For the next week leading up to the race I am in what serious athletes call a taper period. Less frequent and lower intensity workouts compared to what I have been doing. Sounds great right? Actually it is driving me crazy. I have become accustomed to putting in 90-120 minutes (often more) of high intensity work in the pool, on the bike, or on the road each day. Many days it includes more than one of those. Now, I am taking multiple rest days during the week, and doing just 30-40 minute workouts.
I realize that I am not going to forget how to swim, ride a bike, or put on my running shoes between now and August 14th, but it still feels strange. Everything I read says to respect the taper period to make sure your body is in peak condition on race day. That doesn't make it any easier.
Anyway, quite a few things have happened since my last post in June. I ran a half-marathon, did an Olympic distance triathlon, and rode 4 days of RAGBRAI. I also worked a lot, submitted some papers, and spent 3 days in Pittsburgh presenting to, listening to, and socializing with a bunch of other agricultural economics
April Sorensen Memorial Half Marathon - July 10, 2011
I didn't really focus training for this race, meaning I didn't do a series of long weekend runs leading up to it. Instead I thought it was more important to follow my half-ironman training program. So I didn't have any real expectations for this race, other than to use it as a training run (and to finish). But that is not entirely true. I did want to run it in under 2 hours, and beat the 60 year old woman who passed me on the final straightaway in this race last year.
Mission accomplished. I actually set a PR, finishing in 1:47:50 (8:14/mi pace, if you're counting). Good for 30th overall and 3rd in my age group. That is if the race was big enough to have age group awards. Of course it wasn't. So most likely my only chance at a podium finish was stolen from me. Meh. I was happy with the day anyway.
Evergreen Lake International (Olympic) Triathlon - July 16, 2011
The following week I
So imagine my joy and surprise when I finished in 2:33:32. My swim was rather pathetic, but my bike and run legs were very promising. I averaged 22.6 mph on the bike (definitely my best race pace ever, showing that I have gotten stronger this season), and ripped off my run at 7:59/mi pace. That was not a typo, my fat ass ran sub-8 minute miles. After swimming and biking. I didn't even want to curl up and die at the finish line. I also didn't want to run another 7 miles. Regardless, it was a confidence booster, and good measuring stick for Steelhead.
RAGBRAI - July 27-30, 2011
Last week I flew from my meetings in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night and caught up with RAGBRAI for Wed-Sat. I've looked forward to this week since I did this rolling party the first time in 2008, and this year - despite the heat - was no exception. Lots of fun, lots of miles, and - most importantly - lots of morning bloody mary's and afternoon beers. One must keep hydrated.
|Along the Mighty Mississippi|
So, next Sunday is the half-ironman. I've been preparing and obsessing about this since I signed up in January (or maybe it was early February). I am ready, nervous, and excited.
Goals? Again, the main goal is to finish. Alive. Barring injury or other uncontrollable things (bike issues, etc.), that goal will be met. Specific time goal? Of course. I want to finish in under 6 hours. I am budgeting 45 minutes for my swim and will be ecstatic if I can meet that (I should). I want to go sub-3 hours on the bike, which will require 19+ mph pace. I think I can do that too. The run? That is the real wildcard. I have no idea how my body will respond to running a half marathon after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles. I would really like to go sub-2 hours, but will be happy if I can run sub-10 minute miles. So I am saying 2:10. But I really want that sub 2:00. Either way, with transitions, that should have me somewhere between 5:45 and 6:00.
The weather report is looking good for Benton Harbor (mid-70s and sunshine), but that could always take a turn. It could be windy, it could rain, it could get hot. I can't control those things.
It is going to be a great day.
And with the wheelset I got for my racing bike, at least I will look serious. Which is the most important thing.