I’m a day late this week; blame the Memorial Day holiday for throwing my schedule off a bit.
Last Thursday I had a big day: swim coaching, then a bike/run brick: 7.16 mi on the bike, followed by a 2.32 mi run. Neither was especially fast, but that’s OK. This was the first time I rode without headphones, using just the speaker on my iPhone for music. It worked fine and made me feel slightly more safe; I am super paranoid about sharing the road with cars since there aren’t any bike lanes out here in Limestone County, and not having my ears plugged made it quite a bit easier to hear vehicles behind me.
Swim coaching was a blast! On the advice of some friends from the TRI101 training program, I set up a coaching session with Lisi Bratcher. Over the course of about an hour, she spotted probably half a dozen things I was doing wrong. This is no big trick; almost anyone who’s ever swum a race could watch me and say “dude, you’re not supposed to do that”. The difference is that she taught me what to do about those things. For example, I am turning my head to breathe too late in the stroke, which means that I am working harder than necessary to get air, which explains my pitiful pool endurance. She also gave me some useful advice about my arm stroke, leg kicks, and timing. This week my swim days are Thursday and Friday, and I’ll probably sneak in at least one extra swim over the weekend, and I’m looking forward to putting her advice into practice.
I didn’t do anything Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Booo hiss. However, the TRI101 schedule (which I am trying hard to follow) had Saturday and Sunday as off days anyway, so no real harm done. I did work a volunteer shift at the packet pickup for the Cotton Row Run, where I bought a cheap triathlon kit at the race expo. I’ll eventually post pictures (of the kit, not of me wearing it), but it basically looks like just-above-the-knee bike shorts with a sleeveless quarter-zip top. The idea behind the kit is that you can wear one outfit for the swim, bike, and run, only changing your footwear. My practice swim suit would be fine for the bike but uncomfortable for the run, and my bike shorts (with their enormous diaper-like groin pad) would be terrible for swimming. I don’t have any opinion about the quality of this kit (it’s Nike) but it was cheap, so I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Monday morning Tom and I ran the Cotton Row 5K, both carrying our flags as we did last year. I ran it in 30:38, which was slower than my last few 5K races. In my defense, I was carrying a big ol’ Marine Corps flag. I ran with the race belt I’ll use during the triathlon; it was really nice to be able to grab a drink in between the water stations, although certainly not a necessity.
Yesterday we had our scheduled TRI101 class; this week the topic du sémaine was cycling again, so we met up outside the Redstone gate and rode an out-and-back circuit. I rode just under 15Km in just over 35 minutes, which was decent for me. I wasn’t pushing especially hard; my pace was roughly on a par with my brick ride from last week. I am getting more used to using the special pedals and shoes on the bike; this week I didn’t fall over, and my mount / dismount mechanics are better. I still need to take my bike in and get it fitted to me though. I did like riding on the Arsenal because it has a lot of big, wide roads with relatively few cars (during this particular time), so I’ll probably use it as a venue occasionally from now on.
Five weeks in! August is looming closer and closer…