Even with all of my gadgetry (Garmin, tracking software, etc etc) my "training" in the past has consisted mainly of just going out and running biking swimming, with only scanty effort spent paying attention to time, pace, intervals or any of that "serious" stuff. I just couldn't be bothered. Maybe that's starting to change.
On Monday, I ran the course of the coming race. I have done this run on numerous occasions in the past, but this time I went with a mission. I decided to try to be consistent with (and oh, I dunno, PAY ATTENTION TO) my pace. I know this is all elementary stuff, but I have so far just looked at my pace and said "Oh! I'm going so fast!" or "Fuck! I'm going so slow!" and not much modified myself to suit. So this time, I ultimately decided to NO MATTER WHAT keep my pace under 12:00, and really try to keep it under 11:30. Every couple of minutes, look at Gary, adjust my pace, continue, repeat. Basic stuff, yes? Well, I was really happy at the end of the run to see my results: 6.6 miles, 1:17 time, 11:37 pace, 976 ft of climbing. My pace would have been better, except for that pesky hill, which slowed me down to a 13:02 mile. Otherwise, all of my miles were below 12:00, and 4 of them below 11:30. This is the fastest (by like 10 minutes) I have done this route, and, here's the kicker, I think I could have gone faster. Hmmm.
Yesterday, I biked the complete course (minus maybe a mile or so). This seems like a KILLER COURSE for a tri! 26 or so miles with 2800+ feet of climbing -- there is NO flat part AT ALL. As I've said before here, the first 3 miles is climbing to Donner Summit -- 1200 feet. In 3 miles. Fuck me! I don't know what the gradient is, but it's gotta be up there. So yesterday, solo for the first time, I again paid attention to numbers. For this first climb, I tried to keep my cadence (in granny gear) above 50 and my speed above 4 mph. Blazing! Well, just keeping my eye on Gary, I made the summit 39 minutes (a 20 minute improvement since the first time I road it, and a 7 minute improvement since the last time). Yay! I continued for the whole ride trying to keep my cadence up, my upper body quiet, my hands powerful on the bars and my feet utilized on the pedals. I went hard for 3/4 of the ride, then was joined by my friend Jim, at which point I gave in a bit to the tiredness and slowed down some to socialize -- though I descended from the summit pretty damn fast for me, even with the road open to cars. My overall time for the 24.5 miles was 2:17. I think I did pretty damn good! And STILL could maybe go faster on race day . . .
So, there's my complete dress rehearsal for the tri, and I am now somewhat more confident about Sunday. I mean, I haven't done more than 1 brick, my training has been sporadic at best, but look I've just replicated the race and did ok. I can do this thing!
Oh, what was that you asked, what about the swimming portion?!? Swimming??? I've never swam a mile in my life, and have not swam a stroke in the past two weeks. I'm in total denial about the swim. Don't mention the swim. I'll deal with it Sunday morning, I guess. Oh boy!
So, having no idea how long it will take for the-portion-of-the-race-that-will-go-unmentioned, and my improving times and confidence on both the bike and the run, I am going out on a limb here and guessing that maybe, just maybe, I can do this in under 4 hours. It would take a LOT of effort and even more luck, but I don't think it's completely unrealistic. So that is my super-secret goal, under 4 hours, though I will be totally happy and jazzed and satisfied just to finish.
(I really wish I was at this point in my training maybe a month ago, instead of days before the race. THEN, I think, I could really come at this race with a solid effort, both physical and mental. At best, now I am flinging myself out there with the bare minimum of training and skill and who knows what'll happen? I'm slow, lazy and untalented, but I have a LOT of grit and endurance and think I can do OK. I need some kind of mantra that embodies that.)
OK, so my next Oly tri will be in Marin in November, and THAT one I will be prepared for. Training plan, regular workouts, the whole enchilada.
Right now? Wingin' it.
But I ROCKED that bike ride!