So, back to
regularly scheduled sporadic and random training talk …
Back in February, I was publicly dithering about whether to stay signed up for an April Olympic triathlon or drop to the sprint or drop out entirely or do it but pick another race as a real goal. The weekend before we left for Japan, we had a pretty tough weekend of group workouts — a 7-mile run on Saturday and a 2000-yard swim/24-mile bike/10-minute run brick on Sunday — and I felt good enough that I figured I could survive an Olympic even after a training break.
When I got back, I hopped right into my first open water swim of the season on a jet-lagged Sunday morning (in the lovely, green-scum-filled, 53-degree water of Aquatic Park), then took the rest of the week easing back into training. By the time last weekend rolled around, I was feeling fairly normal, if a bit more coffee-dependent than usual. Most of my group was down at Lake San Antonio for a Wildflower training camp, but our coach had left behind some specific (and slightly daunting) instructions for workouts for those of us staying behind, and I decided to treat the weekend like a dress rehearsal for Napa.
Um, what’s that saying … bad dress rehearsal, great performance?
We’ll see about the great performance part, but the bad dress rehearsal part isn’t even debatable. Let’s see:
- I got up to meet my tri buddy at 8 a.m. on Saturday and it was raining. It barely rained all winter; now, on the first weekend of April, I walked out into thick drizzle. I decided, as one who lives in my particular area of San Francisco often does, that it must be specific to my location and it would clear up by the time we got to Aquatic Park to swim.
- It did not clear up by the time we got to Aquatic Park to swim.
- I had failed to account for the time it would take to load and unload our bikes a bunch of times, nor had I packed well for Aquatic Park. I’m used to having someone around to watch my gear, and I hadn’t thought through the process of taking only what I needed for the swim down to the beach with me. There was a lot of “oh crap, I need my bike lock.” “Dammit, I just locked the credit card I was going to use to pay the meter in my bag in the trunk.”
- I also hadn’t thought about the potential problems of swimming with an electronic-entry car key. Luckily, I had a spare plastic baggie, which didn’t keep it dry but kept it dry enough that it still worked.
- We locked our bikes to the wrong side of the Aquatic Park railing (they have to be touching the road, not the bleacher platform), so a park ranger almost snipped our locks. Tri buddy got out of the water and saw what was happening just in time.
- Somewhere between the bleachers and the car, I lost my favorite goggles.
- We were a solid hour behind my theoretical schedule by the time we got to the parking spot for our ride.
- We had to cross under a tunnel to the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge to start riding. There were confusing construction signs everywhere, and we wandered in circles for a while before finally finding the right path, seconds before we’d resolved to give up and just drive to a parking spot a few miles further into Sausalito.
- The right path had slippery wooden stairs.
- It was still raining. We employed the San Francisco cyclists’ mantra of “it’ll be nicer in Marin!”
- It was not nicer in Marin.
- I got overly excited by a Bay Trail marker and tried to take us off the main road too soon — leading to a traffic-y detour that ended in more wooden stairs.
- On the way back, I managed to ride on the wrong spur of two different roads on a route I have taken at least a dozen times.
- I couldn’t remember exactly how to get back into the bridge parking lot. The route ends on a long climb, and I’m a stronger climber than my tri buddy, so I figured I’d get there first and then could text her directions. My mistake was using the word “tunnel” to describe an underpass — not realizing there was a real, significant tunnel off to the right — and she got stranded in the Marin Headlands.
- We finished the day’s adventure about an hour and a half later than planned, despite the fact that I cut my transition run short and she didn’t run at all, what with being stranded in the Headlands.
- I spent Sunday stalling on my workout all day and finally left around 5:45, figuring I’d have just enough time to squeeze in the scheduled 45-minute ride and 6-mile run before sunset.
- I got a flat about 15 minutes into the ride. I did at least manage to change it — my first successful tube change in a situation where it actually mattered — but not quickly and not without dumping the entire contents of my saddle bag onto the sidewalk and coating my favorite (light blue) tank top with bike grease.
- I ended the ride at sunset, setting myself up for a 6-mile run in the dark.
- I guess nothing that bad actually happened on the run, beyond the unfortunate circumstances of it. At least I know my headlamp works?
All things considered, though? The results of the actual workouts were fine, even good. I came close to swimming a mile at Aquatic Park in 30 minutes, I held a reasonable-for-me pace even with all the stairs and detours on a 26-mile bike ride, my transition run felt smooth and speedy, and I ran a 9:20/mile 10K in the dark at the end of Sunday’s easy ride.
Now I’m hoping all my dumb mistakes are out of the way so I can just go race on Sunday. I don’t have a ton of expectations or goals, other than a vague desire to beat my Wildflower time — and this is supposedly a somewhat easier course (though still plenty hilly). Every tri is different, though — as my “surprise, it’s a trail run!” race taught me last year — so I’m trying to keep an open mind about what might happen.
I am happy to have stayed in the Olympic, all things considered. I have that fun, jittery, “I want to go race nowwwwwwwwww” feeling that I haven’t had since Walnut Creek in December. If nothing else, it’ll be a good to know where my fitness and nutrition are going into Vineman training — and a good excuse to eat a grilled cheese on a waffle for lunch on Monday. Will race for food, always.