How much can you pack in one day? Today was a mission to find out. Naturally, it started with a few bumps and bruises. I pulled up to the pool for 7:15am practice and there were no cars to be found. What? I know it’s my first week back to class, but I KNOW practices were on Sundays at 7:15am. Where the heck was everyone? Maybe they cancelled because of all of the storms. Frustrated because my morning was already off track, I decided to drive to Barton Springs Pool to get my swim accomplished. I wanted to do this one way or another! This would at least allow me to put on my wetsuit and practice my open water swimming. I pulled up to Barton Springs and saw a few other cars and human beings milling about looking fit and athletic. I mentioned before that this is a great meeting point for the tri-types because you have access to open water, the jogging trail and a decent bike lane all from one point.
I got out of my car and a guy in spandex told me that the pool was flooded and it would be closed for the next few hours. Ugghhh!! Ughhh!! It was 7:45am and two attempts at swimming had been shot down. Well hell. Now what? Part of me wanted to chunk it and just head to Austin Java Co. for some morning brew. It was an ominous morning with lots of mist and fog. I remembered that I had my bike stuff in my trusty Element because I was going to bike AFTER swim class. I grabbed MY spandex and jersey and headed to the ladies locker room to change outfits from bathing suit to Lance wanna-be. As I walked out the same spandex-clad guy remarked that I was prepared for any sport! You bet I am…I began what turned into a 3 hr ride and over 43 miles.
Now, I love riding with others, but today I was glad to be by myself (even though it’s not recommended in cycling). My legs were a little trashed from yesterday’s double brick workout so I wasn’t sure what I had in me today. It turns out that I had more than I imagined. I wasn’t sure how far I would get as it looked like it was only a matter of time before it would start pouring down rain. My sunglasses would fog up occasionally with mist. I was feeling many things during my ride…Frustration at first because my schedule had been altered. I really wanted to swim this morning. Too late now. Shut up and pedal. About 5 miles into the ride, I got slightly nervous because I realized I had left my cell phone at home. Don’t you hate that paralyzing fear of forgetting your phone? I almost detoured and rode by my house, but remembered that my house keys were back in the car. I said a not-so-silent prayer for a safe ride. I did have some money, my ID and all the necessary tools to change a flat. Plus, I was riding on well-traveled roads. I’d be OK if something went wrong.
Because of the fog, I stuck to roads that had wide shoulders and/or plenty of room for cars to get by me. Four cyclists have been struck on Austin roads lately so I’m trying to ride as defensively as possible. That’s another reason to have a buddy with you. After an hour or so, I was starting to get into the groove as my mind settled in to the ride. I took a power gel for energy. Try as I might, I couldn’t avoid hills today. In fact, it seems that I went out of my way to find them…Southwest Parkway, Barton Creek Road, Bee Caves Road…All are known for their climbs (as well as a few descents). My legs were sore about halfway into the ride. I could feel the remnants of yesterday combined with the climbs of today. It wasn’t comforting knowing that I was doing an out-and-back and I’d be facing the same hills in reverse. My Half-Ironman course is FLAT…Why am I torturing myself?? I reminded myself that you’re hard-pressed to find flat roads in Austin. Like it or not, there are hills to climb. I even entertained the idea of walking the hills if my knees started getting sore. OK—I know I’m running low on energy if I’m thinking about walking the hills. Snap out of it girlie. I took another another Clif Shot at 2 hours into the ride. One more hour. You can do this! Lots of other cyclists on Bee Caves this morning. I took comfort knowing I wasn’t the only fool. My power gel kicked in and I got the elevation that I needed. Suddenly, my inner voice changed her tune and I felt strong again. Thank goodness for calories and carbs (I wish I ALWAYS felt that way!!) The rest of the ride was strong. I realized that I was actually going to make it back to my car with 15 minutes to spare. Well since I planned on a 3-hr ride, I was going to get one, damn it! I turned off a side road and took a little diversion. I road by Taco Shack. The breakfast tacos smelled delicious. Keep riding. I pulled back into Barton Springs Parking lot with 5 minutes to spare so I spent the next few minutes just doing bike sprints in the parking lot at a high cadence. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!!!
43.17 miles in 3 hrs (14.3 mph). Not bad for the hills...
I wanted nothing more than to soak in the 68 degree pool to soothe my muscles, but it was still closed. What’s a girl to do?? Well, I quickly packed up my bike, slipped on my running shoes and went for a 3 mile run on the trail. It’s always amazing how ssssllloooowwwwww you feel when you begin a run from the bike. It’s almost funny to watch because you’re actually stiff and you’re trying to figure out how to lift your legs. By the same token, I’m always amazed at how fast my pace actually is off the bike. Even though it feels awkward and uncoordinated, my muscles are already warm and my HR is already elevated. I looked at my watch and I was running 8 minute miles…Not bad for just finishing a 3-hr punishing bike ride. I slowed it down just a tad and ended up running 3 miles in 25 minutes (8:18 pace). I ended back at my car once again and bought a big water and a diet coke from the snack bar where I proceeded to find the nearest picnic table and stretch for about 15 minutes. Man I felt good, although I was still a little regretful for missing a swim workout. Hey, it wasn’t like I didn’t try! At one point on the bike ride, I entertained the idea of swimming later in the afternoon, but I decided that it wasn’t in my best interest. My body and mind are tired. I’ll swim an extra day this week to make up for it. It’s ok. Besides, the swim takes the LEAST amount of time during a triathlon. It’s best to work the bike and run because that’s where you can make up (or lose) huge chunks of time.
Buzzing off the energy from this morning’s workout, I proceeded to turn this day into a day of errands that I’ve been putting off…I went home and chuckled to myself as I looked at my cell phone and NO ONE had called. Isn’t that always the case? You stress that you might miss a huge important phone call in the four hours that I was gone (from who???), but those are the times when no one calls. I showered, ate breakfast and then ventured back out into the real world and not the athlete-minded world. I went to Half-Price Books and turned in a bunch of books for cash, I went to the bank to deposit some cash, I went to the store to pick up those items that I’ve needed for a while (shower cleaner, hairspray, paper towels, etc), I stopped at the car wash to vacuum my Element, I went to the post office to purchase some stamps, I mailed My parent’s Anniversary card, Mom’s Mothers’ Day card and a couple of other hand written notes to friends who aren’t expecting an actual letter from me. Suddenly, it was 3pm.
I was hungry again so I came home and made a tuna sandwich. While I waited on a phone call from someone who is interested in buying some of my furniture (God Bless Craig’s List), I actually lay down on my couch and started reading Coach Gilbert’s book about surviving genocide in Burundi. It immediately put all of my frustrations into perspective. What an amazing human this man is…And how odd to be reading a non-fiction novel about someone I know!! Usually I read biographies about historical figures. It’s definitely a strange sensation to be reading a piece of work about someone I see a few times a week.
I rested my eyes and my cat and I took a little nap. Shawn and I are hooking up for dinner this evening since he worked all day. It was a great weekend for the body, mind and soul.
Several tasks accomplished indeed.
6:45am w.w. bread with PBJ, 1/2 cup dry kashi 7:45-11am --two Clif Shots on bike ride, diet coke when finished 11:30am bowl of cereal and another piece of bread with PBJ 3:30pm tuna melt with veggie cheese 7:30 chicken stir fry, 1/2 small chocolate Blizzard
Shawn and I are in this crazy routine of grabbing stir fry on Sundays, eating half of it and then going to DQ for a small blizzard. I eat half the blizzard and put the rest on the freezer to snack on it the rest of the week.