Friday night, I signed up for an Ironman. Twelve hours later, I began my 7-month training journey on a compu-trainer at T2 Multisport. In these classes, you ride on real bikes (road/tri bikes), not spin bikes. Your compu-trainer is attached to your back wheel and turns your bike into a computerized machine. On a screen in front of you, you watch your avatar move across a specified course and your mph, RPM and wattage/power output are visible to everyone. It’s nice to have the group element, but be challenged in a new way, grinding and pushing through world renowned race courses from the “comfort” of an indoor, air-conditioned studio.
So alongside a dozen Terrier Tri teammates and avid cyclists, I shifted gears through multiple rounds of uphill pushes, each time adjusting RPM to cater to the increasing incline. Within minutes, I was dripping from head to toe with burning quads and bulging calves, but I knew that no amount of pain meant it was time to quit. Pushing through it is a constant breakthrough as it navigates your body to new levels of fitness. More importantly, it’s mentally rewarding to feel (and see!) how far you’ve come. My cute little green avatar held 3rd place (out of 6 of us) for the first half and then sank to 4th in the last half, finishing just .3 of a mile from 3rd. Placing isn’t a concern, but closing the gap is always a fun challenge, especially since you don’t necessarily have that knowledge on a real race course.
Anyway, it took us one hour to climb approximately 15-16 miles. Tough ride. Amazing workout. I made sure to stretch asap, do plenty of foam rolling and replenish my body with fluids, plenty of protein and healthy carbs. Soon, I was new again.
Yesterday, Sunday morning, the Terriers joined forces again in Central Park for our first group long run of 2015. We celebrated the moment with a group shot and then took off for a steady 8-miler through the 15-degree, wintery weather. It was exciting to have the chance for conversation, getting to know the teammates and hear what everyone is training for. Some of us are into ultra-marathons, some are age-group winners, and some are new to triathlon training all together. Dodging ice and shuffling through some snowy parts, we kept ourselves warm despite the conditions and then broke off when the sun decided to take a break as well.
I was feeling a cold coming on so I knew it was time to bundle up, work on this blog, and save my energy for Sunday’s second workout. That’s right, the fun wasn’t over. You see, at the start of every season, the coaches need to determine where everyone falls in their training. Based on numbers they get from our speed drills, they can make training plans to fit our level. Though it’s not so fun to race against myself (or against anyone for that matter) it’s definitely the right way to start a season. SO, with that, 6pm rolled around and I met the team at a pool for our 500yard speed set. Yay!
As much as I have grown to LOVE swimming, I was pretty exhausted and couldn’t find the physical strength I had earlier that day. Plus, as most athletes do, I have a few injuries— one being tendonitis that runs from my neck to my finger tips on the right side of the body. No fun, I tell you. And when it acts up, it’s a huge set back. But I stretched and warmed up in the pool a bit before the timer started to loosen up the joints. When coach yelled GO, I definitely went out too fast, which is a major no-no. For a 500yard swim (20 lengths of a 25yard pool), the key is to start steady and continuously build until you go all out for the last 100yards. I was not at my best but still pulled off a decent time of 9:16. Remember, in triathlon, this is the first sport. If you use too much energy, you will feel it later in the race. As an endurance trainee, I am used to a steady pace that ends with a powerful finish.
So the first weekend of training was complete! Unfortunately, I woke up this morning sick, so unable to make it to swim practice again. The key is to take care of yourself! If I want to do this thing right, I need to rest and recover when necessary. Today was just one of those days. Tonight I sleep, tomorrow we’ve got a 5k run test, so it’s back to biz for Bforge. Wish me luck…and maybe some speed!