15 Weeks to Go and the Tour de France!

Nothing says summertime like a DVR full of Tour de France stages. I suppose baseball games and pool time are also very summery, but man I enjoy watching the Tour every summer. I admit I don’t really pay attention to pro cycling except for the Tour, but I do follow Mark Cavendish on twitter (@MarkCavendish) and I always suspected Lance was cheating. So at least there’s that. I am constantly amazed at how fast they ride (and sometimes without holding the handle bars!), and I appreciate the commentators’ explanation of the history of the host towns and the race itself. Regardless of doping allegations and whatnot, it’s still just impressive to watch. Though when they ride twice as far as I do in about the same time, it’s still mind-blowing…

Anyway, this was a good week for me and my new saddle! We are getting along quite well, I’m pleased to report. Here’s how this week went down:

Monday: 5 mile run a.m.

Pretty standard. I’ve broken the habit of driving to the forest to go run, which makes the mornings more efficient.

Tuesday: 2400 yards swimming a.m.

I really enjoy swimming, I think because it’s just so different from biking or running, and it hurts my arms/shoulders when I work hard instead of my legs. I’m glad to be swimming further, though I am always so hungry the rest of the day! I also think I’m getting a little faster in the pool. I’m trying to push it a little more instead of just doing the workout at a moderate pace, so I hope that’s helping.

Wednesday: 17 miles cycling a.m./7 miles running p.m.

I was planning to ride my bike on Tuesday night, but I’m just better at morning workouts. A standard ride on my tri bike – I stayed in aero when cars passed, which was progress for me.

As for  the run, when we all met at Fullsteam, we commented on how this had to be the hottest Wednesday yet. The forecast called for stormy weather, but the sky seemed clear except for a few puffy clouds. About a mile and a half into the run, dark clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped, and we felt like we were running in a horror movie where the aliens were about to come down. It was kind of freaky. Soon enough, the sky opened up and poured the rest of the run. Aside from the constant water in my eyes, I generally enjoy running in the rain and today was no different.

Thursday: 2300 yards swimming a.m./27.5 miles cycling p.m.

Another successful swimming day. I wrote down some new workouts from the training plan I’ll start following in a few weeks so I’m rotating those in now.

I chose not to go to the Luna Chix ride this week for a couple reasons. First, the meeting place wasn’t convenient for me, and second, I really wanted to ride my tri bike again. It’s seriously like a new toy I don’t want to put down. So I added an extra loop to my normal 17 mile route and figured I’d get in a bit of a longer ride before it got too dark. Unfortunately, this ride was a bit of a mess. First, I missed a turn following a cue sheet from a ride I did once. So I was riding down an unfamiliar and questionable road thinking, ummmm this doesn’t seem right… Thank goodness for Google maps and smart phones, right? I pretty quickly figured out my mistake and got back on track. My next snafu was even more silly. I have a Profile Design aero bottle on the front of my bike, and the straw is two pieces, one overlapping the other. I somehow reached across the front of my bike and knocked the top part of the straw off as I was riding downhill with a big truck behind me. Great. I spent a good 15 minutes walking up and down the side of the road scouring the grass for the small clear plastic tube. In bike shoes, spandex, and helmet. I’m sure I looked great. I finally gave up, and then when I got on my bike again, I saw the straw piece no more than 10 yards beyond the section of road I’d been pacing up and down. I’m glad I stopped for it, but I was definitely worried about the sun set by this point. Obviously I made it home safely, and I was glad to have ridden more than 17 miles on my new saddle with no problems.

Friday: 30 minute run a.m.

I’ve decided to transition from miles to minutes for my running to better align with the triathlon training plan I’ll start to follow soon. 30 minutes is more than 3 miles for me, so it’s good to get a bit more distance in.

Saturday: 73 miles cycling (road bike)

This was my furthest ride this year! Ok every Saturday for the past few Saturdays has provided me with a new furthest ride for the year, but 73 miles just seems like a lot. This ride took me over 4 hours to finish, but somehow the time honestly doesn’t seem so long. I think that’s the biggest benefit from the hours I spent pool running last spring. I can keep myself from getting bored with just my thoughts to entertain me. I do need to find some water refill spots along these routes, so that’s my biggest challenge right now. That and the fact that riding for over 4 hours and trying to carry 200-250 calories per hour of snacks is a lot of snacks! I feel like I’m going to work through my bag of Gu and various gummies  pretty quickly, so I’ll probably shift to making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to supplement the other stuff.

My office went to the Durham Bulls baseball game this evening, and I definitely made up for any calorie deficit by enjoying a hot dog, sweet potato fries, and Rita’s frozen custard with the Bull’s Bucks we got with our tickets (money coupons to use on food/drinks/merchandise). I even got a soda to drink – wild night!

Sunday:  32 miles cycling, 20 minute transition run

I went to bed on Saturday a little nervous that my stomach would not be pleased with me for all the treats at the game, but it turned out to handle it just fine. Thank you, stomach! At two hours of riding, this was my longest ride yet on my tri bike with the new saddle. I’m making a conscious effort on all rides to shift into lower gears more often. I have a tendency to stay in harder gears and “mash” up hills, but I know that’s not smart, and after a little lecture from the tri store guy last weekend, I’m really trying to change my habits. I can definitely tell that I use different muscles when I’m spinning at a higher cadence up a hill, so I hope I’m conserving the muscles used for running.

I was sad I couldn’t make it to my Sunday yoga class, but I decided that sleeping in and doing the workout was more important than yoga. Maybe I’ll throw in some extra stretching at home tonight to make up for it…

Now I need to pack for my trip to Hawaii this week! I leave early Wednesday morning, and I expect Monday and Tuesday could be pretty busy with work, so I want to make sure I’m mostly packed in advance.

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