Florida Challenge Triathlon Countdown Clock

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

This week I was looking at the Ironman Florida 70.3  website to get a feel for the race. The closer I get to a race, the more I like to visualize it:  the starter's gun and me starting the swim; finishing the swim and running to the transition area feeling strong and getting on my bike; passing people on the bike,  starting the run, and most importantly, crossing the finish line! 

I replay the race in my mind over & over in hopes that's how it will actually play out. Kinda like a dress rehearsal. So I'm getting ready for the race physically AND mentally.

With that I'm mind, I found the course maps for the bike and run. Here's the bike course:

I really don't care about this map. I don't know this area at all. Long as the cops and volunteers tell us where to go I'm good! Lol

This map here has my full attention:

THIS is the bike course! I thought the race description said "fast and flat with a small section of gently rolling hills??"

It don't take Stevie Wonder to see there's a lot of hills on this course, and it won't be as easy as they said. Looking at this makes me want to focus on the bike a lot more.

But that's the challenge of triathlon: it's 3 events, not 1. I can be the best biker this side of Lance Armstrong, but if I can't swim or run, it's all for naught.   

So I have to stay focused and hope that my training will suffice.  Trying to juggle 3 totally different sports is hard, but that's what makes it so rewarding when you cross that finish line.

I was debating for the last couple days if I was going to go for a long run or long  bike today. I need to get in as much hill work as can, but I can't sacrifice the other sports in the process. That's like a guy who lifts weights, but only works his chest and arms, but never works his legs, abs, or back. Bodybuilders need to be well rounded and so do triathletes.

With that in mind, last night I decided to go for an 11 mile run today at Bayshore. Once I made that decision, I put all thoughts of the bike out of my mind and focused all my attention on today's  run and the official run course:

The run course will be a challenge and I have to prepare for it also. I MUST get some quality training runs in.

With that said, today was a perfect day for a run. I started out with a slow trot to warm myself up. I prefer to start out on the grass because it's easier on my knees:

I ran at a slow pace with short strides.  I have discovered that shorter strides are better on my knees than the longer strides I'm used to, so I'm in the process of changing my running style. The shorter strides are actually better for triathlon because after you get off the bike, your legs are quite stiff. If you increase your leg turnover with shorter strides you can still run pretty fast.

After about 40 minutes I made it to Ballast Pointe:

Tampa has quite a few little "chill spots" near the water and Ballaste Pointe is just minutes from Bayshore.

On the way back from Ballaste Pointe I decided to push it and run at a higher intensity. I felt really strong and focused on the shorter strides with a faster leg turnover. When I started to get tired I made sure my form was good and would breathe deeply and stayed calm. 

All in all, I finished the 11 miles in 1 hour, 41 minutes, followed up with a 20 minute cool-down  walk.               

I am very happy with today's workout, and I'm glad I ran today.  I think my conditioning is pretty good at this point, and now I'm almost ready to start doing some speed work, which I will probably do on the treadmill. Finishing the race is the #1 priority, but I'd really like to have a fast race also!

In order to do that, I have to get those hills in check. I will hit the bridges with a vengeance in the upcoming weeks. I am determined to hit the starting line ready to put it down!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, peace!      

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