continuing with my theme of breaking up the winter doldrums by doing fun
training and racing things, I raced an indoor time trial this past weekend.
first time I did one of the races in this local indoor TT series was back in
January of 2002. That’s further proof
that I’ve been doing this stuff a really
long time. I might have done one
earlier but I don’t even know if they kept records way back then. I remember racing at races where there were
no timing chips. Just some kid with a
pencil, a clipboard and a stopwatch writing down your number.
This really happened.
a local cycling club that puts on an indoor time trial series in a nearby
school. Historically these have not been
my favorite events. First of all, they
really really hurt. Bad. Second of all, they tend to favor a bigger
rider who can put down massive power without worrying about carrying themselves
up a hill or dissipating heat. Third, it
is like performing on a stage. You race,
in a bank of Computrainers with 5 other riders with people watching behind
you. Like last year when the announcer
said let’s see if Liz Waterstraat can
bike as well as she blogs. Nothing
like a little added pressure. And,
fourth, they hurt. I think I already
said that but it’s worth repeating.
night before, I thought about what I was going to do in the race. This is one of those “tricks” that can make
anyone – regardless of age, fitness, ability – race faster. THINK IT THROUGH, people! Take the time to write out a timeline with
some plans. First of all, you need a
plan because when you’re in the race moment, suffering, you need to know what
you’re going to do. Don’t leave it to your mind to decide because at that
moment you’re body is screaming to your mind: WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL
ME! Have a plan! Know what to say! Focus on things to distract yourself from
that pain! This plan becomes automatic,
no thinking- just DO! I always include when I need to wake up, eat,
what I’m eating, warm up details, time of warm up. And then I write out 3 things I either want
to remember or accomplish during the race.
I do this for every race, no matter how small! After all, the small ones set you up for
having good bigger ones. Use those
opportunities! Then, save those notes
and review them so you have a record of what works/what doesn’t work to use for
got a few good tips from Chris and Kurt and then looked back at my notes from
last year. This would be a rolling 10K
course. Done correctly, my wattage would
be well above threshold. Last year, I
set my all time personal power best at this distance. My goal this year was to get within 5 watts
from that. Taking some advice from Kurt,
I knew in the last 3-5 minutes, I needed to throw it into the 53x12, stand and
put down as much power as possible. Plan
in hand, I packed up and set out.
on my way to overcaffeination, I arrived at the school way too early only to
have to sit on the cafeteria floor for about an hour suffering through the
worst ever assembled playlist. When you
have Elvis, polka and Shakira in the same playlist, you need an iTunes intervention. I ate second breakfast which meant my blood
was running caffeine and carbohydrate.
Time to warm up.
minutes later (the harder & shorter the event, the longer the warm up), it
was time. First off – get weighed. I haven’t been weighing myself lately because
after IVF, I was having a really hard time dropping weight. Not surprisingly, the harder I tried, the
more stubborn the weight got until I started to make drastic changes, dropped a
few pounds but then got sick. Ding ding
ding! The moron bell sounded and I knew
it was time to stop weighing myself.
Haven’t been on the scale since. So when I stepped on the scale, I said to the
girl do not tell me how much I weigh.
out the hardest thing I did today was keeping myself from dropping that card in
the next 10 minutes to reveal the weight.
It was tough but I nailed it.
sat around watching the guys before me finish up. I recognized the guy who’s won these things
for years. Someone was congratulating
him and asking how he did it: I just try to keep my watts up on the
downhills. So I listened. Goal: push as hard as possible on every
turn. On to the Computrainer. I successfully look away when the guy enters
in our weights and instead look around at my competition. I may just be the only one under age 40
here. All cyclists, wearing their
designated team kits and riding road bikes.
In the entire gymnasium, I am the only one with a time trial bike, the
only one not wearing a kit, the only one who does not appear to be
means in the world of cycling, I am a (COMPLETE TRI DORK!) … winner.
reminds me, late last night, Kurt sent me an email:
OUT AND WIN THE TT.
I got it, I laughed. I sat down ready to
craft some logical response about all of the factors that were against me (I’m
small, I’m a triathlete, some Pro 1/2 girl will probably win). Then I realized Kurt could really give a
shit, none of those were good reasons for not winning but were great
excuses. At that moment, I putting
winning in my realm of possibility.
Which was kind of a big thing. I
never go to these things trying to win.
But why not? I’m fit. I’m strong.
Why hold back? Goal: go after it and gut yourself.
calibrate and then get a countdown. I
turned up my music. LOUD.
first I just
looked at the screen to anticipate the grades of the hills. Going up, watch your cadence. Going down, pedal like hell. My power was high. In the first 3 minutes I was well, as in
40-50 watts, above threshold. Don’t
think about it. Ignore it and keep
pushing. I would either blow up at 10 minutes
or set a new power best.
minutes feels like forever but I notice something happening….I am pulling ahead
of the men. I am in fourth
position. I get fired up to maintain it,
work harder, dear god power is still really high, is this really happening? It doesn’t feel impossibly hard but it’s
certainly not easy. But the rising heat
in my head tells me that this might have been caffeine speaking. It’s really hard, I’m just not fully feeling it.
minutes down, I’m still in 4th and rocking on my saddle. In a rhythm – I LOVE THIS PLACE. This rhythm of hurt I call it. Where it feels like a few watts short of death
but you can’t escape it. You don’t want
to. You find out about yourself in these
moments. Everything becomes very real.
downhills are getting harder so I give myself 5 seconds to spin easy and catch
my breath after each one. If swimming
has taught me anything, it’s the ability to recover in under 5 seconds. Any swimmer knows that 10 seconds on the wall
is an ETERNITY! I’m approaching the 5
mile mark and realize – a little over a mile to go, watts are still holy shit
high but don’t think too hard about it, just keep going after it.
the hill. I knew my plan: throw it into
the 53x12, stand up and put out as much power as possible. The hill gets steeper but I’m stomping out high power, not afraid any more.
It’s only .3 miles to go.
.2. .1. PUSH IT!
I hit the 10K mark, I felt spent. One of
the workers said that was a violent
effort! I’m glad you noticed because
it really, really felt like that: VIOLENT! I went into it with no idea what time it would take but it turns out, I had the best time of the day.
think I was out of breath for the next 10 minutes of cool down. I took a look at my power – 10 watts above
what I did last year and nearly 40 seconds faster. I am ELATED.
And don’t kid yourself: this was NOT easy. It’s certainly not because I’m doing “magical”
workouts. Nor that I’m talented, gifted,
lucky….NONE of that. I finally – FINALLY
– after 11 years of doing these damn things – decided to GO AFTER IT. Decided to stop reading notes from the races
that said need to push harder, need to
give it more at the end. Decided to
give it an ALL OUT WINNING EFFORT.
about that for yourself: what does
that type of effort feel (and look) like?
up, the three other fastest women of the day went. One was a long time Pro 1/2 rider, another
was Jennifer and the last was another Pro 1/2 gal who won the last TT. Poor Jennifer had to go into this race after two days of me trash talking her on Facebook, in texts and finally in person
before her race. But it paid off. She also set a new time and power best. Jen and the other woman went within .6
seconds of my time. The other beat
didn’t win – but I know – from what I downloaded from my Quarq, what I felt in
my legs but more importantly what my GUT was telling me – I truly did give it
my best. Think about that. When you are supposed to go nearly 20 minutes
as hard as you can, are you really doing that?
Are you finishing with the thought that you could have gone harder? Is it taking you at least 10 minutes to catch
your breath? It’s taken me a long, LONG
time to really understand what HARD is.
It is NOT a number. In fact, if
it was, I would have settled about 20 watts lower, right around my last bike
test threshold. So was that last bike
test REALLY hard? No it was not. This was.
Think of how much untapped potential you have sitting in your head and
muscles. WHEN are you finally going to
use that? It’s a choice. Obviously not in every workout but in these
key opportunities, you’ve got to flip that switch, turn it up and go after it –
no great effort comes without a cost. My
back had been sore for a few days. You
see, after doing a MONSTER swim and then going back to daily life as superhero
mom able to lift 30-pound son in and out of carseat and crib multiple times a
day – my back barked back. And when I
put my bike into the car, it barked again.
In fact, it barked for the rest of the night, waking me up at 2 am in
trip to my A.R.T. guy the next day confirmed that muscles deep in my back are
tight and inflamed. It wasn’t even from
the swimming. It was from rolling out
the soreness from swimming and lifting.
As you can imagine, when I do something, I do it full force. And I should probably never be allowed to
touch a foam roller or TP therapy ball again.
I didn’t just roll. I cranked on
it. Sometimes I am my own worst
prescription: no swimming. Yeah, I’m
crying chlorinated tears about that. Unfortunately,
this thwarts my dreams of outdoor LCM in Florida. Frustrating but resting those muscles and
getting the treatment needed is much better than risking something much bigger.
In 20+ years of running and sports, I
have been injured once (2003: piriformis for 3 months – or the 3 months that Liz
spent NOT sitting). I’d like to keep
that record going if possible!
far NOT picking up my son to move him around, especially in situations with a
time constraint, has proved to be a little like herding cats. Or, a little like this: