The day after a big race is kinda like Dec. 26. All the prep, anticipation and excitement are over, and you're left with a feeling of, "OK, now what?"
When I woke up this morning, that was exactly what was on my mind. But right next to that were three other observations:
1. "Wow, I feel good. Not soreness, stiffness, anything."
2. "I can't wait to get back on my bike."
3. "I can't wait for that July 21 triathlon."
All of these surprised me. I've never completed a duathlon before and I thought the challenge of run-bike-run would leave me not feeling tip-top today. But I was wrong, and that realization - that my training was right on - was almost as good as finishing the race.
I was also surprised to be excited to get on the bike, as usually I'm eyeing it warily and wondering if I can just survive whatever miles I had planned. However today? I was psyched to not only get on, but - get this - clip in on both sides. That's right, Mike, BOTH FEET. I know. Look out, world.
The realization that the weather during yesterday's bike segment was probably the worst I will ever see has emboldened me. If I can survive that, I can definitely before a more confident, efficient cyclist. I'm already planning to go out tomorrow for a nice brick: 5-mile bike followed by a 1-mile run.
And I was surprised to be excited for the July 21 Iron Girl tri. The two months leading up to this duathlon were all-dread. Now, having completed it, I'm psyched to really kick it up a gear in this next race.
I headed to the Y this morning for my usual Monday a.m. swim. I changed into my swimsuit and hit the shower to get wet and work some conditioner into my hair. I emerged from the shower and stood in front of the long horizontal dressing mirror to put on my cap and goggles.
As I prepared, I noticed the two women on either side of me looking at me curiously, but trying not to. I couldn't figure out why until I looked in the mirror and realized that despite two showers in the past 24 hours, my race numbers were still prominently displayed in what I assume was fricking permanent marker (thanks, Wayde!) on my biceps.
I put on my swim cap and fastened my goggles to the top of my head. I strutted out of the locker room: Out of the way old ladies, one bad-ass duathlete coming through.
I usually swim 35 minutes, but today I stopped at 20 as my legs were a tad dead and I didn't need to kill myself. I spent the other 15 minutes in the hot tub and creeped on two excellent lap swimmers to pick up whatever I could from their form, breathing, etc.
As I sat in the hot tub slowly turning into a piece of linguini, I thought about my training goals for the July 21 race, 10 weeks away. Here's what I came up with:
- Improve transitions (moving from one segment to the next). Yesterday, my transitions basically consisted of forgetting stuff I needed and didn't remember until I was already back on the course. For instance, I forgot to put on my cycling shorts and biked in my running tights. A very special part of me is reminding me of that mistake today. I was lucky I remembered the bike.
- Strengthen my legs for the move from bike to run. My quads felt dead going from bike to run yesterday, and I want to have a much stronger run segment in the next race. That's where bricks (training in two events in one workout, such as a bike ride followed by a run) will come into play.
- Take a swim lesson. Sandy and I are already working on hiring an instructor to watch us swim and offer corrections. I need to be as efficient as possible with what I have to work with. The work I've put into ChiRunning has greatly aided my running, I want to do the same with swimming.
- Attend an open water swim clinic. There are beginner clinics offered in June and July, and I will be at one to get advice on strategy, swimming in a straight line and any other tips I can glean.
- Cycle with confidence, improve gear shifting and utilization - and clip in both feet.
- Ride the course beforehand. I want to cycle the 10-mile run segment at least once so I know what I'm in for. I've heard this course is easier than yesterday's - definitely less hilly - so yee-haw.
And away we go.