3/23/08

Training and Racing

I've had a really busy week so my apologies to my blog readers. Karel and I took a quick trip to Jacksonville and I will post about that trip shortly. Training has been going really really really well. I emphasize really well because compared to where I was a couple months ago, I'm seeing great improvements. I'm feeling strong and consistent. Getting my speed back has been progressive but overtime I slowly see improvements. On saturday morning Karel and I needed to leave at 8:30am for his race in Webster. I really wanted to get a run in so I set the alarm for 5:30am, had my coffee and a piece of toast w/ PB and a little banana and I was out the door at 6:00am. I do not like running in the dark and 6am is a little scary for me to run outside. I do not like to take my chances training outside or in unsafe conditions. I put on my RunnerID ankle band and told Karel my route. Although I run on the pinellas trail through Dunedin, there are a couple dark places and I just don't like zoning out when I can't really see where I am going. Well, I had my radio on and the moon was keeping it a bit light out and slowly the sun was rising. I enjoyed listening to my footsteps and not hearing any cars and after about 10 minutes of running I was pleasently greated by many other early-morning runners on the trail. Finally, I could start to zone out. The plan was 12 miles and I did just that. It was a slow 12 miles but it went by fast. I ran for just about an hour and 40 minutes and as I was coming back home Karel was packing his racing stuff in the car. It was a quick hi and then i was in the shower to clean myself up. I made myself my breakfast, ate it in the car and after a grocery and starbucks stop we were on our way to webster. In about 90 minutes we arrived at the race site but just like last year, you are riding on back roads of only gravel, you feel completely lost and then all of a sudden, you see a field full of cars and cyclists. Karel has had a really tough training week, with several big GA cup races behind him so he knew this would be a tough race. The race consisted of a dirt road section which takes the life out of you to just hold on to the handlebars and just kills your butt bouncing up and down. The race started at 11:30, 12 loops and was 180KM! Karel only needed one extra water bottle since he carried 3 on his bike (2 on the frame, 1 on the jersey) and I had a successful water bottle toss around lap 5 or 6. Karel had a really great race and ended up 14th. He was a little bummed because he was 5th last year but he is racing really strong and consistent this year and it is very early in the season. He had to remind himself that he doesn't want to peak right now so after a quite ride home of me driving and him thinking about his race, he had good self-talk conversation that his place in the race was just fine. It is tough in cycling (as oppose to triathlons) because you are racing for places. You can have a great race with a fast pace but if you get dropped or you finish in a chase group, you are finishing at least 10th place or above. But if you can hang on to just one break you have the chance to place top 10 or even top 5. Cycling is a very exhausting sport both mentally and physically and although I always think Karel does great, I know he really hung in hard to finish that race. A lot of people didn't finish and after 4 hours and 18 minutes, Karel crossed the finish line. I was proud of him for not quiting the race. I had to smile when he finished because you see all the Pro 1,2 guys (and everyone else) just covered in dirt. You can see lines from the helmet and their jersey and bibs and the bikes are just covered in dirt. Well, I think it was a great race for Karel and after he slept on it (and woke up incredibly sore) he is ok with his finish. This morning I woke up early as Karel recovered and I was out the door at 6:30am on the my bike. Again, a great workout where I felt good. 60 miles on the bike and followed it with a 4 mile run (8:30 pace). I was a little slow starting the run but after 2 miles I felt a little more comfortable. Well, I will enjoy the rest of the day...studying and eating :) and hanging out with my very tired and sore Karel. Happy Easter to those celebrating the holiday and for everyone, enjoy your sunday!