The title says it all. Over the last few weeks, there’s been some bloodshed, there’s been a lot of saddle soreness and there has been a spot of glory. I’ll go in order.
So I’ve been doing this high intensity Computrainer bike training series with the Commander. I committed to the five-week long endeavor because a) I’m performance addicted; b) I feel compelled to work overtime now that I’m on the God forsaken Shadow Unit; c) I have this sweet new ride and; c) I’ve seen my swim and run times decline precipitously over the last year while my bike times have remained somewhat consistent. That’s not entirely true. I’ve gotten nominally faster but not to the extent that my bike times are truly impacting my overall finish times. I decided to make the commitment and thus far, I’m glad that I did. Although the training sessions are grueling. FAR MORE GRUELING than any training sessions on the road. Working on a trainer (see above set-up) is way more difficult and after two testing sessions, the Commander has designed a training protocol that leaves my legs feeling liquified for several hours after I’m done. But on to the blood.
The deal includes two blood lactate tests. We already performed one (see above blood lactate testing set-up) and discovered that my zones have been pretty much what we thought they were. My bike zones are a little lower than I thought they were, my run zones are about the same. Still, it was pretty cool to get the exact numbers. Now that I have accurate zones, I have a really good sense of how hard I’m working and whether or not I can push myself a little more or pull back a bit. I’ve been out on the road several times since I started the High Intensity training and I’m already feeling a difference–mostly on inclines (not that we have a lot of those down here) but also on the flats. My most recent testing data shows an obvious improvement. I went from a 10K time trial at 18.9mph in the middle of January to a 16K TT at 20.4mph just a few weeks later. Now, I did buy the new bike so that might have something to do with it. But I’m thinking the combo of new bike and intense training will get me to my goals this season.
That brings me to my butt. I have no pictures for this section. Sorry. The “bottom” line is I need a new saddle STAT! The one that came with StarBuck is not going to cut it. I don’t know how to express what I’m feeling without being crass so I won’t bother. Those of you who’ve ever ridden a road or TT bike for an extended period of time now what I’m talking about. It’s more uncomfortable than I could have possibly imagined and I fear for my future genital health. So I’m going to make the switch to an Adamo road saddle as soon as I get my tax return. If not sooner. ‘Nuff said.
Despite an hour-long leg liquifier last Friday, I managed to run a PR at the Chapman Partnership Run Wild 5K on Saturday, win my age group (1st of 90!!) and get 2nd overall women! That’s me up there with two Miami Dolphins cheerleaders (WTF?) Posing with those two brought me back to my boxing days when I couldn’t understand why they’d put ring girls in for girl fights between rounds. Don’t get me wrong, they were totally nice but I would have much rather had a picture with the 2nd and 3rd place runners. At any rate, I was psyched with my performance especially since not 16 hours before I’d been grinding away at 300 watts for 12 thirty-second intervals with four-minute “rest” intervals at 100 watts between. I was on the fence about whether or not I’d race this race or just try to enjoy myself. Apparently, the second option is never really an option. I did a long warm up before the race start (about 35 minutes) and I highly recommend this to everyone before a 5K. I’d heard tell that this was the way to go but had never tried it.
The last time I ran all out at a 5K was September 2011, right before I really started training with Alien Endurance. I ran a 23:17. I managed to pull off an age group win at that race as well but got horribly sick immediately after. Like balls to wall sick. Couldn’t move for days. It was awful. My best 5K training time last year was 22:40-something so I was hoping to beat that but my 5K TT when I got back from the holidays was a shabby 24 minutes and change. So I really had no idea what to expect from myself. I ran that long warmup super slow with a few little pickups. The pickups had my HR spiking and my quads burning so I wasn’t sure about my capacity for speed once the race started.
But there’s something about race day. The way your body just takes over and the gun goes off and your muscles fire and you just do what you’ve trained to do. I went out way too fast. I glanced at my Garmin about a quarter-mile in and I was clocking 6:38 or something absurd like that. Absurd for me, that is. I realize that isnt’ absurd for some people. I felt really good, which was surprising, but I didn’t want to screw myself in the last mile so I decided to calm down a bit and try to get the pace up to around 7:30. I did that and my HR was hovering in high Z4, which felt good. Breathing felt good and legs felt good. I felt good.
At the half-way point, I picked it up a bit and brought the pace down around 7:09-7:15. The course was a lovely, loopy jaunt through the Miami Metro Zoo. After the race, everyone assured me that they’d seen giraffes and elephants and other such creatures but I hadn’t seen a damned thing. I was too busy frothing at the mouth and focusing on the few ladies in front of me. Right after the mile 2 marker, I decided to kick it into high gear. I’d passed one chick and had my sights on another: a super lithe professional looking older woman I’d seen warming up at the start line. The chick looked crazy elite and was literally floating through the air. When I passed her, I was a little shocked. I later discovered that she is 60 years old and a professional marathoner. She was amazing. But as I passed her, I heard a guy call out to her, letting her know that she was 4th. So I heard this and was like, “he can’t mean she’s the fourth woman. Because if she is and I’m passing her then I’m the third woman, which makes no sense at all.”
There was one more woman up ahead of me but I could see that she was hurting and at that point I was feeling really great. I checked my Garmin and saw I had about a three tenths of a mile left so I decided it was time to just burn what was left in the tank. I kicked it up, got down to a 6:50-something, which is way faster than I thought I could run, and blew passed the last lady. I got through the finish chute at 22:24.
I have to say, I was pretty pleased with myself. I know 22:24 is no elite finishing time but I felt like I paced the race perfectly and managed to leave it all out there in the last mile. The first place gal finished in 21:08, I think. I wonder what I would have done if I hadn’t had that bike training session the day before! In the end it doesn’t matter. This 5K has me super excited for my tri runs this season and I really love seeing speed gains over the course of the years. At my first ever 5K (the 2006 Country’s Midnight Express in Columbus, Georgia) I ran a 27:24. And I was only that fast because there was a BBQ sandwich waiting for me at the finish line. It took me five years to get my ass back into gear and I’m glad that I did. First place out of 90 women feels pretty awesome and second place out of about 500 feels even better. Maybe even better than a pulled pork sandwich. But let’s not push it.