Monday, June 6, 2011

Give me a better title

S - 9,000 yards (blah)
B - 302.9 miles (yay!)
R - 42.1 miles (no appropriate exclamation found)

Time - 22.09 hours

I'm gonna start this one out by talking about one of my favorite things: riding alone.  As far as I know, I'm not crazy so I think it's important to examine some of the pros and cons of solo riding to properly assess my feelings on the subjected.

1) Lonely (yea, I said it) - out there all by yourself, just enjoying the day (hopefully) and cruising along...
2) Only have to worry about yourself (I - at times - hate worrying about other people on a ride; how they feel, where they want to go, what they want to do, how thirsty they are, whether or not they need to pee, if they'll blow their nose on you, what workout they have to do, whether you blow a snot rocket on them, I could go on and on and on...
3) Stop for as long as you want at the store stop! (no wham bam thank you ma'ams at the stop, I like to really enjoy my mountain dew!)
4) Your own schedule (If I wanna ride at 7:06 am by golly I can ride at 7:06am!)

1) Risky (can counteract said riskiness by carrying ID, but it's still riskier than riding with people)
2) Lonely (nobody to talk to except for gas station employees who think you're crazy, nobody on whom to drop the proverbial hammer, boring at times)
3) Even some triathletes think you're crazy (of the 300ish miles I rode this week, 200 of those were by myself)

On the one hand I'm definitely kind of  a loner.  I like the solitude of long rides by myself.  I like being able to have to talk myself into hitting all of my intervals even though nobody but me will know that I gave up on them.  I like that I can listen to music and nobody will judge me because they can't hear it (hello Katy Perry and mayyyybe some Ke$ha plus assorted techno-ish stuff that nobody will admit they like).  On the other hand I like riding with people every now and then so it's important to find that appropriate mix.  Group rides are great from a fitness standpoint, it's just that there's no specific workout involved.  Sure, you'll hit a wide range of zones but none of it is focused and none of it is as good as specific intervals for long course racing.  While I'd love to make people hurt (not even sure I can) on group rides I prefer the mental fortitude it takes to get through that 5th and 6th 10+ minute threshold interval by myself and not having to rely on anyone else to get the work done for me.

In some ways, riding solo is a lot like swimming.  While I was out of the pool for ~2 weeks I thought a lot about why I enjoy it and why some people (most people) do not.  I think what I like about swimming is how rhythmic it can be; once you start an interval/set, you're on your own under water.  There aren't any noises, just bubbles.  Sure there are other people around and that's also part of what makes swimming fun: people watching.  For example, several weeks ago I swam at the MAC the day before Ultraswim and Olympic Gold medalist Rebecca Soni was swimming right next to me (or mayyybe I got in the lane next to her...).  Not only was I admiring her swim stroke... Eh you get the point.

Now, onto the more exciting and always interesting weekly recap!

While I was back in the pool this week, I certainly felt "off."  I think that's the longest I haven't been in the pool in the 3 years I've been swimming.  Kind of strange.  I had some workouts but none of them were very long and/or hard (well they were hard in the sense that I feel out of shape, but they were not difficult).  I spent a little time at the outdoor pool at the Harris Y on Saturday and that was fun, but not for the swimming part....

Big miles on the bike this week (I think it may actually be the most I've ridden, or at least "documented") and that was pretty awesome.  As mentioned last week, I rode Monday up in Chapel Hill, Tuesday solo intervals, Thursday solo intervals, Friday solo aerobic, Saturday small group with some progressive work, Sunday solo with intervals.  By the time Sunday rolled around my legs were quite tired so that plus not quite as much sleep as I'd normally enjoy had me feeling pretty smoked.  I had to do some intervals and thought I was going to have to quit mid-way through the first (of 6!) but luckily my legs didn't get any worse and I just plodded on; it was unremarkable but, as coach said, "good for you."  That particular ride was probably the hardest non race-related workout I've ever had.  Pretty awesome.

I did a good amount of indoor running on the treadmill this week; that's something that will become more and more common for me I think.  As it gets warmer outside, the ability to get in a truly quality run session without risk of dehydration diminishes rapidly.  If I wanted to do a tempo workout at 6:00/mi pace outdoors on a 90 degree day I'd HAVE to factor the temperature into my pace goals or I'd kill myself.  Not so on the treadmill.  If I want to run 6:00/mi pace, I can run that pace and not worry about overheating.  While I do feel as though (for me) pace is "tougher" on the treadmill than outdoors, maybe that's not such a bad thing?  Anyway, your mileage may vary.

Next week brings my first "real" sprint of the year at Tri Latta (no I'm not counting Cool Breeze because it is a stupid, pointless race) where I'd certainly like to do well, but I feel as though my swimming may hold me back a bit.  

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