Monday, October 7, 2013

St. George Training: Update #1

Well, I have finally settled in St. George, Utah, where I will be until November 10th! The plan is to get in some epic training to build a solid base for next season and maybe do a race at the end of it all.

My mom and I began the adventure from Augusta, Georgia to St. George on September 30th. It was an epic drive...full of the usual silliness during the day and the desperate need for wine at the end of it. It was a long 3 days of driving, way too many trucks, sketchy rest stops, bad roadside food, and lots of taking apart and putting my bikes back together, etc. etc. However, luckily, the last day of driving was mostly through the Grand Canyon area and it was absolutely beautiful. New Mexico, Arizona and Utah are gorgeous states to drive through...the terrain is always changing from pink and red rock, to rolling desert, to mountains with pine trees all around. On October 2, we finally arrived at our destination! Mamma left the next day (by plane) and I started my triathlon training adventure.

My triathlon training started out with 3 rest days. Yup, rest days! You might be confused my this, but you shouldn't be. Most triathletes underestimate the need for rest and keep pounding out the miles, day after day, wondering why they don't get stronger. I have said this before, your muscles only get stronger if you let them rest. Training tears down the muscles and depletes them of glycogen and other such nutrients. Resting allows the muscles to rebuild themselves, to stock themselves full of glyocogen and allow you to go further and faster the next time you need too. If you don't rest, then the muscles never get the chance to rebuild and you actually get weaker. No only that, but constant hard training lowers your testosterone levels and you can't build muscle without testosterone! So, yes, I started out my training with rest days to ensure that I was ready for the training to come.

I eased back into training on the weekend. Saturday started out with an easy swim and an easy brick workout later in the day. It was definitely a "brushing out the cobwebs" type of day. My swim was just an easy/medium effort with no pace times and lots of drills and technique work, just to get my feel for the water back. The bike started out a bit sluggish, but after not too long I was feeling good again and strong. I had to watch that I didn't get my power too high on some of the climbs. The run off the bike felt dogs to chase me here and I was holding a good pace at a low heart rate. Sunday was another short run and a bike. Energy was soaring at this point and I was anxious to get back into some harder training. Patience has never been a strength of mine and it was definitely being tested. But I held back, knowing that the hard training was just around the corner.

Today, the day I would get to start my hard training again, FINALLY arrived. I pretty much hopped out of bed at 5:30am, had a coffee and was off to the pool. The pool was even set up to meters instead of yards so that got me extra excited (oh, the things that make a triathlete happy...). Today was a sprint workout three sets of 8x50 on 1:00 as fast as possible, followed by a 200 at above race pace. I was a bit worried that I would be way slower, given that I hadn't done a real workout in a week...but it didn't go too badly. I had good energy throughout and, while my times were a bit slower than usual, I know that my feel for the water will be back soon. After my swim I came home for some breakfast and then I made a recipe from Allen Lin's cookbook: coconut chocolate chip rice cakes. I need to practice taking in some solid food on my rides and so this cookbook offers a bunch of alternatives to the usual Clif bars and other such packaged foods. My homestay host, Charity, also got motivated to make some healthy energy bars...don't be fooled by the photo - they actually tasted pretty good :) Charity is an AWESOME cook and has been feeding me very well. Later on in the day I hopped on my road bike for a 2 hour ride. The time passed way too quickly as I was so distracted by the beautiful scenery! I will never get sick of the red mountains.

Stay tuned for more exciting news from my trip :)

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