Better weather means the return of our club group fun runs (yay!) as well as weekly track workouts (ouch!). It's nice to have a purpose to each run again. During marathon training I felt like most of my runs were just mile-logging runs and didn't really have a specific purpose. (This was my own doing, most people training for a marathon do have specific workouts throughout training). I went to my first track workout this week and survived, but it wasn't pretty, and yes I whined a lot. I haven't done any speed work in close to a year, and it really showed. We did a one mile time trial and I was humbled to barely break 8 minutes. I equate this to eating junk throughout the holidays and then stepping on the scale after New Year's, and being shocked at what the scale is telling you. It was eye opening, and shows I sure have a lot of work to do! Track is a weird thing though. I dreaded going, pretty much hated running that mile, but afterwards I couldn't wait to go back to track and focus on improving.
In other exciting news, did I happen to mention this silly little half ironman triathlon, the Patriot half, I'm doing in five weeks?! I got so caught up in Boston blabber that I never really gave it much discussion. I still can't even believe that back in December I somehow thought this was a good idea to sign up for a half iron just after Boston. I rationalized it by saying that I would already be in running shape, and the swimming and biking would be good cross training anyways...so it would be the perfect fit. Right? Well, sort of. But, things got pretty complicated trying to blend my Boston training plan with my Patriot plan as the marathon got close. I missed some high volume weeks of triathlon training because it conflicted with my marathon training taper, but I just kind of had to wing it for a few weeks. I'm back on track now though, all recovered from Boston and finally hitting some of my triathlon training targets.
Last weekend I kicked off the season with a challenging duathlon! This was a 1.5 mile run, 14 mile bike, 2 mile run. It was good practice for me, and showed me that I need to speed up my transitions and do more running right after cycling (aka "brick sessions"). I found out real fast that I'm not good at clipping into my pedals under pressure, and I struggled with that for about 50 yards before finally settling in. I also learned that my adorably petite bike is so small it doesn't reach the ground in transition:
As if that wasn't bad enough, this happened to be an extremely windy day, causing my bike to swing wildly off the rack. It got a lot of chuckles from the guys around me. Eventually I ended up stuffing my gear bag under the front tire to keep it secure. In the future I'll bring an extra towel with me to use as a chalk block. Now I know! The course itself was a little painful. Lots of uphills, and even the flats were challenging because of the steady, strong head wind, and the downhills were a little scary with the cross wind!
Okay there were a lot of complaints in there but I'm kind of kidding about most of it. It was actually a super fun race, my first duathlon, and I felt pretty accomplished afterwards! It was a small turnout, but hey look what I got!
The good thing about where I live is that there is no shortage of hills, so I have plenty of opportunity to hone my climbing skills. However, the Patriot course is pretty flat so I won't have worry about any crazy climbs. Yesterday Rori and I headed down to Freetown and took a ride on the course. I was a tiny bit worried about doing the whole thing since my longest outdoor ride this season has been the 14 miles I did in the duathlon, but I had been doing a lot of indoor cycling on the trainer, so I wasn't overly concerned. I woke up in the morning with tired legs from track, but I guess this is good training! I was happy to see that the 56 mile ride was no problem at all. In fact, the only issue I had was that my butt got a bit sore and I had to stand up every now and then. The course itself is beautiful. The roads are in good shape (as opposed to the potholes and patchwork we have around here), and the scenery was full of cranberry bogs, lakes, horse farms, and beautiful properties. Hopefully Rori didn't get too tired of hearing me blabber on about how beautiful it was and how much fun I was having. I also used yesterday's ride as a chance to practice my race day nutrition. I took 2 Endurolyte tabs every hour, and 2-3 Honey Stinger chews every 15 minutes. I felt strong the entire time, and in fact, some of our last miles were our fastest! The ride was a huge confidence boost and makes me feel that I might actually have a shot at surviving this crazy thing in 5 weeks.