Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekend of firsts...

So I left work early on Friday and took the bus from Port Authority to Tom's River NJ to go spend my first training weekend with Denise Ricci. I've never taken the bus with my bike before so there I was with my big duffel bag on one shoulder and carrying my bike on the other. You should have seen the looks I was getting from people. I think they might not realize how light the bike is (and it's not as light as other bikes).

Before I tell you about a weekend full of training I want to let you know that Denise is one great lady. So much fun, easy to train with, great at pushing you. And she is HIGHLY organized. She has a bag or bin for EVERYTHING. It's great.On to the training...

I'd like for you to keep in mind that I have not really been training in the 3 sports. I've only been cycling in preparation for my century. The last time I swam was about 3 weeks ago and I only swam maybe a 1/2 mile. The last time I ran was about a month ago and I only ran maybe 2 miles. So here I am going to train for the weekend. I warned Denise that I'd be slow and I wasn't as fast as her on the bike. I was also concerned with hills while we were cycling but she told me it was a flat course. I did not believe her. I thought what she would consider flat would be considered a small hill to me or more. Everyones perception of a hill is different.

Friday comes we eat dinner then head out to swim with 2 of her training buddies. We swam for 50 minutes in a bay (never swam in one before), I'm not sure what the distance was all I know was time. The good thing is that every time we were going towards a marker I was always on course so I was sighting well. The water wasn't too deep so when we got to buoys we were able to stand on tiptoe (much easier to catch your breath). At the end of the swim we did 3 drills. I've never done a drill before. The first one was where you have your hand fisted and swim. Let me tell you I felt totally off balance like I was falling sideways with each stroke! I guess you never realize how much your straight hand makes a difference especially with balance. The next set was kindof like playing catch up with your hands. You had to swim til your hand almost touched on the stroke (helps with gliding), the 3rd was called an OK and it just makes sure your elbows are in the right position. After we finished swimming we went for a run. 26 min. they told me we ran 3 miles but I thought they were pulling my leg, trying to make me feel good. cuz I was slow. I got tips on making sure I keep my chest out so I give my poor lungs some more air. I managed to get through it - the whole time I was thinking "oh lord what did I get myself into this weekend?" It was only friday night! I still had 2 whole days to go. I'd also like you to know that I've never done more than one sport in a day. We end the night by getting some gooooood ice cream as a treat. Deeelicious. :)

Saturday comes around and we wake up bright and early for a ride of 70 miles. I've never ridden my bike more than 55 miles other than the annual century. We start out (Denise, Mark Woolf & me) and the two of them are much faster than me. I tried for like a second to keep up and realized if I wanted to finish on a good note I needed to just stick to my own pace. I was cruising at 16, 17 miles an hour so they had to have been going 19 or 20. But no matter they waited for me at every turn. At one point maybe at mile 25 I asked Denise if their were going to be any big hills coming up. I mean it's nice to go 16 miles an hour but I didn't know how I was going to maintain that if we had the hills. Her answer? "nope what you just did is the whole way of the ride." You should have seen my smile! Oh my god the ride was like a treat! I've NEVER ridden a flat continuous course before. So I changed my focus of the ride to keeping my cadence consistent and my speed above 15. We stopped off at a sandwich place at mile 33 ate and were on our way again. I'd just like to note during lunch Denise told me about doing a combo bolus for my food over a duration of at least an hour so I wouldn't rise. I never thought to do that during exercise and it totally worked! I felt really really good. Weather was great and I felt like I was going strong. On our way back maybe at mile 55 or 60 Denise got a flat. It sucked we were there for a while. but she fixed it and we kept going. I was in a good rhythm. Mark wasn't feeling so hot but he pushed through like a trooper. We're now 5 miles from home and Denise gets another flat she had to call Fred (her hubby) to come get her, since she used everything up the 1st time around (we had changed the tubes 2x and tire). Denise was talking about doing a run after the ride and I was saying in my head "after 70 miles??!!" I thought no way. We pull in after riding 73 miles and guess what we did? We ran. She convinced me to only go for 20 min. I've never done a Brick before (other than my triathlon). So we ran. Again I was far behind but I didn't really care. After 7 minutes I had to walk for 2 and they were on their way back. SO I started running again and felt myself wanting to walk again. So I did for a min. and Denise circled around me telling me her IM crack walk story in order to hear it I had to start running. So I started and I didn't stop til we got home. The crack story helped. Now I'll think of that whenever I want to walk. After all that I was seriously tired and couldn't WAIT for a cold shower. Oh yeah and my average pace throughtout the ride had been 15.1 - I was happy all around.

The next day guess what we had? Another ride! I've never ridden 2 days in a row with that much distance. We rode 43 miles and despite having my chain pop completely off it was a great ride. But my quads were killing me! 2 miles from home I told Denise there was no way I was doing a Brick - she had mercy lol. The surprising thing was after I checked my mileage and speed I was actually faster the next day with an average speed of 15.8. I was shocked and a little impressed with myself. The other thing was after each day of exercise my average heart rate went down. I was also impressed by that bit of info. Again I've never worked out that many days in a row.

Throughout the weekend we talked about Ironman, volunteering for next years Lake Placid IM, and racing/training in general. It was AWESOME. I had a great time at her beautiful house for the weekend. We'll be doing it again for sure. On our way to the bus station we stopped for some ice cream mmm mmm goood and she also gave me a bag of stuff in case my BG dropped on the bus all ziplocked and everything lol. Such a mom.

It was a weekend of firsts and I'm so glad I went and pushed myself.

THANK YOU DENISE!!!! Looking forward to next time...


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