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A run, a swim and a bike ride. But mostly, a run!

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:07am
Saturday was the Team's long run for the season. For those of us training for the Olympic length Pacific Grove Tri, the schedule was to run no more than 7 miles. For those of us who hadn't run in the past several weeks, that looked daunting. And by "us" I mean me.

I received permission from my physical therapist to run. He said something like "you can run blah blah blah blah" and since I didn't really hear the "blah blah" I didn't worry about it. Oh fine, he said I could run as long as I took it easy and stopped if my back began to hurt. But mostly, he said I could run. So run I did indeed.

Seven miles, which was 7 miles more than I'd run in longer than I can remember. We ran along the Iron Horse Trail from Dublin heading north. A pretty boring part of the trail, in full sunlight, but I didn't care. It was running. To celebrate I decided to try to run without any walk breaks. I ran continuously until the light at Bollinger Canyon, about 2-3/4 miles. I felt pretty good. I continued to run to the turn-around at 3-1/2 miles, then took a walk break while I sucked down some Gu. I ran back to the light, waited for it to change, then ran to the water stop at about the 5 mile mark.

My back felt not too painful, my knee was hurting just a little, but I was very tired and my legs were getting flat. I added in a couple of walk breaks and finished my 7 miles feeling hot, nauseous, sore and thrilled that I was running again. I'll be happy if I can run the tri in that much time and only feel as crappy as I did yesterday.

This morning was our field trip to the kelp-y cove in Pacific Grove where we'll be swimming in just a few weeks. I had dreaded this, afraid that my freak-out factor would send me over the edge. I drove down to Monterey early in the morning with my sis and bro-in-law and arrived at Lover's Point about 8:30 am. I met up with the team and we gazed at the Bay. And at the big old sea lion lounging in the water, waiting for us to go for a swim. We all squeezed into our wetsuits, to the vast amusement of my family. Then we headed to the beach and into the water. It was -- uh -- icky. That's really the only way to describe swimming in that stuff. The kelp was clingy, and scratchy, and smelly, and everywhere.
That's kelp all over the place in the picture. We swam out and through it and along it and yuck. Whenever I'd put my head in the water I'd get a face full of the stuff. I'd swim and it attached itself to my arms, or legs, or head. I tried pulling myself through it and that actually worked. But overall, the swim will be a challenge. The course is a double loop so we have to leave the water, run along the beach, re-enter the water and swim the loop again. Then we run up some steps (whose bright idea was that?), along a ramp and over to the transition area. I know I'll do fine, know that I'll get it done, but I'm not really looking forward to it.

We didn't swim too long, then we headed back to our cars and our bikes. We all rode out along the route, a 6+ mile out-and-back that we'll be riding 4 times in the tri. It's flattish, with a couple of steep grades (or small hills) and will get pretty boring by the last time around. I only rode it twice, although most of the group went for 3 times. I was cold, and tired, and didn't really see the need for continuing.

So I've been over the entire course. I've run the run part of the race several times, both during a race (the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay ) and during a leisurely run. It was supposed to incorporate part of the trail but it looks like that part will also be on the street since the trail is torn up for repair or reconstruction. I've ridden the bike portion twice and run it a few times, and swam in the icky water.

My prediction is a finish in 4:20-4:30. I know it's slow, but the only part I'm really certain of is the bike ride which I know will be just over 2 hours. My first transition will be long because my feet and hands and face will be frozen and it'll take me forever to run up the steps, not to mention ripping off the wetsuit and putting on my cycling gear. I know I won't finish the run any faster than 1:14, more likely 1:20 if I'm as tired as I think I'll be. I'm thinking about 45 minutes for the swim, but if I freak out it'll be longer and if I just settle in it'll be much less. There's no doubt that I will finish, I'm way too determined and committed (and stubborn) to not get through it.

Man, I wish it were over.
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