Still, it sure was nice to take some time off and relax for a couple of months. I got a bit edgy about it all and had those occasional bouts of thinking "oh my god, I'm turning into a sloth. I'm SO LAZY." But since I've done it before, I was able to keep it pretty in check and know that even if I put a couple of pounds on, even if my running slowed a bit, even if my swimming slowed a LOT - it would all be okay. Taking 3 days off in a row a couple of weeks ago was just a weird thing for me to do but when I went out on a bike ride I ended up feeling really great. I figure I might as well enjoy the rest now because in another month and a half, I'll be prepping for this: http://www.ironmancalifornia.com/.
So what have I been up to? Hmmm, lots actually...
On October 20, Lee, Pat, David and I did Foxy's Fall Century. That was a lot of fun, in spite of my not having ridden much since the Big Kahuna. It was 107 miles, about 4000 feet of climbing (or something like that) and 6 hours with a LOT of wind. The beautiful thing about the ride was that the first 20 miles were FREE - i.e. we got into a LONG train with 4 tandems who just pulled us the whole way. It was absolutely fantastic and made those first 20 miles seem effortless.
After that, it was us against the wind into Fairfield, and it seemed to really suck up a lot of energy from all of us. Lunch was at mile 62 and I was just so happy to get off my bike. I was hurting by then. Still, we pressed on into the hills and it was a nice change. Miles 80-95 were tough and 95-107 were the toughest. We all broke apart for about the last 15 miles and came in on our own. Still, it remains one of my favorite centuries, perhaps because it's such a great way to end the year and the weather is generally pretty good.
On October 27, we had the first annual "Custer Cup Challenge Time Trial" (CCCTT) in Sonoma, CA. There were 15 of us who came out to have some fun with this 19.8-mile course with more climbing and turns than a real time trial would EVER have. That was half the fun, of course. Pics can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/strejo/sets/72157603174928659/. I came in 9th, with a time of 59:59 - just shy of an hour, which was what I was going for. I brought my Cervelo P2 out to play that day and it was great to use it one last time this year. I was so bummed that Dave, Jim and Tim all beat me by less than a minute, but it gave me something to shoot for next year. We
celebrated our success and our fun with breakfast afterward. It really was a great time!
The biggest surprise on the course was Mr. Fitness Journal himself standing at the top of the hill snapping photos of us as we crested the top. We had all been bummed that he wasn't showing up to participate in the ride, so it was great to see him out there, even if it wasn't in FJ gear riding with the rest of us. The next big surprise was the emails he sent out that followed - he made up a "magazine cover" for EACH of us and called it "Chris's Big Idea." He is so incredible and so creative! Mine looked like this:
Gotta love the "Swimsuit Issue" line. :)
November 3 - The first YMCA Spinning Instructor-led ride from SF to Tiburon and around to Corte Madera and back around to Mill Valley, Sausalito and SF. Otherwise known as "The Paradise Loop." This was a 46 mile ride and there were 3 YMCA Spinning Instructors, 4 spinning students from the YMCA, 3 Lombardi Sports Triathlon Team members, 5 Wine Country Velo cyclists, and a partridge in a....oh wait, never mind - that's next month. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, one of those rare days in the Bay Area where there wasn't a drop of fog, the temperature was just perfect and the sun was shining brilliantly even as we met up at 7:30 a.m. It turned out to be about a 3 hour ride but that was due to a lot of the City congestion we encountered, especially on the way back in. It was great to have such a big group riding together, and we really hammered it through certain parts.
I was thoroughly impressed by one of my students who NEVER rides outside and was really keeping up with the rest of us just fine, and totally kicked my butt up over one of the last big hills. I told him he should ride more often! The members who joined had a blast and were excited about doing it again. We're looking at Dec 8, though that's the day after my birthday so um...I don't know how excited I'll be about getting up early for a bike ride. My birthday just happens to fall on a Friday this year, which is even more reason to live it up. :)
Since then, I traveled to Minneapolis for work. I visited the Edina YMCA and took a yoga class there. It was incredible! I was totally sore the next day, which was a good thing. I also went for a beautiful jog through the Minnesota Valley National Refuge the day I got there (last Thursday). I left at 3:30 p.m. and as I was returning an hour later, it was absolutely freezing. I didn't expect the temperature to drop so significantly in that hour, especially before it got dark. Still, it was a nice jog and I saw a hawk fly above me across the meadow, which was neat.
And here I am...slow as a slug in swimming. I went last night for the 1.5 hour workout and my arms were killing me near the end. The funny thing is that I've done some lifting and yoga over the past couple of months, so it's not like my arms suddenly atrophied. However, when you're not swimming on a regular basis, no matter what else you're doing, you're going to slow down. So, I endured that, willing to swim more often over the next few weeks if I can. Wine Country Velo is having our last big hurrah this weekend, finishing with a picnic up at Sugarloaf State Park. I'm looking forward to that, though right now I can barely walk!
I did some plyometrics yesterday morning after my track run and I am SO SORE!!! One of the things I'm really resolving to do is more of those. I think they will really benefit my running and cycling, if I can just be consistent and do them about 2x/week.
I've tried to think more about my goals for next year. Of course, qualifying for Clearwater. But on a smaller scale, making little improvements. I want to really learn more about the training process and write about it as I learn so that it sticks with me. As I start my fourth year of triathlon next year, I want to train smarter than ever. I notice that with each year, it seems to become of increasing importance to really pay attention to the small details that go into training and tweak them just a little. Things I'm concerned with include:
-Nutrition is something I need to focus more on.
-Getting my bike fit just right.
-Adhering to a training schedule.
-Taking time to rest properly and not do 124 mile bike rides 8 days before my A race (sorry, John!).
-Knowing when not to ride with the group because it doesn't work well with my plan.
2008 will be here before we know it. Time to get crackin'!!
Enjoying the beauty of fall in Sonoma County...