Tuesday, June 14, 2016

If You Build It, It Will Come

So, picture this: It's 8pm on a Tuesday night and I'm sitting on the kitchen floor attempting to give myself something that resembles a pedicure and it occurs to me that I haven't updated this space in a while -  long while.  Why?  Because after working all day, training, and spending some time with Mr. R&R and the fuzzballs, there's not a whole lot of time left for much else.

After countless weeks of base training, I've entered the build phase.  What does that mean exactly?  Hopefully it means that I've created a solid enough fitness foundation that I can build a successful (by my standards) triathlon season on it. The build week is 4 weeks long and will culminate with my first triathlon since 2014.

Week 1:

It may have been a holiday and a scheduled rest day, but I don't know if I call pruning the hell out of some seriously overgrown lilacs resting.  Perhaps it was more of an active recovery sort of day. At any rate, the lilacs look about 1000 times better and now I just have to wait for my dad to come over with his truck to haul the mess away.

Mr. & Mrs. R&R: Tree Hackers

Long weekend is over.  Back to work.  Tonight was the first swim of the build phase and it was definitely a jump from the base phase.  1450 yards and I felt surprisingly strong during all of it.  All those base-building workouts may have started paying dividends.

Time to cover up the gray hairs.  I left work a little early and beelined it for the Mane Wrangler's chair.  On the way to my long overdue wine/chat/maintenance I came across a wild turkey. In the middle of the road.  And in no hurry to get across said road!

Why did the turkey cross the road?

25 minute treadmill run followed by a 30 minute ass-beating from my trainer.  I know I keep saying it, but she always finds such interesting ways to challenge me. I asked her about how she comes up with some of this stuff and she said I'm kind of her guinea pig since I'm willing to try just about anything she throws at me.  I'm sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I left the gym dripping sweat, sore, and happy.

I'm so happy it's finally staying light out later.  It means we can occasionally pull off an after work bike ride instead of being relegated to riding on the trainer in the basement.  Instead of driving over to the trail, Mr. R&R and I have taken to riding the 4-ish miles to the trailhead at a very slow pace to get warmed up, resetting our watches, riding the 13-14 mile trail, resetting again, and slowly riding home to cool down.  All those low speed/high cadence trainer rides must be working because I rode the 13.25 miles at an average speed of 15.8mph - and if I hadn't had to stop at road crossings (and there are a bunch of them), it would have been 16.7mph!

I was almost to the turnaround point when I came across a family of Canada geese (complete with goslings) grazing alongside the trail.  I couldn't help myself and stopped to take a picture before riding on to meet up with Mr. R&R.

Of course, by the time we turned around, the goose family was in the middle of the trail and had no interest in getting out of our way.  Mr. R&R finally managed to scare them off to the side and we got hissed at as we sped by.  Note to self: Geese will f*ck you up!

Post ride, we stopped home long enough to change out of sweaty spandex before heading out for dinner and a beer.

Unplanned, but very needed rest day.

Mr. R&R and I were up and out of the house ridiculously early in order to drive the hour and a half out to Verona, WI so we could check out the swim venue for our upcoming triathlon.  Oh, did I mention that Mr. R&R has decided to give the insanity of the tri life a shot?  It's been great having someone to train with - even if he's usually miles in front of me.

The plan was to go for a short-ish swim when we got to Verona, but it turns out that the lake wasn't open until the following weekend! Ugh.  At least it wasn't a total waste of a trip.  We were able to get close enough to see that the water is very clear and I could almost picture myself swimming around the entire lake.

That's some VERY clear water

We were both a little annoyed at missing out on a chance for an open water swim as we headed back to Milwaukee.  There was some discussion of driving up to the lake by YadaYada's house, but I was under a serious time crunch since I needed to make an appearance at my step-niece's 5th birthday party that afternoon and there was no way to pull off both.  We ended up stopping at Pewaukee Fleawaukee Lake on the way home.  As you know by now, I have a lot of history with that particular lake - most of it negative.  Of course, the lake in Verona had been crystal clear and glass-calm.  The Flea was nothing but chop and weeds.  I flat out refused to swim outside the buoy line due to the waves and it's a damn good thing I did.  I was getting buffeted by waves every other stroke and could only breathe when my head was facing the shore.  It was slow, but I covered 400 yards in that miserable piece of water, did a full deck-change in a parking lot (hopefully I didn't flash anyone), sped home, rinsed my wetsuit, jumped in the shower, and hauled ass to the birthday party.  Fortunately, a 5 year old doesn't care if you're wearing a baseball hat and no make up, as long as you bring the gift of Frozen Legos!

Week 2: 

It was just me, the trainer, and an hour of intervals - oh and Captain Jack Sparrow for entertainment.

Power is Pretty

1500 yards in the pool - including 8x100 intervals.  I was feeling okay about all of it until my foot decided to cramp during my cool down. I think I spent most of that last 200 trying to swim with my right foot flexed in a feeble attempt to get the cramp to go away.  On a positive note, I didn't get stuck in the lane next to the old guy who insists on wearing a teeny tiny speedo!

SuperRun 5k.  I haven't run this race since 2013 when I was training for my first triathlon with the newbie herd.  The course has changed somewhat since then, but there's still a monstrous hill right after Mile 2.  My only goal for the race was to run faster than I did in 2013.  My splits for the first 2 miles were unbelievable.  Mile 1: 8:22  Mile 2: 8:42  I was unintentionally on track for a monster PR and then the hill hit.  The blazing pace of the first 2 miles combined with the hill put me in a hole I couldn't climb out of.  Mile 3 was a disastrous 11:12.  I crossed the line in 29:21 (almost a minute faster than 2013), but absolutely furious with myself for coming unglued in the final mile. I found Mr. R&R (who turned in a monster PR), grabbed a beer, and had a little reunion with some other members of the 2013 newbie herd - so it wasn't a total loss.

Yesterday's race kicked the crap out of me.  My head ached, my legs were sore, I need a day off - so I took it.

Hooray for the return of summer hours.  I had grand plans of leaving the office by 1:30, running, and squeezing in a 3pm training session, and having dinner at my mom's. That went out the window when my trainer texted my at 8:00am that she was sick, I didn't get out of work until 2:30pm, and the mercury soared to over 90 degrees.  I came home, took a nap, did a 30 minute strength workout in the basement, and still had dinner at my mom's.  Dinner was delicious.  The cocktails were strong. I slept like a rock!

My day started with a green monster (yeah, those are back!) and chucking all that lilac detritus into the back of my dad's truck so it could be hauled off to the dump.  I'm amazed that it only took 2 trips, and Mr. R&R and I took my dad to brunch at BelAir Cantina.  By the time we left, I was convinced that I didn't need to eat again for a week, but it was damn good!

Our next stop was Endurance House so Mr. R&R could get a tri top and try on a wetsuit.  He ended up coming home with a really nice BlueSeventy (hmmm...maybe I should upgrade) and naturally that meant it needed to go for its inaugural swim in YadaYada's lake.  By the time we got up there, it was 3:00pm and the place was absolutely crawling with people.  We got some really crazy looks from people as we waded into the water clothed neck-to-ankles in neoprene, but as soon as we started swimming toward one of the buoys on the other side of the lake, we had the water to ourselves.  My initial plan was to swim out to the buoy (about 200 yards) and then turn around and swim back to the beach.  I swam slowly, but managed to get there without my usual open water panic attack(s). When we reached the first buoy, Mr. R&R said he was going to go for the second buoy, so I decided to follow him - with the understanding that I would be swimming straight back across that lake once I reached it. I had a small panic attack on the way to that second buoy, but I made it.  Mr. R&R decided he was going to go for the third and final buoy to complete the lake loop.  I wasn't feeling up to it, so I said I'd swim diagonally toward the beach and he could pick me up on his way in.  That didn't last too long.  About 50 yards and another panic attack, I decided that I would rather suffer being exhausted and freaked out following him, than suffer being exhausted, freaked out, and alone on a different trajectory.  As soon as I got to the third buoy, I grabbed my emergency trailer buoy and held onto it until I calmed down and recovered a bit before beginning the long swim back to the beach.  I panicked a few more times on the way back (random clear spots where there were suddenly weeds in my face), but I made it.  I hauled myself out of the water feeling both annoyed that I freaked out so much and proud that I had swam over 1000 yards in open water (longest open water swim I've ever done) and had swam around an entire freaking lake!

You know race day is getting closer when there's a brick on the schedule.  45 minutes on the trainer followed by a 10 minute run.  The ride was decent (and a good reminder that chamois butter is a requirement), transition to running shoes was fast thanks to my newly installed speed laces, and the run was really good.  I didn't experience any of the usual jello-legs feeling off the bike, my breaths were coming easily, and I held a pretty good pace for that 10 minutes. If only I could feel like that right off the bike all the time!

Week 1 & 2 combined totals:
Swim: 1.73 miles
Bike:  41.79 miles
Run:  6.70 miles
Strength: 2 sessions
Total Distance: 51.05 miles
Total Time: 7 hours, 25 minutes

Two weeks down. Two weeks until race day!

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