a half before the race, but it was definitely still in there as I could kind of taste it. Like red Gatorade heartburn. My heart rate continued to stay in the 175-180 range that I was in coming off the bike and I started feeling like I was losing steam fast. The queasy feeling in my stomach continued to get worse and somewhere around the mile and a half mark that red Gatorade decided it wasn't staying in my stomach any longer. I stopped, puked, ran a little further, and stopped and puked again. All red Gatorade; maybe mixed with the 10 ounces of water I consumed on the bike. I managed to pull it together and finish out the run, but had to take 3 more short walks after that. In the end, there was no sprinting to the finish for me. I finished out as strong as I could muster and ended up with an official run time of 31:20. Not horrible considering I blew chunks on the course, but over 2 minutes slower than my first race.
Overall, my official times were as follows:
I included my first triathlon on 7/19 for comparison. In the end, given the hurdles I faced this past week, I was still pleased with this performance. It was actually a slight improvement over my first race when you consider the extra 3/4 mile on the bike. Me and Rachel discussed my stomach problems on the ride home and she did some searching on the internet as I was driving. She turned up some forum posts on beginnertriathlete.com where people reported the same results drinking regular Gatorade before or during a triathlon. I was really only doing it to give myself one last dose of electrolytes before the race and thought I was far enough out for it to clear my stomach, but apparently not. The forum posts mentioned that Gatorade G2 has a fraction of the sugar content of regular or X-factor Gatorade and Powerade Zero pretty much has none. I could tell the sugar content is what set my stomach off so I may try one of these drinks leading into my next race and may either drink less or further out from the start time. I love water too so this might be an option. It is the only thing I took in over the course of the race itself. It is possible that the slight change to my race morning meal could have caused an issue as well, but I didn't throw up anything solid so I think I was o.k. there. I'll continue to play with this in future race preparations until I can get it dialed in for myself.
Overall, this was another great experience and I look forward to doing it again. I am not currently signed up for another race, but will look to do 1 or 2 more before the season ends. I go on vacation this upcoming Thursday and school will be starting soon so it will be a bigger challenge going forward on the training and race front. I'll continue to post regardless as I think it is important for everyone to see that life certainly can get hectic, but that pulling back on the training/race schedule doesn't mean you have to give up.
This ride went surprisingly well. My injured calf didn't present any problems. This was over my normal training course; just cut in half. The leg was completely pain free all day. I am praying it hold up tomorrow.
It is the Friday before my sprint tri on Sunday. The leg is still sore, but is finally showing some decent improvement. Range of motion before I feel the pain is increasing and the pain is not there really at all when I am sitting or standing still. My problem now is that, if I push it and try to run today and injure it further, I am pretty well toast for this Sunday.
One bit of good news. My CO2 cartridges came in today so I can give the bike a go tomorrow. Planning to get out there and do a short ride. Can't over do it the day before a race, but really am in need of working out the cobwebs of all this down