As H was gone at his mother’s funeral in Austria for a little over a week, I was not sleeping well and therefore a bit of a basket case when last weekend’s “Boot Camp” came a-callin’. As previously posted, I also had been told by my doctor not to run or bike – because she was afraid I would “get competitive” and strain my just-healing shin splint…so after Patricia and Iron Mel called in sick, I just stayed home Saturday. And pretty much did nothing. Bad grrl.
Sunday, however, I decided it was time to Pull On My Big Grrl Panties and get with the program again. After hearing that my teammates had done “as many sprint triathlons as they could do in 5 hours” (including having the air let out of their tires while in the water, etc. etc.) I decided to do my own “5 hours of sprint triathlons” at the JCC.
WOW, was the gym busy! It was a “kids day” in the basketball court, but as I walked in, it looked as if every machine was full as well. It was going to be a tough one trying to get in the groove, but I headed into the Ladies’ to “suit up.”
Just driving to the gym had been an adventure, too. There were high wind warnings, and severe flood/rain warnings as well. The rain was pelting down, and of course I had to park in the “secondary” lot (which should have clued me in on how full the gym was going to be). I got myself together before opening the car door – with my gym bag, bike/run shoes, etc. in one hand, and 5 hours’ worth of nutrition to try in the other! I opened the door into the sheets of rain, pulled the hood up on my raincoat, fumbled for the car lock button, and raced for the front door!
I set up the locker so that it could work as a transition area for me – run clothes on the bottom “layer,” then bike clothes and shoes, then nutrition. Coach Mike and I had been on the phone over 2 evenings going over my nutrition and issues I had had at the 70.3, and Coach Doug had also sent me an email. So I was trying Gatorade, GU, bananas, and some new organic/all natural GU and “shot block” type things from REI (Honey Stinger I think they were called). I also had my Thermalytes and some Clif Shot margarita blocks. The idea was to stay completely away from protein, and as much as possible away from solid/fiber food.
I hit my timer for the 5 hours as I got in the pool for my first round. The wind was blowing so hard, that it was keening through the flags above the pool. The sound was super eery. The lifeguard was in his canvas “house,” hunkered down, and there were actually some other brave souls out there with me (though I did get my own lane). The rain had died down a bit, but the wind was REALLY serious. It whipped the pool into waves! The water was nice and warm, and I finished the 1,000 in something like 24 minutes (I can’t quite remember now and it wasn’t all that important – I just figured I would keep going until the 5 hours was up).
I got out and headed into the changing room, grabbing a couple of towels on the way. I had worn my 2-piece Tyr top under my 1-piece suit, with the thought of using that straight through as a jogbra (that worked well). As usual, it was a little tough getting the bike shorts on, but once those were on, the heartrate monitor and shirt were easy. I put my baseball cap on my head, as (even though braided) my hair was definitely going to scare folks out on the gym floor! Grabbing a bike bottle full of Gatorade, a couple GU and some Shot Blocks and a banana, I headed out to the bike trainer.
I was to ride 9 miles. I kept within my LT of 153-157 and RPM of 90, which necessitated moving up and down on the gears as my heart rate raised (and lowered). It made it a bit more interesting. I had my iPod and a new music set, and biked for 5 minutes before I took in any of the Gatorade or nutrition. Mike had postulated that one of the issues might have been taking in nutrition too fast after getting out of the swim, so I was careful about that. Then, it was just up to me to sit there and pump out the 9 miles. Just as I was finishing, I lucked out and one of the treadmills came open. I hurried over to it, but one of the Staff beat me to it – apparently something was wrong with it but he said he could “fix it quickly.” I threw my towel over it to make it clear that it was “mine” and then headed into the locker room, realizing that I had made a mistake only bringing one bike bottle. I added the Gatorade to it, and hustled back out, ultimately getting on the treadmill a minute or two later. I walked a little bit at first, but got it up to just shy of 12 MPH. That was fast enough for me. The gym was very crowded, and they had the “30 minutes max” sign up for the treadmills (not on the bikes though). So when I finished 1.5 miles, I was a Bad Grrl – I pressed Stop quickly, reset the machine, then started over! Ohhhh, bad. But at the speed I was going, I wasn’t going to be able to make 3 miles in 30 minutes, and I was going to be “darned” if I had to wait on the treadmill each round!
I got off, and it was time to head back out to the pool. One nice thing was there is a “spinner” in the ladies room, so my suit was only damp, not really wet. (I actually had brought 3 suits, just in case. Yes, I am SUCH a Princess :-) ) I had been in the training room (no windows) for the bike/run portion, and as I finished the run, my timing was such that I thought I would get 2 rounds plus maybe one swim in. (I can’t remember the time, but I remember thinking that.)
I turned the corner towards the pool and actually laughed out loud. The rain was coming down so hard, I couldn’t even SEE the pool. It looked as if I was literally looking at a waterfall. I shook my head, and headed on out there. Big surprise – I was the only one in the pool! The lifeguard raised an eyebrow at me from the guard shack, snuggled down in his big pool parka and hood. Yeah – I’m crazy, I know.
The water was markedly colder, and was actually sloshing over the edge of the pool. It was a little hard to breathe with the rain coming down so hard, and it felt odd on my shoulders and arms – super cold “pellets” pinging me for the entire time I was swimming. I did my 1,000, and hoisted myself out – and couldn’t see my flipflops (which I had kicked off at the head of my lane). They are bright pink, so pretty easy to spot – I scanned the pool deck and realized that they had washed all the way down the “short” side of the pool and 1/2 way around the “long” side!
I got out, and headed back in for Round 2. I actually felt really good, though the Gatorade was getting less and less appetizing (SO darned sweet!) I actually had to do a tiny bit more than 9 miles on the bike, as no treadmill was free when I reached the 9. I did my same “trick” with the 1.5 miles/1.5 miles on the treadmill the 2nd time, but I actually was able to go a bit faster. When I looked at my watch, I realized I had a LOT more time left over – I had “negative split” all the sports on my 2nd time around – !
I got off the treadmill, suited up for my last time, and headed back out to the pool. I had forgotten to take off my heart rate monitor – so I did discover the answer to one of the questions I have had (whether it is waterproof – yes, it is, thank goodness!). I got out to the pool, and the rain had let up a LOT since I had been out the 2nd time. (No way to tell from the gym, as the only windows face out onto the indoor basketball court.) The lifeguard unbundled just long enough to ask what I was doing (surprised, I’m sure, to see me for my THIRD time), and I said I had to do as many sprint-distance triathlons as I could in 5 hours. I mentioned that I was feeling tired, and so was going to go into the lane right in front of the guard shack. To which I got, “Um, you BETTER not have any trouble, I am SO not coming out there to save you!” Thanks – that makes me feel safe!
I got into the water and HOLY CATS was it cold! It was obvious the heater couldn’t keep up with the volume of cold rainwater. It’s a saline pool, and it was also markedly less “salty” than usual. My first couple of laps, I could feel the goosebumps raising up all over my body. Brrrrrr!!!
While swimming that last set, I had a funny thing happen, with respect to Rand (the owner of Aria Velo, about whom I wrote in the ‘bike fit’ blog post). He and I had discussed the fact that we had had the same swim coach, Deann Joslyn, at Petaluma High morning swim. I used to go to the swim with my friend Lori, before we headed down to work. Neither of us was really good enough to join the Masters, who swam at the same time, so Deann (who coached the Masters and swam, too) gave us our own routine. I was thinking about this, and thinking about the folks in the Masters. Rand had mentioned Patrick (who was assistant coach back then), and I had described him and Rand said no, that wasn’t him – as I was swimming, I realized the guy I was referring to was named Greg. I remembered who Patrick was. Then I started thinking about this cute, tall skinny guy who had started after Lori and I had been swimming “to the side of” The Masters for about 6 months. He had had sort of “punk cut” (long in front) dyed black hair, lots of piercings and tattoos, etc. He was super nice, and actually swam with us in the beginning because he wasn’t much of a swimmer. I remember he often biked to the pool and would then bike after. As I was swimming my 3x Sprint Swim, I thought “Wow, that’s so weird, that guy’s name was Rand, too.” It took me 25 yards to realize – oh my Goodness! – that was RAND! The SAME guy who had fit me at Aria Velo. I laughed out loud (and choked on pool water) when I realized I “must be a little hypoxic” to think that there could be TWO “Rands.” Of course, now that Rand owns Aria Velo, he has short sandy-brown hair, he’s taken out his piercings, and he must still have the tattoos, but he wears sleeves to cover them. I couldn’t believe it! That was probably 2000, maybe 2001…small world!
I got out of the pool and back onto the bike – and was starting to feel a little surly. I didn’t even bring the iPod out…sort of like the 70.3, I was just “tired of” the idea of music. I looked at my watch, and realized that I was going to be able to finish a 3rd time on the bike, and probably about 5-10 minutes of the run – which is exactly what happened (I ran for 5 minutes which put me at the 5 hour cutoff, then turned the treadmill down and walked another 5 to cool down).
I hit the showers, and was in there a long time! The gym had cleared out by that time, so I was able to take my time packing up all the “debris” from the locker (GU containers, Gatorade bottles, etc.). I then sat on the edge of the towel cabinet, and ate an entire “Snack Pack” of Chips Ahoy cookies! All in all, it was a good day – and I was really glad to be “back in the saddle” again.