Last week was kind of a play it by ear week, since I have a half iron race coming up this weekend.  I didn’t want to do any heavy training, but I needed to at least keep my legs moving.  A “mini taper,” if you will.

Tuesday and Wednesday  (not including Monday since that was finishing up the previous week) – Rest days, just letting my legs recover from my 55 mile bike ride on Monday

Thursday

Discovered Roo at the bike shop!  Took him out for a 35 minute test ride and said I would return the next day to bring him home.  Lots of work around the house for the rest of the day.

Friday

Brought Roo home!  Did a 45 minute ride around the neighborhood with my husband to celebrate.

Saturday – my own mini tri

1250 yards (continuous) at the pool, comfortable pace

45 minute bike on the trainer, just getting used to Roo and the new saddle (ouch)

3 mile run on the treadmill

Sunday

BEST.DAY.EVER!

I have a half iron race this coming weekend and I was starting to worry about my lack of a nutrition plan.  I didn’t know where to start, and I didn’t want to be trying out an untested nutrition plan come next Sunday.  So I looked around and found a reasonably useful article on BeginnerTriathlete.com.

I decided to use that basic plan as my starting point, so for a half iron (roughly a 4 hour ride if I went at my typical 15 mph), I would need to consume 1,200 calories over 4 hours (300 cal/hour) on the bike.  This equals 6 GUs and 7.5 scoops of my Clif shot powder (a present from my awesome BeginnerTriathlete mentor group leader).

I marked off one of my water bottles into 8 equal volumes and mixed the super concentrated Clif shot in there.  Then the other to bottles on my bike were filled with plain water.  For the first half of the ride, I tried to mix the concentrated stuff in with the regular water (as suggested in that nutrition article), but that proved to be more trouble than it was worth.  So for the second half, I just took small sips out of the concentrated stuff and then washed that down with some water.  I liked this method much better because I didn’t have to do any mixing  on the fly, and it left me with some plain water that I could drink along with my GUs without mixing the chocolate and lemon flavors.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

I set the alarm on my Garmin (which appears to have resurrected itself from whatever bizarre thing was happening last week when it wouldn’t turn on – yes, it was fully charged) to go off every 20 minutes.  Whenever the alarm would go off, I would either drink some of the Clif shot, or have a GU.  I alternated so it worked out like this:

  • First 20 minutes –  just water
  • 00:20:00 – drink (Clif shot lemonade flavor)
  • 00:40:00 – GU (chocolate outrage flavor)
  • Alternating drink and GU every 20 minutes after that, with regular water any time – making sure to drink a full bottle of water and consume 300 total calories every hour.

At the two hour mark, my water bottles were empty and I was looking for a place to refill.  I happen to be right down the road from the restaurant I waited tables at when I was in college, so I popped in for a minute and refilled there.  Then it was time to turn around and do the 30.7 mile return trip home.

At this point, I was really shocked and excited by how great I felt.  I didn’t feel tired at all, and although the hills were a little tough, they weren’t anything I couldn’t handle.  I felt awesome!

I smiled and enjoyed the ride all the way back home.  I tried to focus on keeping my shoulders relaxed, because when I get discomfort on the bike it’s always in my shoulders and neck because I scrunch them up when I’m in aero position.  This time, I had a slight twinge in my neck, but nothing that wasn’t manageable.  And hey, after four hours on a bike, you’re going to be a little sore, right?

The one problem I had on this ride is just getting used to the new saddle on Roo.  It’s a perfectly good one, but there’s always an adjustment period, and it’s usually unpleasant.  I felt okay if I was sitting up in the hoods, but as soon as I got down into aero position, I would rotate forward on the saddle and YOWZA, lots of pressure.  It was very uncomfortable at first, but after a couple hours, things appeared to just go numb and it didn’t bother me anymore.  So I suppose that works.  Every once in a while I would stand up to relieve the pressure/numbness and it was pretty crazy what a difference it made.  I don’t have time to mess around with the saddle this week, since I have the half iron on Sunday (it’ll be fine for that).  But I forsee trying out a Cobb or Adamo saddle in the future.

I can’t repeat enough how awesome I felt on this ride.  There was no fatigue whatsoever.  Somewhere around mile 50 I remember saying to myself “I feel like I’m just getting warmed up!”  I really started to find my groove – it was like a runner’s high, but on a bike.  I absolutely loved it.  I finished my bike with a total distance of 61.4 miles, at an average speed of 15.2 mph, and that includes stopping at lights and whatnot.

Four hours after leaving, I pulled back into the driveway and announced to my husband, who was happily building shelves in the garage “I.  FEEL.  AWESOME!”  Then it was time to park the bike, change the shoes, remove the helmet, and get out for a quick run just to see how my legs felt with this new nutrition plan.

My legs felt FREAKING AMAZING.

I didn’t do a long run – since the half iron was a week away, I didn’t want to go too nuts.  I just wanted to see how things were feeling.  I usually run around a 10:00 mile.  I did a 3 mile run around my neighborhood with a 9:03/mile average pace.  And I was just going with the flow and not pushing at all.  I run BETTER after I bike!  How cool is that???

So things are looking good for the half iron this weekend.  I’m really excited to get that distance under my belt.  Hopefully it goes as well as Sunday did!

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