16 Weeks to Go, and a New Saddle!

I’ve decided to start labeling each weekly recap with how many weeks are left until the half-Iron distance triathlon I’m training for. I really ought to sign up for that soon… Anyway, this week was another successfully balanced week of training.

Monday: 5 mile run after work.

I was contemplating doing 800s on a track near my apartment, but there was some sort of soccer practice going on, and it’s a private school, so I’m not totally sure it’d be ok for me to run on their track. Instead, after a mile warm up I threw in 6 or 7  90 second pick-ups for “speedwork.” I know, I am so good at designing my own training plans. Feel free to pay me to do the same for you.

Tuesday: 1800 yards swimming before work. Upper body strength after work.

I wanted to increase my swimming distance, but I was tired and got to the pool too late. I check my phone (twitter, facebook, gmail) in bed to help me wake up, but I really need to change that because I end up wasting at least 15 minutes every morning. For my strength workout, I used a “trainer to go” page from Self magazine (actually the paper on top of the pile here). Very simple.

Wednesday:  7 mile run after work with Fullsteam.

My friend Jess from college also comes to these runs each week, and even though I usually train alone, it’s really helpful that I know she’ll be there. Plus, I run faster when she’s there, and she knows some other girls there, so I’ve met them as well.

Thursday: 2400 yards swimming before work. 22 miles cycling after work with Luna Chix.

Finally swam broke out of my 1700-1800 yard rut and did a slightly longer workout that I really enjoy. I keep a stack of Post-it notes with different workouts in a Ziploc bag in my pool bag, so I just flip through them and pick whatever sounds good that morning. The Thursday evening ride with Luna Chix left from Maple View Farm as it does every third week. Within the first couple miles of the ride, about 6 of us (including two of the Luna girls) had split off from the women behind us. We started riding in a pace line, which is not totally new to me but still a little anxiety-inducing. You ride with your front tire a few inches from the back tire of the person in front of you, and the person at the front of the line “pulls” for a little while and then drops to the back. The group rotates leaders like that throughout the ride. Riding in a line like that requires strong communication because you can’t see much ahead of you. It can be a lot of fun because you go pretty fast without doing a whole lot of work if you’re not the front person. However, I prefer to just do the work myself. You can’t draft in triathlon (at least not in the ones I’ll compete in), so I don’t find a pace line all that appealing for training purposes. I suppose it’s good for bike handling skills to ride to close to other people.

Anyway, we finished at the Maple View Farm General Store, so obviously I had to get something. I wasn’t really craving ice cream (or so I thought), but I wanted a bottle of chocolate milk. Unfortunately they were out of single-serving bottles of chocolate milk, so I had to settle for a half gallon. Side note: I expected the half gallon to last longer than it did… I couldn’t really enjoy the half gallon of milk on the front porch of the store (not very lady-like to drink straight from the glass container), so I had to get an ice cream cone. I know, my life is so hard.

Friday: 3 mile run before work.

Easy 3 miles, not much to say. It was surprisingly cool for the first day of summer.

Saturday:  65 miles cycling (road bike) and NEW BIKE SEAT DAY (for tri bike)

My long ride this week was the same length as my long ride last week, but this time I was alone instead of with a group on a charity ride. And while I wasn’t overly bored, it was certainly different (and a bit slower). I followed the route from my first metric century ride last summer. I have the cue sheet printed with all the turns, and the roads are all marked except where they’ve been repaved, so it’s very easy to follow. Part of the route was closed for road construction, so I mapped out a way around it. But then when I got to the closed section, other cyclists were going through anyway, so I did too. Naughty but it worked.

More importantly, on Saturday I went to Inside Out Sports (where I bought my tri bike), tried out a few new seats, and picked what I hope will be a winner! As I said last week, the seat my bike came with is really uncomfortable for me after about 30 minutes. The bike fit guy was pretty close to my age, which is nice I suppose, but also awkward when he asked if the pain was on my sit bones or… elsewhere. Yeah let’s just say elsewhere and leave it at that. In case anyone is wondering (I’ve looked at other women’s blogs and read mention of them getting a different seat but not anything about which they tried or what the difference was), I tried the Cobb V-Flow, Terry Butterfly, and ISM Adamo Road. I ended up with the ISM one.

CAM00235

It’s obviously different-looking, with two prongs (?) instead of the normal one. This seat is great, in my opinion so far, because it places all your body weight pressure on your sit bones, instead of on any delicate tissue, and your sit bones are covered with muscle (and fat) that will toughen up over time, which delicate tissue cannot. The bike fit guy was really surprised I liked this saddle best, but I don’t fully know why. He had warned me ahead of time that it feels very different and takes awhile to get used, and since the nose/prongs are shorter than a regular seat, people sometimes feel like they’re going to fall off. Well, I did not feel like I was going to fall off. Since I had just done a long ride mere hours before, I was already kind of sore. That may have been a bad idea for testing saddles, but I think it was actually good because I was more able to feel what would be uncomfortable 65 miles in. The front might be a bit too wide, but the bike guy said people zip-tie them together and either leave the zip-tie on or take it off after awhile and they stay pushed in a bit.

In case you are wondering what these “sit bones” are, without getting too graphic with a verbal description, here’s a drawing for you.

Source

The Cobb V-Flow would have been my second choice, but I could still feel a lot of pressure from the front of the saddle while in aero. The Terry Butterfly felt too similar to my current seat – it might have worked for a road bike but not for aero position for me. With the ISM Adamo, there is no front of the saddle, so no problem there! The one I got is the “Road” saddle, and they also make a TT (time trial or triathlon) one, which is the same shape but less padding. (They also make many more models, but I wasn’t considering any of those). The store didn’t have the TT one but offered to order it for me. Honestly I didn’t feel like coming back to try it next week because I’m pretty sure it’d feel almost the same. Plus more padding (but not too much) seems like a good idea to me. So that’s that! I know it’ll take several rides to really feel the best, but I’m glad this is a drastic improvement. While driving home, I felt like I had a whole new bike.

Sunday: 17 miles cycling (on tri bike) plus 10 minute transition run. lululemon yoga.

I woke up very excited to try my new saddle for more than a mile up and down a side road at the store. I honestly felt all the excitement from when I first bought it come rushing back. After an hour of riding, I felt no worse than when I started. I think that’s success at this point. My sit bones are feeling it, but they’ll adapt (or so they say). Now that I have my seat issues figured out (I hope) I’m starting to notice all the other things that feel a bit off and I might want adjusted. For example, I think the arm rests on my aero bars are too narrow. Maybe I just need to get used to them, or maybe I’ll just be back at Inside Out getting refit every other weekend. I’m sure they’ll love that. I also noticed they sell the Soas kits I’ve been eyeing… Sigh.

So that was my training volume 16 weeks out. I’m realizing I have very little idea what I’m doing aside from some swim/bike/run, but in a few weeks I’ll pick up at 12 weeks out on a free plan from Beginner Triathlete, and I think I’ll feel more officially “in training” at that point. The plan is a 20 week plan, but I wanted to spend more time cycling (I’m not sure I’ve really done that beyond the long Saturday rides) leading up to my century ride in July, and I really like my Wednesday night runs and Thursday night rides, so I haven’t started it yet. We’ll see how that transition goes.

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