Title courtesy of Red.
I had a hill workout today – 8 times up the dreaded Hall St. Hill. It sucked. But each time it sucked, I kept repeating “Hills are for heroes” to myself. This run was for you Red! In case you don’t follow Red (or The Redhead, or Morgan, or any one of her various aliases), she suffered a heart breaking setback over 2 months ago sidelining her from the Cleveland Marathon. While still unable to run, she has the heart of a champion and has been cross training like a fiend so that she can come back firing on all cylinders. Don’t give up Red!
National Running Day
As I am sure you have heard already, today was National Running Day. I “celebrated” with my hill workout and then joining Jennie and Bailey on their run. Bailey has learned that when Jennie turns her Garmin on, it is time to run. He goes crazy. He starts running back and forth between us and door and starts whining in a “Hurry Up!” tone. Jennie had scoped out the NRD parties on Facebook so we aimed our run towards the EGR Library where Gazelle Sports had a booth setup and were giving out free popsicles. First red, white, and blue rocket popsicle of the season! It must be summer!
Pre Race Plan
I have my first triathlon of season on Sunday – the Grand Rapids Tri Half IM. This really isn’t part of my scheduled training but there is no way I could pass up a Half IM 15 minutes away from home. I am sort of torn on how to tackle the race. On one hand, I want to treat it like a training day and just go out and execute. But, on the other hand, this is an awesome course to put the pedal to metal. The swim is calm and fast. The bike is flat and fast. And the run has a few rollers but has the potential to be fast. See what I am getting at? Basically, part of me wants to go FAST!
So, here is what I think I am going to do. I am going to adjust my training at the end of this week slightly to give me at least a 2 day taper. I’m going to pare back my Friday workout from 1h50m speed session to a 1h easy spin. Then, Saturday, instead of a brick workout (which will be replaced with the race), will be a 30-40 minute easy recovery run. That way, on Sunday, depending on how I feel, I can decided on my final game plan.
An easy out and back course in the Thornapple River reservoir. There are two variables on the swim; water temperature and swim wave size. The water was only 60* on Saturday when I swam there, but has already warmed up to 64* with the warm weather we have had. If it gets up to 68*, it could be perfect for a PR. If it doesn’t warm up, I know that the first half of the swim will be a little slow while my body adjusts to the temperature. The second issue is wave size. I don’t know yet how they are dividing up the 300+ athletes. The smaller the wave size, the less fighting for position, the more potential for speed.
Current PR: 33:47 Good: 36:00, Better: 34:30, Best 33:00
Like I said, this is could be an ideal course for some speed. The bike course is tree lined, so even on windy days, the wind hasn’t been a huge factor. There is only one hill on the course from mile 16-18 and it really isn’t even a big one. It just looks big because the rest of the course is so flat. The only downside to the hill is that it is on the bumpiest section of the course which will make it difficult (read: dangerous) to wind it out on the return downhill. Also, the aid stations are going to have Heed and water. I hate Heed. Absolutely can not stand it. Had a bad experience with it, so never again. This means I am stuck carrying my fluids. I’ll probably do my Aerodrink along with a 2nd bottle on my frame for 56oz of fluid. A little less than I would like, so I’ll probably grab a water bottle along the way and chug it. I’m also going to carry enough Gu Chomps to make it through the ride and maybe a few strawberry Newtons in case I get sick of the chomps.
PR: 2:42 Good: 3:00 Better: 2:50 Best: 2:40
And now we have come to the variable. I have imploded on every HIM run so far. My best performance was 1:41 but on a 12.2 mile shortened course. Independent of a HIM, I have logged some solid half marathon times, but just haven’t been able to keep it together at the end of a triathlon. I think nutrition has been my downfall each time and I am confident I have that figured out. The biggest variable on the run is where we run – on the road or on the bike path. The bike path is actually hillier than the road it runs next to so I am hoping we end up on the road.
PR: 2:01 Good: 2:00 Better: 1:50 Best 1:40
So, where does that put us? 5:00 – 5:45 depending on how well I can execute and how fast I can transition. Quite honestly, at this point in the season, I would be just as happy with a 5:45 as a 5:00. Don’t get me wrong, a solid PR would be awesome, but that isn’t the main goal of this race. The goal is to go out there and execute cleanly and to not implode on the run.
There isn’t any fancy online tracking or anything for this race, but Jennie will be providing updates via Facebook (and possibly Twitter) if you are interested.
Good luck to everyone else racing this weekend! Let me know if I forgot you so I can add you to the list.