My last official KONA "recovery" (week 11 of Kona specific training) ended with an early morning run with Jennifer on Sun morning.
I had 1hr and 40 min to workout in order to quickly shower and get ready to hit the road with Karel and his teammate Rad. Although we started our workout at 6am and I didn't leave until 8:30, I am always mindful of what I CAN do and not what I CAN'T do. Sure, I could have skipped the warm-up bike and just went for my normal Sun long run but I haven't ran a single run with my Kona training, without biking before the run. Sure, I could have ran 2-3 extra miles to get in a full 2 hour workout but I am mindful that my "training" doesn't stop when my cardio is complete. Stretching and doing my hip exercises count as "training" and I find it most beneficial to my training to make the time for my exercises and stretching my back. Because I strive on consistency, I'd rather cut a workout short due to time constraints and make time for the "rehab" post-workout, rather than putting in a few extra miles or laps.
With Karel's last Florida Cup race being a 75-mile road race in windy and hilly Ocala, I was super excited to watch him race in order to keep his 2nd place status in the Florida Cup Pro 1,2 point series. Karel had raced on Sat (60 miles) but I stayed in Jacksonville with Jennifer who was visiting me from Lakeland. Karel was a little bummed on Sat that he missed the break on Sat, so I knew he would be fighting hard on Sunday, no matter how bad it hurt....and for most of his races, it always hurts.
With only limited time to train, I decided that my brick would be most beneficial if I warmed up on the bike and then did a quick interval run. I don't see the point of "recovery" runs in order to rest the body, because if I truely needed a recovery workout I would have just biked... or better yet, just taken the day off. However, Karel wanted me to shake up my legs as I approach my last "fine tuning" week of training so after an early 6am, one hour bike (outside, with our lights) to spin our legs, we got ready for a quick run.
After warming up 1 mile, we jogged for a few minutes and started the main set:
4 x .4 miles w/ .1 walk recovery.
Knowing that Jennifer is a great runner, I wanted a little push so I asked her to pace me around 7 min/miles, which would be a bit speedy for my IM legs.
With 18 days until Kona, I can't express how much I have loved my training. As an exercise physiologist, I think of my body and training as an ongoing science experiment....however, in real life setting. By focusing on practical physiological adaptations that will affect my performance, I do not focus on miles but rather what I am putting in those miles in order to change the physiology of the body.
I have to admit, in my first 3 IM's I was always excited to taper and stop the high volume training. I was always really tired of the long miles and looked forward to 3 weeks of "taper" (aka low volume). However, this year is extremely different as I am still fresh with an endurance-trained body that is craving some speed. I love seeing the gains in performance that come from respecting my body, having a healthy relationship with food and being consistent with what I CAN do on a daily basis.
Because our performance is the accumulation of weeks and months of training, it is important to recognize that when your body goes out for a x-mile/hour bike, run or swim, you are not just "doing the miles" but rather improving factors that may limit OR enhance performance. Because I want to make the most of every training session, I recognize the adaptations that take place within every workout. While we may not be able to quantify or recognize all the benefits of training, hopefully by race day you will recognize that you have made a significant or even just a little (which in some cases-like power-, is a great thing!)impact on power, lactate threshold, economy, substrate utilization, muscle fiber characteristics as well as adaptations to your respiratory, cardiovascular and muscuuloskeletal systems.
On to the run....
Without looking at my Garmin throughout the interval, I glanced at it with around .2 miles to go and noticed that we were flying. I was simply running at a controllable pace but with the windy blowing in all directions, I was focusing really hard on pacing myself throughout the intervals. With two intervals out and two intervals back, I couldn't believe the speed in my legs.
Stats from the run:
Mile 1: 8:23
4 x .4 mile intervals (each interval was around 2.5 minutes. Rest was around 80 sec)
1) 6:30 min/mile pace
2) 6:18 min/mile pace
3) 6:30 min/mile pace
4) 6:02 min/mile pace)
Warm-down mile: 8:15 min/mile pace
After the run, stretching was in full effect, followed by a yummy smoothie and a quick cold shower.
Campy and I had a blast at Karel's race. It was super windy and a bit overcast but luckily, I was able to feed all the Gearlink cyclists in the Pro 1,2 and Cat 3 category at the feed zone. Over the past few years I have mastered my skills in the feed zone and I know the guys just love a cold sport drink or water when they are racing at their max.
Karel managed to get in the breakaway group in the first loop and with 4 x 15 mile loops to go, he was looking strong. Each loop was taking around 36 min (15 miles) and I knew the race was fast and hard.
With 1 lap to go, I was excited to see Karel sprint for the finish. I certainly know that with cycling races, the finish can be an exciting and scary time. With a long straight-away, I could see the Pro 1,2 guys sprinting into some crazy head wind. Karel was pushing with all he had and squeezed onto the podium in 3rd place.
After Karel rolled across the line, he quickly ended up on the grass...as did most of the other riders. I could see it in Karel that the race was really tough. Despite it being a super windy day, the guys did the 75 mile race in less than 2 hours and 50 minutes (according to my watch). WOW!
The best part of the day was Karel looking around for the 1st place guy in the Pro 1,2 Florida Cup point series to see where he finished. Surprisingly, he didn't finish the race! What a shock to Karel and the other Gearlinkers that Karel moved into 1st place and won the Florida Cup Pro 1,2 Point series for the 2nd year in a row!!
Congrats Karel and the rest of the Gearlinkers for some solid racing this season. Next weekend we head to Bartow for the Sat night criterium which starts at 9pm!