Before we get into the workouts, check out my lastest for espnW, a love story to Back of the Pack runners!
Y’all, this ride was hard. It was only a couple of degrees warmer than my last ride, but the clouds and the rain spoiled me! Today the sun was all the way out. I decided to start the ride against the wind so that I would do most of the ride against the wind. Then I turned around and I was…still against the wind. Crosswinds.
So let’s take a moment to talk about wind. Basically, a cyclist is just a big block of wind resistance on top of a bicycle. We do many things to try to reduce the effects of wind, from doofy looking helmets to trying to get into “aero” position (also sometimes called “full tuck” this often involves special bars on the front of the bike.) But the wind can seriously affect your speed.
There are two good things about a headwind (wind blowing at you.) The first is that it can have a bit of a cooling effect, the second is that when you turn around it becomes a tailwind and can help you out. Then there are the times that it feels like you’re in a headwind but when you turnaround, it still feels like a headwind. Then you say all the swear words. That’s a crosswind. It blows perpendicular to the path that you are traveling, and it doesn’t help you at all, it just makes everything harder like, all the time. That was my ride today. Crosswinds are assholes.
Along my ride there are small hills created when the trail dips under bridges, they aren’t long but they can be quite steep, One of the longest and steepest came at the end of the ride when I was cooked. I also didn’t get the benefits of the downhill because I had to stop to avoid hitting a bunch of debris just before I started up the other side.
As I started to chug up the hill it felt very distinctly like I might roll backwards. So I repurposed one of my marathon mantras. When things got really bad and I wanted to quit in the marathons I would tell myself some version of “I will either pass out, or cross the finish line, but those are the only two ways that this ends.” So I changed that to, “I will either get over this hill, or tip over, but those are the only two ways that this ends.” I got over! After the disaster in my last tri when I had to walk my bike up a hill I’m trying to get my hill confidence back.
After my bike I ate and spent some time unpacking. All I wanted to do was go to sleep, but what I had to do was go to swim. This was two mid-distance swims, separated by a short rest. It went by mercifully quickly though, once again, I was reminded that I had used my arms and pecs probably more than I should have on the bike.
Glorious day off!
In order to do this on a flat course, I returned to the beach trail where I have done so much of my training. It was weird to be back there and extra weird to be there during the day. I’m used to pretty much having the place to myself, so having people and dogs everywhere (especially when I can’t stop to pet them) was very odd.
This run consists of a warm-up and then run/walk intervals with the walks getting shorter at the end. Unfortunately, I read my workout notes wrong and so I did the last mile using what he had said would be my final goal for the walk, rather than what I was supposed to do today. Oops. Even though it meant that the walk intervals were half as long as they were supposed to be, it went fine. So now I imagine he’ll want me just to jump to that next week. That’s what I get for (completely accidentally) overachieving!
In a fun moment, I heard some yelling behind me and turned to see a (hmmm, what’s the group noun for lifeguards? A Buchannon of Lifeguards?) a shit ton of lifeguards (or more likely lifeguard trainees I think?) running at me. I got out of the way. The first group flew by, then came a middle-of-the-pack group, a bit slower but moving strong. Then came my people, the people at the back. Struggling. One dude said “that’s it, I’m done” and his buddies immediately started to encourage him. I yelled “Go get it, you’re almost there!” and he smiled and said thanks as he pushed forward. I fell in line behind them and watched with Back of the Pack Pride as they all finished the run before I turned around the finish my own run.
In extra good news, this run was a decent speed bump over what I’ve been doing. When it comes to running it seems like the progress I make isn’t anywhere close to all the work and suffering I put in, and I usually end each run feeling at least a little frustrated. But I finished this run feeling hopeful, which is something.