Monday, August 11, 2008

All about the bike

After several disappointing bike splits in my past few races.... I've decided enough is enough. I looked up my 3 year old time from Soma, and went, huh? I avg'd 19mph easily on that course 3 years ago... and I am much more experienced and stronger on the bike now.

So, what has changed? Comfort. I think I've gotten WAY too comfortable and well, lazy.... Pre-ironman and strict HR training, I used to just RIDE. I rode with people far better and more fit than me, and ever Tuesday morning, they would KICK MY ASS. Literally. I remember looking at my Polar HR monitor and after 1:20ride I would have burned ~900calories. WHOOT!.... To me that meant another free glass of wine, or piece of chocolate :-) Priorities people.

Then, I struggled to loose some weight, and found out that my body burns a LOT more fat calories when I'm at a lower HR. I also learned that eventually I did get faster at a lower HR, with some patience of course.

Unfortunately, I think I took that a little bit too far. As I got more efficient, and my HR dropped into the zones I needed, I didn't work any harder. I just kept plugging away, sometimes not even in my zone 2. More of a recovery workout, if you will. I would end 4-6 hour bike rides with a HR average in the 130's, sometimes even in the 120s.

Then, when push came to shove and it was time to race... I would have experiences like this. Which pissed me off, but also made me doubt my abilities.

Now, I can't really say for sure if my slower than expected bike split at CDA was the same thing due to the stomach issues.. but it was a huge disappointment none the less.

I'm not one to sign up for races, just because. After many years and many missed and or poor races, I think it through before clicking the "submit" button on So, when I decided to register for Soma half IM, I needed a good reason. The registration alone is a fair chunk of change, and training in the heat of the AZ Summer is taxing. I had also planned on "resting" after Ironman CDA - that would be limited.

But, again, I felt like I owed it to myself to prove what I can do. And, while my IT band is not 100%, so I'm not looking for a run PR, I know I can do SO.MUCH.BETTER. on the bike.

With that said, I did the unthinkable. I put a time goal out there. Something I DON'T do. Something I am scared of. Failure? Pressure? Who knows.... But I did it.

56miles. Goal - 20.5mph-21mph. Time: 2:43-2:46. Doable? He@@ Yah!

So, it's easy to have a goal.... it's putting that goal out there for everyone to see and holding yourself accountable that is scary. I don't like failure. I don't do failure.

The plan:
  • Ride like hell for the next 12 weeks.

  • No more Zone 1 cruise speed every week.

  • Push through the comfort zone

  • Stay healthy

  • Rest when needed

  • Actually do the speed ride once per week on the schedule

  • For once if feeling fatigue - miss the run, not the bike!

I think my goal is pretty aggressive, but in hindsight I can't figure out how the heck I avg'd 19mph 3 years ago with little experience, and in no where near as fit!? So, I must be able to one up that, right?

Yesterday was test ride #1. I knew there would be a few phases to the ride, because we were picking up one of newest members, Big J for his first non-perfect weather, flat terrain road ride. And, if he was willing to get up 3 hours early to get out there with us, I would do my best to help make him more comfortable (i.e. - not make him resent coming out there!)

So the plan - Melisa would come pick up Shane & I....we'd ride up to get Big J. ride about 40mins with him, then Melisa & I would take off to finish our ride. And that is where I decided I would start my plan. Push it.

Which is EXACTLY what we did. After 1:20 of easy climbing, it was time for the boys to head home & Momo & I to finish our ride. Mission accomplished!!!!!

We avg'd NINETEEN POINT 5 for 1:45!!!!!!

Avg HR 149.. Now, we're talking....

That includes several start/stops for lights & water. Along with some slight incline/decline (no major hills)

While my legs felt it... I also felt so much better at the end. I knew I actually worked hard. I manged the heat and humidity really well, and honestly... It was actually EASIER to keep a steady/strong pace vs a few pushes here and there along with a lot of drafting, which is the norm.

I'm pretty sure Melisa hated me for a few minutes here and there. You know, since this was also HER first ride back from the perfect Coronado. Nothing like easing back into things, eh? But, as the new favorite saying goes, "Suck it up Buttercup." She's got some goals set herself here as well.

So, week one down - 11 to go. I managed 12 hours for week one. I'm sticking with my plan of only 2 runs per week until September to allow the IT to respond to treatment more.

Here are the results. Oh - and after yesterday's run.. I managed a KICK A@@ tempo run this am. While the numbers aren't that impressive - I manged about :40 per mile faster than I have been in this awful heat and humidity. Very happy with that!

You know what's kinda sick? I felt better than ever after finally getting back into the swing of things... You know, training...


Spokane Al said...

Push through the comfort zone - I like that and used it as my mantra during a race this past weekend.

And goals are what keep us alive and moving and pushing.

Keep rocking lady. You guys are awesome!

Flatman said...

Sweet. I love it when the spark comes alive! Way to push it out there... :)

stronger said...

Your whole tone changes when you sign up for something and have a plan. Way to go. And way to get the other buttercup on a group ride!

momo said...

we WERE rocking out there and i was hungry all day long! i'm along for the whole 11 week ride, girlfriend. get faster or die trying, right?

althouh i'm not verbalizing goals quite yet... :-) give me a week or two and i'll come up with something.

Erin said...

I've just come to a similar realization -- speed isn't going to come from sensible, safe training. Rather, it's only going to come from trying to go fast...and going fast hurts.

You'll rock SOMA. Get after it!

Supalinds said...

Girl, you can do it - I KNOW you can! Dig deep, you will be surprised at what you find.

It is all about the bike, and with less running and more biking I dare to say that not only will your bike get better but so will your running.

Can't wait to see what you will do in 11 weeks. Good luck on the training!!!