Monday, December 11, 2006
Week 7--Back on Track
It's been a training blur lately! I feel good though so I must be getting stronger.
Let's see...where did I leave off? Oh, yes, Thursday (previous post).
Well, after my morning spin (and narrowly missing slicing off poor Babs head with the pedal), I was running around in lab like crazy. At about 3:45 pm, the fog began to roll in off the ocean. I glanced outside for the first time all afternoon, and we were encompassed in a gray, fuzzy cloud. I got chills down my spine, rushed to a stopping point, grabbed my running clothes, and ran into the bathroom to change. My coworkers gave me some odd looks. I love running in mist or rain.
I popped out the door and down the road into the Torrey Pines State Park, which has astonishing views of the valley to the east and the ocean to the west. It felt very surreal running through the cloud, as if I was in Lord of the Rings or some other fantasy. The sun was shrouded in the fog, and I could stare directly at the dim orange orb without hurting my eyes (I know; still not supposed to do that). I passed very few people, although one elderly runner kept pace with me on the way back.
"How far are you going?"
"Just 4. Gotta love this fog."
"Definitely. Funny. Keeps a lot of people away."
That's one of the things I love about the fog and rain. The solitary nature of running by yourself in such an unusal setting. So pensive and meditative. Almsot like being in a dream.
By the time I reached the turn around point, the fog had crept to the east and fallen into the valley below. This cloud was like some creature, creeping across my path. The sun came out, and the skies were blue again, but I could still see the gray remnants of the phenomenon that had just occurred to the east.
A "get it done" day. Woke up early and did the weights. Bike commuted (again), which I am loving. It's a great way to get an extra 40 minutes of biking in and do some active recovery. It also is free energy, I'm finding. Nothing like traffic in the car to suck the energy right out of you. I made myself go to the pool (easier on the bike since I have to actually roll past the pool). There was no one there since it's been so chilly and it was Friday night.
It took me forever to warm up. 15 minutes after zipping up and down the lane, it was more tolerable (although I was still a bit chilled; why can't they heat the pool more?!). We decided to go long to begin to mimic race day. After an easy warm-up of 300, we did 4x500 free with 1 min rest in between. Booring. Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I got into a zone and let my mind float. The sound of bubbles under the water and soft trickling as I swim is quite soothing.
Everything was fine until the 3rd set when my too-tight goggles gave me the headache from hell that made me feel as if blood was going to start spurting from my eyeballs. Repressing the urge to rip off the goggles, sacrifice my contacts, and get an eyeful of chlorine, I toggled with the straps until they were almost too loose; I could actually feel a droplet of water sneaking in the side of the gasket. Although this in itself was irritating, the seal held, and it was much, much more preferable to bloody eye sockets. (I have a very-difficult-to-fit face with deep-set, narrow eyes, a high bridge, and a very small face--goggles are always too tight or too loose). I got through the final set uneventfully, blissfuly dashing over to the scalding hot tub afterwards to warm up. I hate being cold! That's one thing I can't stand about swimming in the winter. What's up with these frigid outdoor pools?
Saturday--Tri Club Pine Valley Duathlon (#2):
This was a big workout day. After trying the "duathlon" in September and getting completely obliterated by the bike, we decided to give it another try and battle Mt. Laguna again. Basically, you bike up a mountain. Oh, and also, it's supposed to be a race so lots of wackos actually go as fast as they can. Jason and I just wanted a good workout. Here's the club's description:
TCSD Duathlon Series
Pine Valley Duathlon 17 mile bike/ 4 mile run
Saturday, Dec. 9th, 9:00am
This race is very challenging and scenic. But be warned that some pretty tough competition typically comes out for the Pine Valley Duathlon. Why not get in a good work-out and have fun and food with fellow athletes. As always we will need volunteers to keep the event running smoothly and keep it safe for all participants. Pine Valley Challenging and scenic bike course, a run with a view, TCSD race buffet, what more could you want! This is a must do TCSD 5-Star event.
The bike ride starts in Pine Valley and heads up Sunrise Highway. The first 11 miles are uphill with a few plateaus followed by 6 miles of rolling hills at about 6,000ft. The run course is mainly on an old dirt road with equal amounts of ups and downs. A great view of the desert below comes with the run. It’s roughly an elevation gain of 2100 ft.
The run course: The run will be a two loop run course, two miles per loop. There is an elevation gain of about 220 ft the mile up, 220 ft elevation loss coming down, then back again for the second loop. 220 ft doesn’t sound like much, but your legs will definitely feel it! The surface of the run is a combination of loose dirt, hard pack dirt, rocks and asphalt. If you take the time to look up, it’s an extremely scenic run course. The run course skims along the side of a mountain with a great view of the desert below. http://www.triclubsandiego.org/featuredEvents/4762176.html
Here's the elevation profile:
Hanging at the back of the pack, we started in Pine Valley, a small mountain town at 4000 ft and biked up to the top of Mt. Laguna at 6000 ft. We climbed 2000 ft in 10 miles. We had to deal with torrential headwinds in September, slowing us to about 5 miles an hour of an agonizingly slow pace. This Saturday was different. Clear, sunny, calm...perfect. The temps hovered in the upper 40s...not too bad with a long-sleeved shirt. I chatted with a few buddies on the way up, and before I knew it, I had crested the summit and was into the 7 miles of rolling hills. Boy, that seemed fast. I couldn't believe how much easier it seemed. I was even able to enjoy the aero position for the rolling hills part. The wind picked up a bit but getting aero helped negotiate that; just a bit nippy with that high altitude wind. We made it to the top in half the time it took us last time--only 1:15. Jason thinks it's b/c we're in better shape. I think it was the absence of wind. Who's right? Who cares! Feeling great (no altitude headaches this time either), I popped on my running shoes and headed up the trail for the 4-mile run. The trail was 1 mile out so we went out-and-back twice. My legs were like rubber, and I just concentrated on not falling to my death below (there were some amazing views of the desert all the way down the mountain) as I negotiated the gravelly, extremely rocky and windy path up. Yes, more up. My quads were not happy. Coming down was great (my lungs said, although my knees sorely disagreed later that night).
Afterwards, I munched on some Christmas cookies and fruit before hopping on the bike, looking foreward to the ride back down. It was not to be. I had forgotten the final 6 miles of rolling hills, which unfortunately, when you're mentally "done" and physically tired and expecting blissful, easy downhill recovery, well, let's just say it sucks. I coasted down the first false hill only to be dismayed by the road leading up in front of it. Grumbling, I shifted back into my small ring, only to drop the chain (a frequent occurrence since switching to compact cranks despite frequent visits to the local bike shops; they say I need a new derailer; argh). Stopping on a curve with no shoulder, I put the chain back on and sheepishly tried to wipe the grease off my hands before continuing. Jason, feeling good, fresh, and annoyingly cheerful, zipped on ahead (he waited for me up ahead). I continued duking it out on the uphills, sweating and cursing in my jacket. On the downhills, the wind picked up, whistling my my ears, making me grateful I had decided to don the jacket for the descent.
Finally, at mile 6.71, when I felt I could take it no more, the road began to curve downwards, gently at first, then steeper and steeper, winding down and around. Yes! I was ecstatic. The headwinds picked up and were brutal. I can't believe what a difference the wind makes! Last time, we had a tailwind going down the mountain and I had to brake to 40 mph to manage the switchbacks. This time, even though I was going down, I still had to pedal to maintain speeds of 25 mph. Still, it felt much better than going up.
In addition to all this, PMS decided to raise its ugly head, triggered by the physical fatigue, I suppose, or just being cruel in the way PMS is. My lower back started to ache from biking, or so I thought. I stood up in the pedals and streteched. The pain intensified. Hmmm. I stretched some more. The pain knifed around my side and down my abdomen. Oh, crap. I hunkered down on the bike like an old woman. Cramps? You have to be kidding me! I don't know why they decided to start then but I concentrated to getting down the mountain (and the bottle of Advil waiting at home for me). I grimaced and gritted my teeth and tried taking deep breaths. I pedaled slowly, trying to work the cramps out. It must of looked like I was doing La Maz down the mountain. Thankfully, I was on the downhill part so the worst was over. I was grateful to reach the bottom where the toasty warm car awaited.
It had taken me an hour to get through the rolling hills part (7 miles). The final 10? 20 minutes with headwind. Go figure.
As if Saturday wasn't brutal enough, we decided to go out with our group for a long, slow run on Sunday. We ran up and back on the coast and enjoyed a really fun, social and delicious brunch afterwards. I ended up going 8 miles. Jason? He went 10. Show-off.
We were going to do our open water swim but bagged it after hearing the national weather service issue a warning for strong currents and rip tides:
ORANGE COUNTY COASTAL AREAS-SAN DIEGO COUNTY COASTAL AREAS- 955 AM PST MON DEC 11 2006
...HIGH SURF ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 2 PM PST TUESDAY...
THE HIGH SURF ADVISORY IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 2 PM PST TUESDAY.
A LARGE NORTHWEST SWELL WILL CONTINUE TO BRING HIGH SURF TO THE ORANGE COUNTY COAST AND SAN DIEGO COUNTY COAST TODAY THROUGH TUESDAY. THE HIGHEST SURF WILL BE ALONG EXPOSED WEST AND NORTHWEST FACING BEACHES... AVERAGING BETWEEN 6 AND 10 FEET WITH OCCASIONAL SETS OF 12 FEET. THE SURF IS EXPECTED TO DROP ABOUT 3 FEET BY TUESDAY MORNING.
IT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO FISH OR OBSERVE WAVES FROM EXPOSED COASTAL STRUCTURES OR ROCKS DURING HIGH SURF CONDITIONS. VERY LARGE WAVES CAN SUDDENLY SWEEP ACROSS PREVIOUSLY DRY AREAS. SWIMMING OR SURFING IN THESE WAVES IS DANGEROUS FOR ANYONE DUE TO THE POWERFUL WAVES AND STRONG RIP CURRENTS.
A HIGH SURF ADVISORY MEANS THAT HIGH SURF WILL AFFECT BEACHES IN THE ADVISORY AREA...PRODUCING STRONG RIP CURRENTS AND LOCALIZED BEACH EROSION.
The waves were 8-10 feet and breaking very unevenly. The wind was gusting, causing whitecaps to break the surface of the water way past the breakers. The ocean was not just alive and seething. It was angry! (Reminds me a Seinfeld episode where George says, "The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like a grumpy old man trying to send back soup at a deli..."). As if that wasn't reason enough, it had rained the night before, making the bacteria counts suspicious, and as we all know, I'm prone to stomach illnesses. No, thanks! And finally? We were beat! We went home and took a nap!
I actually feel pretty good today. I know we pushed it but I'm not as sore as I predicted, and my energy is pretty good. I just wish I could stop eating!!!
Swim--2x (pool); 2h total; 3200 m total
Bike--3x; 6.7 h total; 95 miles total (includes bike commuting)
Run--3x; 2.7 h total; 16 miles total
Total hours (not including weights): 11.4