As triathlon season gets closer, I’ve started to gear some of my training days toward skills that I’ll need on race days. I just started doing a few bike/run bricks over the last couple weeks. I haven’t done any of those since my last triathlon in 2015. During the first one my hip abductors and shoulders were sore for the first mile of the run. The second time was more typical of how I usually feel – heavy legs to start the run and feeling like I’m crawling when my pace is actually faster than it feels. I had forgotten about that aspect of running off the bike. I was pleasantly surprised that I ran faster off the bike than I have during any of my runs since I’ve returned to running over this last month. My problem foot has been fine during all of my runs so far, which haven’t gone past four miles at a time yet. My foot still aches at times, especially if I’ve been on my feet a lot at work. It’s enough to still keep me on edge, but not enough to keep me from short runs every other day or so.
There’s a duathlon that’s on my radar in a few weeks, so today I decided I should try a run/bike/run workout. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that combo. I went to Stony Creek Metropark and it was a beautiful day. Warm enough but not hot, and luckily the wind wasn’t 15-25 mph like it has been the last couple times I’ve been out on my bike!
I started by running a mile, rode just under 19 miles on the bike, then ran three more.
It kind of gave me some transition practice, but obviously I didn’t move very quickly since I took three to four minutes. It wasn’t exactly a race-specific kind of transition though. Of course I won’t have to get my stuff from the car and worry about getting my bike out of the bike rack or locking it back up. I took the first mile of running pretty easy, so I felt totally fine when I got on the bike. I’m still not thrilled with my cycling skills though. I had a new dilemma today. As I rode over a bridge and there was a transition in the pavement, my bike bumped just enough for my water bottle to go flying out of the cage. I was able to stop and go get it, but it happened again on a different bridge a few minutes later. Sorry to the woman hiking in that area who must have heard the f-bomb I shouted. Not so much luck that time – my poor Camelbak bottle went flying down into the creek. Part of the issue is that I’m so awkward on the bike that I’m afraid I’ll fall off if I reach down to my lower cage while I’m riding. I’m seriously uncoordinated and have terrible balance on the bike. So, I probably look like a dork with a cage mounted up by my handlebars. Having the bottle upright probably isn’t the most secure method. It works for me though, or at least it always has up until today. Luckily I had another bottle on me, and that one survived the rest of the ride. Maybe the one bottle has a tighter fit and I’ll have to stick with that. It was pretty frustrating but probably good to get out of the way during training. I sure hope I figure it out now so it never happens in a race! Aside from that, it was my typical ride. I don’t seem to ever improve beyond an average of 16-17 mph. I’m very aware that the bike is my weakness, especially when a big group of “real” cyclists flew past me. Stony is a good place for me to train because there are rolling hills and I need that kind of workout.
I had the heavy leg feeling as I started my second run, but nothing too bad. I did end up going much faster than I thought though, averaging close to an 8-minute pace. I’ve been doing a lot of 9-minute or slower miles lately as I’ve been cautious about my return to running, so that was much faster than I expected. It’s what came naturally, though I was breathing pretty heavily. Aside from the whole water bottle incident, it was a good workout that reassured me that I can pull off the duathlon in a few weeks as long as my foot cooperates between now and then.
In addition to training, I’ve also been picking up some new gear. My schedule of swimming at least three days a week has done a number on my swimsuit, so it was time for a new one of those.
I also ordered a pair of tri shorts from Coeur Sports recently. I follow several women, like the awesome Caitlin Constantine at Fit and Feminist, who are Coeur ambassadors and have nothing but great things to say about their products. Coeur’s shorts are known for the “seam-free chamois” that provide a comfortable, chafe-free fit. I saw that there was going to be a Coeur “trunk show” at Level Multisport in Birmingham, MI, so I went to that yesterday. The women were very friendly and knowledgeable, plus there was a 20% off sale and treats like fruit and cookies! I got another pair of shorts, ordered a new tri top, and was able to pick a free gift. A pair of compression socks were one of the options, and I was pleasantly surprised that they were free.
Between getting some new gear and having some productive training, I’m getting more and more anxious to get the season rolling.