I was really looking forward to this past weekend...for some time now. A long-awaited "vacation" for me involving running and cycling...and no racing :)
Karel fully enjoyed this "vacation" while we were in Kona. He played, I raced.
This time around, it was Karel's turn to race in the Florida Cycling State Road Race Championship in Clermont, FL while I entertained myself on the bike and with my running shoes.
A big special thanks to our friends Kim and Kevin Grogan (owners of Gear Multisport) for letting us stay in their beautiful waterfront condo, on Lake Minneola. Campy was able to join us for this fun weekend which was a lot of fun to have him around. My best friend Jennifer even joined me for a workout on Sunday morning and kept me company during Karel's race on Sunday afternoon.
After a quick 2 hr and 15 minute drive to Clermont (just outside Orlando), late Friday evening, we were ready for a good night of sleep. Saturday morning came, as did a few light rain showers and lots of wind.
I was eager to get in a run before a morning of supporting my hubby at the Masters 35+ Road Race, so I warmed up my legs for a quick 20 minute ride on my tri-bike and by 7:30 I was ready to run.
Clermont is not only known for great "hill" training (especially the notorious Sugarloaf Mountain) but also for it's trails. I was able to stay on the Lake Minneola Scenic Trail for both my bike and my run and enjoyed a beautiful scenery as I did a quick speed set.
Due to time, I made sure I got in a quality workout as I am starting to get back into structured training. I'm totally enjoying every moment and I really enjoy the huge decrease in volume.
My run set on Sat morning1 mile warm-up: 8:05 min/mile pace
Main set4 x .25 mile (~1:30-1:35) w/ 30 sec walk recovery
1) 6:37 min/mile pace
2) 6:18 min/mile pace
3) 6:18 min/mile pace
4) 6:06 min/mile pace
1 mile tempo - 7:48 min/mile pace
4 x .25 mile (~1:30-1:35) w/ 30 sec walk recovery
1) 6:16 min/mile pace
2) 6:18 min/mile pace
3) 6:23 min/mile pace
4) 6:27 min/mile pace
Total: 36 minutes
Average pace 7:53 min/mile
I totally ran out of juice in the last set but that's the whole point of interval training. Keep the intervals short, give yourself just enough recovery to expire CO2 and you gradually reap the benefits of increasing the lactate threshold.
Although I enjoyed a refreshing rain shower during my run, the wind made it a bit tough so I did several out and backs in order to make sure the workout was as consistent as possible. After the workout, I cleaned myself up, had a recovery drink, stretched my hips and back, rubbed my favorite cream (FLEX POWER) on my lower back and hips and drove w/ Karel down the road for the start of the 35+ Masters State Road Race.
Karel was really looking forward to this weekend. I suppose it was mixed feelings since the season has been incredibly long. With the awards banquet in the evening, Karel had nothing to prove at this race but wanted to give his all as he knew he had a little bit of suffering left in his body.
Karel explained to me after the race that although the race was 35+ and NOT his typical Pro 1,2 race, the age-specific race on Sat may as well have been a Pro 1,2 race. All the big boys were out to play on Saturday and with the wet roads (luckily it was overcast and the rain had stopped) and wind, the race was incredibly hard.
The race was 9 x 7-mile loops, with each loop taking around 16-17 minutes. The guys were moving! The course involved no flat roads and included a few brutal climbs (per Karel). There was a two man break and Karel managed to get up to the break but he told me that the guys kept attacking and attacking, trying to get Karel dropped from their wheel. Finally, Karel couldn't take the suffering and eased up to meet the main field. Karel drafted in the middle for a while, tucking himself in in order to rest. I managed to be 100% on my bottle tosses at the feed zone and handed Karel 2 or 3 bottles to make sure he stay hydrated.
Karel told me that with around 3-4 laps to go, the pace got crazy fast and half of the field just exploded. The field was increasingly smaller than the start of the race and I suppose, only the strong survived. Karel said that his left leg (which has been giving him some trouble due to cramping from being tight) started to bother him incredibly bad and he felt as if he was pedaling with only one leg for almost 2 whole laps!!
I am not sure how he did it but he managed to tough it up and overcome the pain of the race and with the 2 man break staying away until the very end, Karel sprinted with the field and ended up winning the field sprint - placing 3rd in the 35+ Masters State Road Race Championship. Way to go Karel...in one HARD race!!!
After relaxing/resting for the rest of the day at the condo, it was time for the awards banquet. Karel and the Gearlink team did exceptionally well this season. Talk about stealing the show!! We ended up taking a pic of all of the awards that the Gearlink athletes received. A big congrats to Karel (aka - TriMarni hubby) for a fantastic 2011 cycling season!! With unstoppable drive and determination (both in sport, work and in life), Karel finished the season as Pro 1,2 Florida Cup series champion (for the 2nd year in a row), placed 3rd in Pro 1,2 Crown series and 2nd in Masters 35+ Crown series.
Karel was walking slow on Sat evening, as well as on Sunday morning.I suppose I could only empathize a little as I don't know how Karel manages to tough it up for two consecutive days of racing. More so, rather than the typical road race + crit race weekend (on separate days), Sunday included another road race of 10 x 7 mile laps on the same course.
Jennifer and I started our morning around 7:45 with 2 loops on the trail, which included 40 minutes of ups and downs and a little flat riding. We had a great time catching up and enjoying the morning on our bikes. We ended up riding around 1 hour and 35ish minutes and then headed back to the lake for a tempo run.
Although we were chatting and enjoying the cool, windy weather, we managed to keep a great pace. Jennifer has a great way of pushing me when I run and I always enjoy her company.
We squeezed in 4.13 miles in 32 minutes (7:46 min/mile pace)
(7:51, 7:35, 7:52, 7:43)
and quickly got ready to head to the race. Karel ended up driving separately so he could get warmed up. Sunday was the category day for the championships so Karel raced in the Pro 1,2 category (he is a cat 1 rider).
Sunday was really windy and the sun was out. It was a bit warmer than Saturday so I was sure to make sure that Karel stayed hydrated. Once again, I was 100% on my bottle tosses so that made me happy that Karel was able to drink as he wanted. He typically brings along three bottles so I don't plan on feeding him until he reaches the first hour. I find my spot so Karel knows where to find me but sometimes he doesn't need a bottle. However, I am always there, ready to pass him a bottle and sometimes, his teammate ends up grabbing it instead. In cycling, the guys often share bottles in the case that a teammate misses a bottle or doesn't have anyone to feed him.
By the 8th loop, it looked as if a bomb went off. I thought that there was a crash because the field instantly split in half. However, according to Karel after the race, there was so much attacking going on that the pace got crazy fast on one of the toughest parts of the course.
I was so proud for staying in the race because I could tell that he was fighting really hard not to quit. His body was completely tired and drained from over 9 months of racing and I had a feeling that he was dreaming about a beer and riding his mountain bike on Tues morning.
Karel ended up not sprinting, although looking back, he wishes he would have just tried to give it something. However, he said he had nothing left in his body so I think he is really happy with 11th place in the Pro 1,2 state road race championships.
What a fantastic season...I am so proud of Karel for balancing work as the general manager of the Trek Bicycle Stores of Jacksonville as well as continuing to have the fire to race in cycling events, with cyclists who choose to race as a full-time profession..or are 5 to 10 years younger than him.
Karel sported his compression calf sleeves for the first time at a cycling race. Apparently, the cycling world still considers compression a "triathlete" thing. Well, Karel was not afraid to wear compression, especially since we know the many benefits of wearing compression while training. I guess we will see if the cyclists figure out our (triathlete) secret of postponing fatigue, reducing risk of injury and maximizing performance gains.
Thanks to Michelle Blake and James Ellis Gunter for the amazing pics!! They always do a fantastic job capturing the (painful) great moments in the race.
As for Karel's off-season...I will be designing Karel's strength training program to help him improve his power and speed throughout the off-season. Karel and myself do a lot of plyometrics, circuits and strength training in order to maximize our time and to ensure gradual physiological gains throughout the next few months. We also enjoy this time of the year because we can train/exercise together and our schedules are a lot more flexible as far as when and how much we need/want to train. I feel lucky that although we have different passions, we have a similar lifestyle of enjoying the outdoors and moving our body.
So, apparently I missed the memo but I guess it is customary to buy yourself a new bike when it is your off-season.
Karel is gushing over his new Top Fuel MTB. He bought the frame and used his old bike parts and finished it up yesterday. He said the internal cabling was a little tricky. However, it looks super nice now that it is all together!
BTW - who puts carbon XXX race wheels on a MTB??
...only Karel :)