Thursday, December 25, 2008

Training - this is not hard work - it is hard play...

Back from travelling and spending time with family. Got home late Monday evening feeling a bit sluggish from little to no exercise. About all that I got over the weekend was a long walk with my sister (good talk but it was about 30 degrees outside).

On Tuesday I went for an hour long run followed by an hour long bike ride. Nothing too taxing or strenuous. It was good to get back to the grind. On Wednesday, Christmas eve, I went for a slow one hour and twenty minute road bike ride followed by a 30 minute mountain bike ride. I do not posses much mountain bike skill. This was actually the first time that I had been on a trail in a couple of years. It was about 65 degrees and the sky looked like rain. After a slow warm up just getting used to the trail I found a challenging loop - challenging for me anyway. A single track trail that weaved up and down some slight hills. I was tentative the first time I did the loop. As always, I decided to time the loop the second time. Just over three minutes. With no rest I did it again. It had now started to rain pretty hard. There was pine straw strung all about the trail. With the rain the trail was getting slippery. Riding hard I cut about 8 seconds from my time. I knew in the back on my mind - subconsciously - that I would continue to get faster and faster until I hurt myself. That is my general modus operandi. Sure enough, on the forth loop I slipped off of the pedals in the rain and busted my right ankle. I had to push the bike up one of the hills. Demoralized I called it a day.

Pride a little damaged I made my way home - just another 10 minutes or so and I was home. While washing the bike off I noticed the nice red stain that was produced on my sock. A little older and a little (very little) bit smarter I was able to call it quits before any serious damage done. In past years the carnage would have been much worse.

Exchanged gifts on Christmas eve and everything that I received was training related - go figure - this is a lifestyle. I got enough GU gel packs to get me through my 1/2 Ironman in New Orleans and a really cool TYR triathlon transition bag. This bag should allow for me to pack every possible item and in addition each item will have its own specific space. Should cut down on pre-race packing stress. In fact, I am going to use the bag to permanently store much of my race gear - like my race number belt, transition towel, etc.

Christmas day I decided to go for a bike ride. The temperature was in the 60's and overcast. I started off and soon noticed that my heart rate was all over the place. It was reading much too low and then at times reading zero. Must be time for a new 'watch' battery in the strap. I hate these little specialized batteries but they are so much better than having to send the entire strap back to the manufacture for replacement. So, no heart rate to gauge my effort. Passed Sumrall (the 10 mile mark) and because of the cool weather I did not need to fill any water bottles. Pushed on to Bassfield ( the 25 mile turnaround ). I had thoughts of riding a little further - maybe 70 miles total. About 2 or 3 miles out of Sumrall my bike started to get a little squirrelly. The back tire was losing air quickly. I stopped on the trace near a small house. I thought about simply filling the tire with CO2 and heading back - the tire was not completely flat. While removing the wheel and getting my tube, tire levers and CO2 out of my seat bag I noticed that the tire was completely flat. I examined the tire and sure enough there was a very small flat sharp rock embedded in the tire. These little rocks are every where. Every time that I have had a flat these rocks are the culprit. They look like very small shark's teeth - I will have to get a picture next time - and I am sure that there will be a next time. I put the new tube in the tire and and puffed it up with the CO2. All was well with the world again even though the tire was a little under inflated with just the 12 gram cartridge. I keep an extra cartridge on me but I though to myself that I might need it if I have another flat. I never filled the tire completely up to pressure even though I knew that I was all out of tubes. I used to carry a frame pump with me. The pump would allow for me to put a little air in the punctured tube to locate the hole so that I could patch the tube. Now that I have a different bike - and a bike that the frame pump just does not fit I will have no way to find the puncture. I better reevaluate my repair procedures.

Anyway, I pushed on to Bassfield which was another 12 miles away. I had visions of doing this 50 mile ride on bonk (well not complete bonk since I had a small bowl of oatmeal earlier for breakfast). I'm not sure why I think like this. What is the benefit of not taking any nutrition in and is it possible to really come back after bonk? At the 1 hour 30 minute mark into the ride - past half way with an hour to go - I start to lose power and feel funny. I put some Gatorade sugar water in my water bottle and took a big swig. I did not feel better immediately. Soon I had some of my strength back but not like I should have had. I started to get a little cold. The ride was hard. I stopped again with only 20 minutes left in the ride and put some more calories in my water bottle and drank the entire bottle. I was pretty slow getting home but I persevered. I am glad that I did not just turn around an call it a day after the flat. The 50 miles did me good. All things considered this was a very good Christmas ride.

Later I went to PBJ (Paul B Johnson) state park and walked around the lake. I thought about bringing the wetsuit and trying out the lake. Glad I did not bother. The park service was in the process of draining the lake. Not sure why but the lake was too low to get a swim in. It actually looked really bad. I am ready to get back in the pool before all of my swimming endurance is gone.