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I Fought The Wind and The Wind Won

Posted Apr 23 2009 5:28pm
Saturday was a busy day for me - especially in the morning. It was busy, because I am in the midst of a battle between what I want to do and what I need to do, according to the program. I am torn between my weekend training routine. Since I had been training for the marathon, I've been running with the Pacers folks and really have enjoyed my weekend long runs with friends and company. However, my half program typically calls for a long bike on Saturday, followed by a run on Sunday. I sort of have a plan to negotiate my schedule, since the days are not set in stone on the half program, but let me get to the details of the day first and then I'll talk about the plan moving forward.

The program called for us to do our first baseline test - a cycling time trial, consisting of 30 minutes, recording speed and HR data for the last 20 of those minutes of riding all out to get a baseline of our anaerobic threshhold HR. I'll be honest though - since November, I have physically ridden my bike at a count of about the number of fingers I have on my hand (no not both - ONE hand). Of course there was that 4 week stretch in January when I was hurt and I went to spinning at the gym, but since then - zippy riding until this past week or so when it started to warm up above 50 degrees.

But back to the time trial. I got up at the crack of the morning and raced down to Haines Point for the flat setting perfect for a time trial. However, there were 2 problems: 1) Tourists trying to catch sunrise on the tidal basin for the cherry blossoms and 2) The Wind. Oh the wind. I quickly got set up and headed out for my warm up lap, before starting to trial. I was interested to see how I would measure, since I haven't done too much training (read: none), but felt I'd still be able to hold a high speed easily above 20 mph for only 30 minutes.

The west side of Haines point was more or less protected from winds cutting across the Potomac. It was more of a crosswind than anything else. Didn't impact my riding too much, other than a slight lean to balance out the breeze. That was until I hit the edge and began heading back the other way. Probably the stiffest headwind I've ever rode into. I was able to average about 21 mph on the west side, but my watch was showing speeds of 15-16 mph on the east side. I was literally leaning into the wind to keep from getting blown off the street! So much for the time trial. It still did yield me numbers to base my heart rate on, but certainly not the speeds I was hoping for. The other challenge was the battle with the cars driving along the road. Normally Haines Point is as desolate as they come. Around this time of year, tourists flock there and ride in their cars along the road. However, they ride at about 5 mph. I found myself lapping the same car twice, while also having to dodge others, who would just stop in the middle to snap some photos. Didn't exactly allow me to ride consistently hard the whole time, but it was close enough. Final numbers of the 20 minutes measured yielded me an average of just over 19 mph and an avg HR of 158. I have a feeling my next baseline test will provide a much faster speed, assuming I don't ride into a tornado, but the HR allows me to find my training zones for now.

Once I finished the ride, it was quick transition to lock up the bike on the bike rack, hop in the car to drive down onto the VA side of the Potomac and throw on my run gear with the run crew. I was only planning on doing 7 miles, since I knew my legs would be pretty trashed from riding hard for 30 minutes (and they were), but peer pressure sucks and I was guilted into running about 11 miles. The first 4 miles sucked as this was the first time I had run off the bike. Shortly after though, I was quite comfortable. And since I wasn't on windy Haines Point, the weather was quite nice for a run. And, to be able to ride hard at my max for 30 minutes and then go out and run a relatively quick paced 11 miles (with a lower HR than planned), was pretty encouraging.

I just know that as my triathlon training picks up, I'm going to have to change my training habits to fit the plan better. I am just starting the official training plan, so I won't be able to just do whatever too much longer. My possible compromise will be to swap bike and run workouts so I run on Saturday and ride on Sunday. The only issue is that a bunch of my tri group workouts will likely be on Saturday in direct conflict with the running group. I'll probably just alternate which group to do my group workouts with. It may just be a wait and see kinda thing. I'm starting to enjoy the group atmosphere for workouts more and more, although riding/running alone has its benefits too.

Anyways, let's just hope next time I decide to do a baseline test it isn't nearly as windy. And for that matter, anytime I plan to go for a ride, it better not be that windy.
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