What a fabulous weekend. Training, racing and spending time with friends and family. Karel, like many of his friends, training partners and teammates, are not "real pro's". They work real jobs (weekends included) and then squeeze in training with the rest of life. Karel likes to challenge himself and race at a higher level and I think that is admirable and something we should all strive for in life....always trying to be better and to not be afraid to get out of our comfort zone.
Karel and his boss Jeff make the time to train (Jeff is training for his first Ironman, IM Texas). For training/exercise is part of being in good health and when you are in good health, you are more happy, productive and overall, in better spirits. It's all about how you balance it all to maintain a sense of consistency in your life.
After working at the hospital on Fri, I picked up Karel at work at the Trek Store and we hit the road to my parents down in New Port Richey.
Saturday morning came quick but due to a few nights of not sleeping well (we watched my parents cats last week at our place) I had direct orders from coach/hubby that I needed to sleep in. Orders obeyed.
I was on my bike at 8am and it was time for a challenging bike... kudos to Karel I have no idea where he comes up with my workouts but they sure do work!
The wind was blowing and riding on the suncoast trail required that I had both mental and physical strength for this workout.
2 x 8 min w/ 2 min EZ
15 min w/ 2 min EZ
20 min w/ 2 min EZ
2 x 25 min w/ 4 min EZ
I had specific power zones for each part of this workout and the total ride was around 3hrs and 45 minutes. Miles were uploaded but I don't really focus on my distance. I download my data onto a free software program called Goldencheetah and then upload data onto Training Peaks for me and Karel to analyze.
After the bike came a 30 minute run. It was hot but my legs felt great. Sure, a bit wobbly during the first 4-5 minutes but it always gets better. Finished my run with a walk with Karel and Campy...sweaty, hot and ready for my Hammer FIZZ in water, a dip in the pool and a recovery meal w/ milk + whey protein.
During the day, Karel rested after his bike warm-up. I try to not talk to him much when he races the bigger races (On the National Racing Calendar - NRC) as he likes to get into his zone, but I'm always around if he needs anything. I'm the opposite at my Ironman races - I love to socialize, laugh, smile and be around lots of positive energy.
I have really worked with Karel on his race day nutrition for the evening crits so that he is comfortable racing for a long duration at such a high intensity, so late in the evening. He knows what works best for him but it is still all about experimentation based on the race course, time of the race, time of the year/weather and race distance.
For this race, Karel had as his "main" meals:
Breakfast post warm-up - milk + bagel + whipped chive cream cheese + eggs
Lunch - Brown rice + beans and tuna
A little bit of snacking but that's it..and it worked fantastic this time around. Karel does not like to have much food in his system before a crit but he does sip on sport drinks throughout the day and chooses more "sport" products in the 1-3 hours before the crit. Again, it's what works best for him and we've tried a lot of different things...I always make mental notes. I always make sure that he eats well on the days leading up to the race as I know that on race day, he will not be eating a lot of food, however his system is full of "fuel".
I was so excited to go to the race as it was the first year it was on the NRC list. The venue was packed with people and booths and I was so happy that several of my athletes (Gary, James, Jennifer, Stefanie) came to support Karel. I spotted several of our Gearlink friends and some other familiar faces in the crowd.
Karel drove seperately from me and my parents so that he could get his number and start getting ready. We arrived around 6pm and by that time, Karel was getting ready to get on his trainer to start flushing some lactic acid to get his legs ready for the race.
By 7:25pm...they were off!
This race was a bit shorter than other races but no less fast. 4 corners and several crashes but luckily, Karel dodged them all. Karel had a few Gearlink cat 1 riders on his team in this race and they all rode really well together. Knowing that the Gearlinkers are riding amongst a totally different caliber of riders, it was great to see them all out there, riding strong and confident.
I felt good about this race for Karel all day long and sometimes, I can just sense that he will do well. You never know in bike racing what the day will bring but I had a feeling this would be a great race for Karel.
Karel stayed near mid pack during the entire race and with over 90 starters, the field was getting smaller and smaller with every loop of the 80 minute race.
The field ended up getting lapped by 2 riders near the middle of the race but the entire race was filled with excitement. I absolutely love watching cycling as there are so many tactics involved between the different teams. My favorite announcer Chad with USA crits always explains the race very well so if you are ever able to watch a USA crit race, I recommend attending.
I was really excited to see Karel sprint for the finish as that is his speciality. He loves to sprint, unlike me who loves a steady effort..not too slow, not too fast. I suppose by now, Karel is teaching me how to suffer...
Karel had a great sprint and placed 28th with one of his teammates Eric S., placing 30th. Both guys earned a nice paycheck since the event payed 30 deep, which they then shared among the team for all the guys who finished.
Karel told me that he could have had a better finish but another rider got in his way and he wasn't able to move up much more during the sprint. Regardless, Karel was really pleased with the race and finished the race, craving for more.
Well, 2 more weeks and we are off to North Carolina for the Charlotte Twilight downtown Crit and then it all leads up to the notorious Athens Twilight Criterium in downtown Athens Georgia. Then...a break for Karel and it is time for me to race some Tri's!
We will both be back in the Clearwater area on April 22nd as I will be racing in the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater, Florida and later that afternoon, Karel will be racing a Florida Series race in downtown New Port Richey.
Life is good...can't complain. I do enjoy resting as much as I enjoy this on-the-go lifestyle. It's all about balance...and lots of restful sleep!
On sunday morning as Karel was watching the Tour de Flanders, I had a 1 hour easy spin followed by my 1 hour and 45 min long run. I warmed up for 4 miles and then it was time for the main set:
4 x 12 min (7:32 min/mile pace, 7:26 min/mile pace, 7:25 min/mile pace, 7:32 min/mile pace) w/ 2 min EZ jog/walk.
Talk abou a main set! But good thing I had a lot of motivation, adrenaline and positivity after seeing Karel suffer for 80 minutes on Saturday evening. I always seem to have amazing workouts when Karel races.
Do you ever get inspired by watching other people race?
Performing beautifully, wearing my Oakley Women Overtime shades, Fly fleece hoodie and convert tank. No outfit is complete without Campy at my side.
Karel looking strong...
...fueled by plants!