Thursday, June 6, 2013

Week 14 NYC Triathlon Training - and Other Thoughts

It’s been a good week of training! Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Saturday: BRick (1M run, 1 ½ hour bike, 30 min run)
Sunday: 1 Hour Bike
Monday: 1 Hour Swim Practice w/ wetsuit (!!!)
Tuesday: 6M Run, 5x400 hill repeats
Wednesday: REST
Thursday: BRIck (1 Hour Bike, 20 Minute Run)

The BRick on Saturday was intense but good. A few weeks ago I was nervous about the state of my fitness, specifically for running. We started out with a slow 1 mile run, followed that with a 1 ½ hour bike, and finished with 30 minutes of hill repeats. Yeah.

The bike was fun, but I didn’t feel the need to go too fast. I try to keep in mind that I also have a 6 mile ride to and from the park, so I tack on 12 more miles than everyone else. I made the mistake a few weeks ago of doing far too many laps of Prospect Park, so I did what I thought was a good amount for me.

As a triathlon newbie, there are a lot of things I need to work on/remember for the race. Like hydrating and fueling while on my bike. I hadn’t purchase the “right” kind of water bottles for my bike yet. You’re supposed to have the kind that you can just leave open, so it’s easy to hydrate throughout the race. I’ve been continuing to use my Rubbermaid “flip open” water bottle, and I finally realized on Saturday why this will just not do for biking. At the end of what I thought was a successful grab-n-sip session on my bike, I was trying to close the lid and put it back on my water bottle holder, when I completely missed it and my bottle went flying. The bottle went one way, the lid went another, and my dignity was back some few hundred feet.

My new bottle.
So I invested in two water bottles this week via amazon that looked super cute online. But they are in fact too big for my bike. So I have to exchange them, I guess. #newbieproblems

I also got a Fuel Box for my bike, because I couldn’t figure out how people properly fuel while biking and I was STARVING mid-way through our ride. While I usually leisurely stop for water and nutrition on bike rides by myself, I was reminded that this is NOT what happens on race day. Hopefully this thing will help me get my gus and other nonsense easily. I will have to practice before the race because I am not the most skilled one-handed rider.

We got off our bikes after an hour and a half, and started the run. The reason why they call these sessions "BRick"s: B is for Bike, R is for Run, and Brick is for the way your legs feel when you get off the bike and start running. They feel like lead. But after a minute or two, I was moving and grooving.

At the end of the session, they had a How-To session on how to fix a flat tire. I wanted to just sit and watch, but at the end of the session I felt like I should at least try part of it. I asked my awesome TNT mentor, Andy, to help me. He said we should just do the whole thing. And I did!

Fixing a flat tire is not easy. I employed the help of Andy and another mentor to get me through it. I did almost every single thing wrong, twice, before I did it right. But it was something that TNT really encouraged all of us to learn, so if I get stranded on the side of the road somewhere with a flat, I will feel slightly more confident about being able to fix it.

Post BRick- Sweaty, dirty, and happy
(And it was laundry day)
We also had our first wetsuit swim on Monday night (WAAAHH). I have been reading about and hearing that everyone freaks out in wetsuits, especially when in open water. Aside from the fact that it can get really tight on your neck, and really hot by your belly and legs, it was actually super fun to swim in. Wetsuits make you more buoyant (I'll be needing that), and I felt faster. We practiced things like sighting, which is important on race day when you're in open water and you don't have lane lines guiding you to the finish.

It was probably the first swim practiced I've really enjoyed in a long time. 

After a successful BRick and swim, I'm feeling confident and reflective. I read this awesome blog today about "10 Uncommon Truths Every Business Owner Should Know." While it sounds a bit businessy, I assure you the gal who writes on this blog is a hysterical GENIUS. She writes a lot about how to start/run your own business, but a lot of it relates to working and life in general. In her blog, she writes about 10 thing she learned from being a manager at an ice cream shop. It made me think back to some of the things I've learned in my past jobs, and more relevantly, to my past two years as a runner. 

So here's my own list of 5 Uncommon/Probably Pretty Common Truths Every Runner/Triathlete Should Know:

1. Training is Called Training for a Reason - You Have to Do it (aka It's Not Called Sleeping in/Sitting on Your Couch and Watching Game of Thrones)
This is sort of advice to anyone who is on the fence about training for something big. There are a lot of mornings when I don't feel like getting up early to get in my training, or want to finish the full length of what I have on my training schedule. At times like this, I say to myself, you just have to do it. You can come up with all of the excuses in the world for why you can't fit a training session in (and from time to time, that happens). But if you signed up for a race, it's your commitment to put in the time. Suck it up, lace up your sneakers, and get on with it. You'll be happy once you did. And don't forget to treat yourself to an iced coffee afterwards.

2. Trying Stuff that Scares You Makes You a Better Athlete
Last year, when I was trying to complete all of my 9+1 races, I had about 3 or 4 weekends in a row when I had to get to Central Park for a race. (I'm starting to realize more and more that I live in one of the most inconvenient neighborhoods to get to races in NYC, and getting to Central Park by 8AM on a Saturday is about as easy to get to as Toledo.) So instead of wasting my energies on a slow subway for an hour, I decided to run there. It was much quicker, and I'm convinced squeezing in a casual run over the Queensboro Bridge every other weekend built up my stamina for my Brooklyn Half PR. It SCARED the crap out of me to run in Brooklyn and Queens before most bodegas were even open, but now I don't think twice about getting to Central Park or trying a brand new route. My legs thanked me for that.

3. Forget Nutrition and Forget your Race
I think the editors of Runner's World say to themselves PREACH! every time they hear someone talk about how important nutrition is during a race. It comes up in every issue of their mag, and I couldn't agree more. I had a few unpleasant run-ins when I was a newbie at running, because I didn't take nutrition seriously enough. I also experienced it last Saturday at my BRick (but in a non-bathroom run sort of way). I didn't eat enough breakfast, and I realized halfway through my bike that I was starving and didn't know how to re-fuel without getting off my bike and taking a 5 minute break. It reminded me that I am a big breakfast kinda gal. I need it or I'm going to get fatigued, and I need easy access to gus during my training to keep going. Plain and simple, it's one of the easiest things to prepare for, and once of the easiest things to mess up.

4. Other Runners/Athletes aren't trying to Intimidate you (but They Probably Think They're Better Than You)
There are a group of runners in my neighborhood who think they are the bees knees of running. I tried a few runs with them awhile ago, and realized they weren't my cup of tea. I see them a lot when I do speedwork at the track, in their fancy gear, and with their six pack abs. I also see a lot of runners at the beginning of races, when we're all piled into corrals like cattle, who have fancy arm sleeves, calf sleeves, and other neon-colored accessories. I used to be intimidated by both groups. But then I realized they are not paying the least bit of attention to me. Runners are in their own heads 90% of the time. I realized it would be a shame to put in all this time into training only to be intimidated by people who wear fancier stuff than I do. The best way to prove to yourself that your training and clothing works for you? Run past them on the course or track (I mean, if you can. I usually can't).

5. Smiling is a Good Way to Get What you Want
I try to use this in most areas of my life. People like people who smile. People don't like people who are grumpy and seem mean. There have been plenty of times when I've been at a race confused about how to drop off my bag or not followed directions correctly. I smile, ask a volunteer for help, and I always get what I want. This is also true when at a running store or in a group of people who know more about the sport than you do. Smile, ask a question, and get the answer you need right away. It also doesn't hurt to smile at fellow runners while out on the dusty trail. It just makes for a better run.

So those are my thoughts about running truths! I just love reflecting and stuff.

1 comment:

  1. Should have gotten you a fuel box for you when you were a young pup and got hungry ALL THE TIME! As for your #5 point, I have learned the same thing. Smiling (or smiling on the phone) gets much better results.