Florida Challenge Triathlon Countdown Clock

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Right Formula

My next race is FAST approaching! I can't believe it's less than a month away. Actually, I can't this YEAR is almost over. Where does all the time go???

Time is going by way to fast. When I was 15, it took FOREVER to turn 18. When I was 18, I couldn't wait to to be 21. I turned 21 & that's when time just took off! The years just clicked by!

Anyway, I have a race to get ready for so I've taken my training up another notch. I'm feeling pretty strong & I have my focus. Even though I've done this race several times before, it's VERY tough. It's tough because of the bike portion. It's all hills. It's no secret that riding over hills is my weak spot on the bike. Some people are natural climbers, but I'm not 1 of them. I think the reason is because I simply don't ride them enough and i weigh 210 pounds. The area in Florida I live is pretty flat, and the areas that DO have hills are over an hour away from where I live. Add in the fact that I don't like to ride my bike on the road and there you have it. I don't get enough hill training!

So I do what I can, and that means to ride the bridges in Clearwater over & over. I don't think I'll ever get tired of these bridges. The views are perfect!

This is a great area to train!

My training over the bridges is simple: ride up the bridge at my own tempo, ride a couple blocks, then turn around & do it again. I do that over & over to simulate rolling hills. Simple, but effective!

The most important part of my training sessions are the parts where I'm the most fatigued. When you're tired that's when your form starts to break down, you lose focus, and you slow down. This is the area that I need to work on the most. That's what seperates the champions from the rest: They know how to fight thru the fatigue and keep going strong. They can be tired, but you wouldn't know it by looking at them. Their form is perfect.

This is the area I need the most work. Yeah, I can finish a race, but I don't finish as strong as I'd like, especally on the bike sometimes. I can ride these bridges "comfortably" for 2-2.5 hours. But that last 30 minutes I really start to struggle. Again, those bridges just wear me out. That translates to at least 30- 60minutes of struggling in the actual triathlon and starting a 13 mile run with tired legs on a hit, humid day. Not a good look!

In other words, the bike is the most crucial aspect of my race. I'm comfortable with my swim. It's not the fastest, but I can swim 1.2 miles in 45-50 minutes without using too much energy. That means I start the bike feeling good, but by mile 45 I start to get really tired.

While training I don't like to wear headphones because it gives me a chance to clear my mind and to think. (It also allows me to stay aware of my surroundings to make sure I don't get jacked! That's what growing up in Chicago will do to you...lol)

But as I was riding up the bridge, I flashed back to my freshman of college. My math skills weren't up to par so I had to take a PRE_Algebra class. In other words, I had to take a high school algebra class my 1st year in college.

I was struggling the the class when the teacher said "math is all about formulas. If you can add, subtract, multiply and divide, you can do any math. Just learn the formulas and you'll be fine!"

When she said that I knew she was right! I was intimidated with math, but after she said that, I changed my thought process and math became much easier for me. I KNEW I could add & all, but was the FORMULAS that scared me. But once I broke it down that way I was able to excel. I went on & took regular algebra, calculus, statistics, and accounting courses and got a degree in Business Administration.

That 1 thought changed my whole mindset about math & I was able to overcome my mental block!

So, going back to this weekend's bike ride. I can ride the bike. I can finish the 56 miles, but not as strongly as I'd like. I had to change my FORMULA. Usually, when I ride the bridges, I ride my own tempo. I do that to save my energy. Rarely will I push it. A couple weeks ago I posted a video of my riding my indoor trainer doing an interval where I'd speed up and ride as hard as I could for 15-45 seconds.

Why don't I do that while riding the bridges? Why don't I just try ride aggressivley up a bridge for 15-45 seconds like I do on the indoor trainer? I have no clue. I do know when you train is when you're supposed to try different things & go as hard as you can to improve.

So 2 hours into my ride I decided to change my formula. Yeah, I was getting tired, but I decided to ride aggressively halfway up the bridge and see how my legs would respond. I'd stand up & pedal as hard as I could for 15 or so seconds, then sit back down & ride to the top a little faster & stronger.

To my surprise, it went well. Standing up helped me stretch my legs a bit and the speed helped me get up the bridge faster & use muscles I don't normally use. & now that I think of it, I do this same thing when walking up stairs: Sometimes I'll take them 2 at a time running, and other times I'll simply walk, 1 at a time. I can feel the difference between the 2, and I think the same applies to riding a bike uphill.

Amazing how something said to you years ago can apply to your life now. I never thought to tie that comment to my training, but it seems to work! lol

I went on to ride this way for another hour. It was VERY hot and sunny (big surprise) but I had plenty cold liquids & my electrolyte tablets.

I finished my ride in a little more than 3 hours. I was pretty tired, but changing up the ride a bit seemed to help me quite a bit. I wasn't as tired. Maybe it was mental? I don't know, but I'm going to try that again next time I ride the bridges. I really wish I would've done this months ago, but worrying about that now won't do me any good. I can always ride my indoor trainer & do the intervals!

After my ride I relaxed for maybe 30 minutes and watched the boats go by as I ate some food. Luckily I had a beach umbrella because it was HOT!

I even saw a guy in his kayak. That looks pretty cool. I'd like to try that 1 day.

My training is going great. I think if I had to do the race right now I could, but thankfully I have a couple more weeks to fine tune some things (physically AND mentally.) My run will depend on how I feel coming off the bike, and I will try get stronger over the next couple weeks. Time will tell how things will turn out, but I'm going for it and will give it 100%!

Thanks for reading! Till next time, Peace!

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