Sunday, July 28, 2013

4th of July weekend. And the training begins...

4th of July Weekend

Representing the HHRC
Elle: We were lucky enough to spend the 4th at a family friend's beach cottage in Point Judith, Narragansett, Rhode Island. And it was HOT. And humid. But still pretty freaking nice. We drove down the morning of the 4th. We both wanted to get a run in, I did 4.6 miles.

Webb: I, on the other hand, had a speed workout to do. Tuesday night is my usual speed session with SEAC>Elite; however, on the 2nd I was held up at work late and missed practice. No worries. I searched online for the nearest high school or junior high track, got the workout from Dan and had a mission. The main part of the workout was 6x1000m. During the warm-up I felt pretty tired. No big deal. That's what warm-ups are for, to get blood pumping. As I was running I noticed the sun dropping steadily behind
the trees that circled the track. Excellent. In no time, I would be running in the shade and it should be cooler. I did the post-warm-up drills and marked the 1,000m spot. Boom! First interval was a little too fast, but not super fast. Second interval was better but still a touch too fast. Third interval ... complete and utter shutdown. My body failed me. First the legs started to go, then the mind. I stopped about 350m in and just walked. I gave myself a good pep talk about finishing the workout even if not as prescribed. I then started jogging and within 25m starting walking again. I had nothing. I conceded defeat, grabbed my water bottle and headed for the car.

Elle:  We rewarded ourselves with a sea-side dinner on the back deck of the Narragansett Grille, overlooking the ocean. Although totally unplanned, we were lucky enough to be able to watch not one, not two, but three fireworks shows from that location. Sweet.

FRIDAY: Brick Day!

Elle: Of course we made sure to watch the Tour de France every day - I even brought my computer for just that purpose. There's just something so special about Phil Liggett's voice first thing in the morning - it's one of my favorite summer traditions. And then, of course, reading Jens Voigt's blog post about his take on the day. Gawd I love the TdF.

Webb: The plan was to do a 25 mile bike around Narragansett followed by a 30:00 transition run. The workout was not supposed to be particularly intense or even challenging really. I put together a loop based on a couple of different Strava routes I found. That area is marked by rolling hills everywhere. It turned out to be a beautiful ride, except for the wall we unwittingly encountered. It was mercifully short and menancingly steep. I was too busy focusing on my front wheel to check the grade. I think what made it worse was that we had to stop at the foot of the climb - a 4-way controlled intersection with traffic - so we could not carry any momentum into it. Ugh. I can still hear the pedals creaking under my feet.

Once back at the beach cottage, we made a decent transition into our run. I used to be adept at transitioning from cycling to running. In fact, I had never felt the dead or wobbly legs that so many triathletes complain about coming out of T2. It has always been a natural transition for me. But at some point in 2013 I lost my brick mojo. My legs have just not been snappy off the bike. That was my goal for the transition run. Not to regain my mojo, but to start the process of finding it again.

Sushi & drinks with tiny umbrellas
Elle: So, Webb is down-playing that 'little' hill we encountered just a bit. Like he said, we were at the stop light. He motioned that we had to take a sharp left, and then we looked up and it hit us like a ton of bricks - are you kidding me? I starting have memories of  St. Croix...

Webb: With a successful transition brick behind us and feeling a little fatigued, we decided to go see a movie. Elle located a cinema that looked like it would have dining spots nearby. We decided to just go there and see what dinner offerings were there. After parking, I immediately spied a sushi restaurant and announced that was what I wanted. Elle was totally in too. Aces! Now all we needed to do was order and eat in time to catch the movie. (Cue: Sad trombone.)

Elle: The goal was to see "Man of Steel", which was recommended to us. However, we lost track of time amidst the delicious spread of maki and beer. Oh well.

Point Judith, RI
SATURDAY: Run and swim
Webb: The plan was simple for me: Get up early-early and get my long run in before the heat came on and/or the day got away from me. I had 10 miles on the schedule. Since Elle is still coming along on her recovery, this was to be a solo effort. I woke up about an hour later than I intended. The sun was already out and rising in the sky, yet it was merely warm. I turned on the Tour to listen while I dressed and ate a light breakfast with plenty of water.

In case you don't remember, Saturday July 6th was Stage 8 - Castre -Ax 3-Domaines - or the coming out party for Nairo Quintana. The stoic Colombian seemed like he was going to make a mockery of all of those who painted Froome in Yellow before the teams even arrived in Corsica. It was too riveting! Watching this unknown Quintana smoothly pass all these great climbers. Meanwhile I was wrapped up in the scenarios of how this would shake up the GC, including the effect it would have on Quintana's leader, Valverde. But then Froome just smashed everyone on the final ascent of the day. Wow what a stage! Just brilliant racing. So yeah, I watched the whole thing, which meant my 10-mile run would begin around 11:30AM.  Oops.

No, not oops, stupid. That is what it was. I thought I was clever. I ran on the road parallel to the coast. We had driven it a few times and I had seen some beach bath houses. I knew they would have water, so whatever. The hills rolled on as the sun continued to rise. It was becoming downright hot. I plodded along managing my effort. I passed the bath houses on my right without stopping for water. At that point, I was well-hydrated and feared drinking too much. The miles melted away slowly until mile 4.5. That is when I began to get tired. I should have turned around but I figured, hey, I can run .5 miles to my prescribed turnaround. At Mile 5 I wondered how I should get back. Truthfully, I felt fine other than being too hot. I wasn't dehydrated but I lacked confidence that the next 5 miles would be ok. I convinced myself to run the couple of miles to the bath houses where I could drink up and hang out if need be. A couple of miles?

By Mile 6 the heat was becoming unbearable. I wasn't in trouble yet so I strategized how to stay out of trouble. My new plan was to run from shade to shade. Any time I came to an extended section of shade, I would stop and walk until I came out into the sun again. The idea was that this would allow me to cool down, even if just slightly. I did this up until nearly Mile 8 when the sun's angle and sparse roadside vegetation offered little to no relief. And where were those damn bath houses? It turns out they were more than a couple of miles up the road. Once there I could not find any water fountains. They had a snack shop open (of course I did not bring cash with me). I took a deep breath and shuffled back out to the road for the final 15 minutes of running ... or more like 25 minutes.

Nearly 30 minutes after I left the bath houses, I entered our small neighborhood and stopped the watch right at 10 miles, which was about 200 feet from the cottage. I took one step and nearly did my Julie Moss impersonation. I righted myself and dragged my feet inside. Immediately I went to the bathroom and started drawing a cold tub. Within minutes I started coming back to life. In the end I was fine and suffered no problems. I ended up running the 10 miles in 1:45. My run in Hell. Lessons: 1. Run earlier, 2. Bring water, 3. Bring money and 4. When you can't find a water fountain fight through the delirium to ask someone.

Elle: It was sooooo hot & humid. I waited until it got a little 'cooler' to do my run, but even still, it hurt. I swear, when Webb showed up it looked like he was about to die - looking at him it was obvious that I had made the wise decision not to run at high noon, in 95-degree heat, with 80% humidity.

Hiding from the sun's
cosmic death rays.
Webb: That post-run cold tub was amazing. After my body cooled down I began drinking in earnest. I not only needed to get back to my baseline, but I need to hydrate enough just to hang around in that heat. Plus we had a bike ride to do on Sunday.

Elle: We really should have done more swimming, but the swells were pretty impressive and scared us off, so we only got one swim in. We swam out to one of the buoys and back to the shore. I did a fine job getting out there, but full on zig-zagged the whole way back. Which is bad for a triathlete, but great if you're a tacking sailboat.

We made a second attempt at seeing a movie. This time, success! We saw 'This is the End'. It was great, better than expected. We laughed through the whole thing. If you liked '40-year Old Virgin' & 'Pineapple Express', you'll love every minute of this movie.

SUNDAY:  Another brick day

Webb: Sunday was supposed to be a lot like Friday, only this time we were doing a 30 mile bike followed by a shorter 15:00 transition run. The idea was more like exercising during a vacation than actual training. Hey, we like to ride our bikes and we like to run. So we just had fun.

Afterwards we talked about swimming again but I think the fatigue had finally caught up with us. We had to decide if we were going to drive back to Boston Sunday night or early Monday morning. Either way we figured we needed to start packing and cleaning up, which pretty much killed any chance of another swim. "We should have swam more," says every triathlete, all the time. We waited until late at night to drive back to Boston.  That was a wise idea - it was much cooler, and, hey, no traffic! Score.

And now the training begins ...

Elle: The week of July 8th marked the first week of my training. Yes, I know everyone else started in February/March and are in peak form as we are in the middle of the season. but I'm just starting. But you have to take things as they come. And I'm trying to stay positive. So I took the big step and hired a triathlon coach. It feels so good to have someone else taking over that responsibility of planning out workouts and such. All I have to do is everything he says. Easy, right? Yeah, after the first week and I was already crushed. Back-to-back spin classes with a 15 minute transition run immediately following the second class, Boot Camp, core work, swimming, running, yeah, I'm training, baby! And holy soreness, Batman! Everything hurts. I'm walking around like an old lady - just not as fast.


  1. hey, your season starts when you say it does. I have a 70.3 next sunday that I feel totally unprepared for ... because my a race is in November. so yeah, boulder 70.3 might be a goal race for many, but me? it's just week 5 of im training. no biggie.

    (basically, don't worry about it if you're starting your season now. it's so awkward being in triathlon season and racing but trying NOT to care about results TOO much because you KNOW your goal race is well after most triathletes are done for the year ...)

  2. Hey T, thanks for the comment - it's true, your season starts when you say it does. It's so easy to get caught up in what other people are doing, but one of the most important aspects to triathlon (in my opinion) is: "Race your own race!" This goes for training too...