Still humbled, staying humble…
…and halfway through. I better stop slacking, cause week 4 is right upon me and I haven’t even gotten through week 3 on the blog.
My training hasn’t really progressed in any particular way. I still hit Midtown as much as I can per week, sprinkling soccer in here and there. My normal Saturday conditioner at Midtown didn’t happen, so I did a ‘brick’ style workout at Cal Fit. I’ve heard of brick workouts, but here is the definition:
A brick workout refers to the stacking of two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal to no interruption in between.
I haven’t had a chance to borrow a bike trainer from my friends, so I took a spin class and then jumped in the pool for 30 minutes. This is opposite of how I should truly do the brick, but I didn’t want to trudge through the gym, soaked in chlorine, and then take the class — so I switched it up. I haven’t been choosing Tri training over Midtown, but I know at some point it will be necessary. This was a one-off, because of a meet or something that as happening at the gym that day and class was canceled. The next day, Sunday, I played in the first co-ed game of the season and followed it with a 30-minute swim at the gym. I truly worked on my strokes again, hoping to help strengthen my swim. It felt good to connect them all together and swim stronger, but it’ll be a LONG time before I feel confident in my swimming and even longer to feel confident in my breathing while swimming.
After I cleaned up and ran errands, I made my way to Kinetic Cycles. This is a local shop, in Sacramento, where my good friends ride for their team. That’s the only reason I know about them. Before, I’d purchased my bike at Performance Bicycles, which is a chain bike shop. Prior to going into the shop, I consulted with my friend Mike, who is a legit stud on the bike, AND his wife Trinity is too. They are ALWAYS the first two I turn too when looking for bike help/info. We spent a good 30 minutes talking through my options and what would be best for me. I appreciate his advice because he gains nothing from telling me what he thinks and offering suggestions. They are also the ones that are going to let me borrow a trainer and help me with my pedals and shoes. I knew going into Kinetic I may be spending more than a big box bike shop, but I anticipated very good service and knowledge from shopping locally. That is exactly what happened. However, and we all knew this was going to happen, I anticipated spending a minimal amount and left spending basically double that :/ To my credit, I will be able to use these shoes regardless of what bike I have, I just need the corresponding pedals and I’ll be set. Sadly, I didn’t get the style I could ride in spin class, but I’m happy to know what I do need in the future if I wanted to spend money on that expense.
After all, was said and done, I walked out with nothing…since my shoes had to be ordered. Their sizings are different because they are based on European sizes (if I remember correctly). My size was 3/4 of some size or something really random like that. I ended up with the Specialized Women’s Torch 2.0 Road Shoe:
I chose this shoe because of that dial at the top of the laces, which aren’t really laces in real life. The cheaper version was all velcro strap closures, which I didn’t think would bode well for my foot. Having a really, odd thin ankle makes them slip out of most shoes. I wanted to be able to tighten it to the extreme, which I couldn’t do with velcro straps. So, I bit the bullet and went with the more expensive ones. Pink, because…obviously! No instant gratification here 🙁 I also had to buy the cleats, which they would assemble once the shoe arrived. [Current note: STILL waiting for the shoes].
I seriously have had every intention of swimming at 5 AM, but with the time change, I just cannot get with it to get up that early. Yup, excuse! So, Monday was a well-deserved rest day finished with a Girls Night REDO, since our fave Georgian was in town.
Another Tuesday, another training day. I DO NOT recommend this to anyone, but just know that I do it all the time, I donated blood at work. Similar to the almond job, my new work has the blood bank come to our offices and we can make appointments to donate. Months ago, I scheduled my donation, not realizing it landed on a Tuesday. I didn’t want to flake on such an important way to help someone, so I donated. I’ve done this since high school and I know it is not the healthiest option. But I also know when to pull back or rest, during a post-donation workout.
It’s week 3 and I have YET to get my act together when it comes to planning the right stuff for training. This time around, I forgot to bring an extra set of pants to get to training and to go home. So I got suited up and then threw on my work pants and my workout top, with slides of course. I’m sure anyone left in the building was wondering what was going on with my outfit. I also realized I need a second bag to carry all my work stuff from the day and then use the original bag to take to training with all the gear for that day. Again, seems so minute, but it makes the whole process much more seamless.
Again, I knew that at any point, if I didn’t feel good, I’d need to relax, take a break, or stop. I got to training with plenty of time to set-up my bike on the trainer, use the bathroom, then hop in the pool for some warm-up time. Annoyingly, my arms were sore from Saturday’s workout. Jen wanted to work past the 20-minute time slot and finish 10 rounds of our barbell complex, which of course I couldn’t say NO too! So thus, sore arms — especially while swimming. This day the pool looked different. Tim had removed the lane markers and put two buoys in the pool, one at each end.
All I can say is this practice humbled me beyond belief. Like, really brought me down to the reality of what a triathlon can be like during the swim part. We learned a bunch of new things — like how to do a deep swim start while moving our hands/arms in figure eights whole keeping our bottom half elevated for a great start. He lined us up all in one line and said ‘Go’ like a true race start. I got kicked and hit and finally just fell back toward the group so I could focus on my swimming. I took a break on one of the race starts because I was feeling slightly fatigued. After a few rounds of that, we learned two different techniques to get around a buoy, one was the single arm swim and the other one was the fancy mermaid twirl around the buoy. Again, we did a race start and we had to choose which style we’d want to try around the buoy. I went with the one arm, which is a good option when there are a lot of people because you can leave on arm out to keep a distance from others, while the other arm strokes. The twirl looked fun, but I need to practice that solo a few times before I put it into action. I am NOT looking forward to the swim start of whatever race I sign up for.
The bike portion was great, we put in lots of work with progressively harder interval climbs. I was really wishing I had my new clip-ins at this point, but I had to work with what I had. Again, Tim had tons of swag and raced us to see who could get on the bike first. I did not win, as usual. Another thing to really work on, transitions. The swim to the bike has to be the longest one that will happen. All that water, saturating everything is annoying. After a pretty intense ride, we headed outside for six 30-second progressive strides. Essentially it felt like we did 30-second sprints, six times. They were supposed to get progressively faster, but after stride two it felt like we were going all out each stride. The extra ten seconds on these, compared to last week, could really be felt. I felt pretty strong, despite donating blood. Tim was generous again and handed us some extra goodies he had from his presentation the night before (I’ll share this in an upcoming post).
I was extremely exhausted and hungry after training. Thankfully, J has been hella helpful on Tuesdays — from loading my bike into the car to making sure dinner is there after training. This new sport has really humbled me as an athlete, as a competitor. I didn’t think I’d come in and win first place, but I also didn’t anticipate exactly how much I’d struggle in such small parts of the race. The swimming I knew would be work, but mastering the breathing has been my hardest task so far. I won’t back down from it, but I need to dedicate lots of time to it, especially breathing to my left and staying effective with my form. And the transitions…even though I just want to finish a sprint tri, this part is so unknown each day. I still have more equipment to buy too, which will alter my transition times as well.
Overall, I’m feeling a little less excited about tri training. I think it has to do with my struggling so much in the pool. I know the swim start is going to be the most nerve-wracking thing for me, come race day. I should also note that I have not gone on a run in a LONG time! This needs to change too. But I know I will finish one race this year. Regardless of how well I do, I know I will put it all out there. Now, I just need to sign up for a race! That is the question I keep getting from everyone following along with my progress. The big question! I don’t have an answer yet, but I need to get working on it. A friend mentioned that once I secure a date, I’ll really start training for it.
As for now, I’m just going to keep swimming, biking, and
running jogging along…