Monday, May 24, 2010

Never felt so good

It's been a most-excellent week of training capped off with a brick that quite honestly, left me a little surprised.

Sunday was my first brick workout in a loooong time so I went into it with high aspirations and low expectations. I did not want to get overzealous with anything for fear of ever-exerting or re-injuring my feet. I planned for a 40 mile bike ride followed by a 3 mile run.

The bike ride started out well but the last half was a little discouraging given the headwind and general sense of slowness I felt. In every course review I've read of the Arizona Ironman, they say THE most critical element of the race is to not fight the winds you encounter on the bike ride. With that in mind, I backed down a bit keeping a consistent cadence and focusing on the spin. A key for me I've learned from past races is not to overpower the ride...I have a tendency to recruit muscles from other places (gluts and lower back) when the legs get tired, technique goes to hell or both. This almost always has late-race ramifications. Muscles that you need and expect to push you through the run are too fatigued, pinched or cramped.

Fortunately, the strategy payed off and I finished the bike leg in 2:11 (avg. 19.2 mph).

I took my time to transition off the bike - (a) I had some extra layers on for the bike ride that I needed to peel off and (b) I walked a little bit just to work the blood back into my legs and feet. 4 min and 30 sec for transition.

I started running a comfortable pace only to look at my Garmin to see I was pushing and 8:30 pace. YIKES! Slow down dude...I eventually settled into a more normal pace (9:00) and things were firing like I remember. Yes, things were feeling good.

Now, I admit that in the back of my mind even before I started the run, I was hoping that things would feel good enough to extend my run from 3 to 5 miles. If I didn't, there would be no disappointment, only an updated goal for next week. Mile 3 felt super...ok, I thought "let's just split the difference and call it good". But mile 4 came-and-went as well. The quads started to feel a little heavy but at this stage, I wasn't going to back down from a stretch goal after already coming 4/5's of the way. Mentally, I honed into the road - the sound - the feeling of my feet tapping the pavement and pushed forward.

Sweet. 5 miles in 45:52 (9:11 avg) - not my best, but good enough for today.

So my first brick of the season in a minute over 3 hours. I'll take it.

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