Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tri “Green”?

I’d thought about going to NC to visit my sister this weekend, but there is a gas shortage where she lives, so the trip is off. Even though I have a car that gets decent gas mileage, I don’t want to use gas for a trip that’s really not necessary. And that, plus gas at nearly $4/gallon, has made me take another took at my driving habits. I routinely combine errands and extra-curricular activities with my daily commute from the southside to downtown, but I’m thinking I should do more.

My options are limited, however. I could take the bus to work, but I’d have to adjust my routine and join a different pool and fitness center, one located closer to my house. I’m not quite ready to do that yet, so a more feasible solution would be to bundle my swim and strength training workouts into two days and drive just on those days. On the days I rode the bus, I could run or bike in my neighborhood. Biking or running to/from work is not an option.

But a problem with living “green” is that I would miss the fellowship of my training companions. I have limited my trips to WC, as it seems counterproductive to drive 25 miles round trip to ride my bike, when I could do the same thing closer to home. WC is a wonderful course, though, and I would hate to give it up entirely. The same is true of running at UR or Byrd Park. Trying to be “green” presents a new training obstacle, as I struggle to find, and maintain, a proper balance between responsibly conserving and consuming.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

“Best Laid Plan”

For the past 2 weeks, my life has been focused on work, to the detriment of my training schedule. I squeezed in a swim practice, and a bike ride and a run around my neighborhood, but mostly the pages of my training log are blank. Now that the September appellate-court crunch has subsided, training can become a priority again. I have 1 and 1/3 more sprints to do this season – the Acorn on Oct. 4, and the swim part of the Riverside Sprint on Oct. 12. Realistically, I’m as prepared for these events as I’m going to be. Continued training will help maintain my fitness level, but it won’t make me faster. However, it’s not triathlon training I’m worried about.

I’m also signed up for the Half-Marathon on Nov. 15, and I do need to be building up my endurance for those 13.1 miles. The last time I did a half-marathon (November, 2 years ago), I finished my tri season in July and then focused on running for the next 3 months. That’s not happening this year, and I’m feeling woefully unprepared. Unfortunately, “cramming” for a race doesn’t produce the same benefit as it might for an exam. I’ve heard under-training is better than over-training, and I’m hoping that theory actually works. I don’t have many weekends left that are available for some longer distance runs, i.e., more than the 3-4 miles I’ve been doing. Of course, I never anticipated running the whole thing anyway, so I expect to finish – eventually – even if I walk more than I’d intended. But I’d wanted to beat my previous time, which was just under 3 hours. I’m not feeling anywhere ready to do that.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Goal Deferred

At the beginning of this year, when I started this blog, one of my goals was to do an Olympic distance triathlon, most likely the Patriot. I knew it was an ambitious goal, but emboldened by New Year optimism, I believed I could do it. Even into spring and early summer, I still thought doing the Oly was possible. In mid-July, however, as the deadline approached for signing up before the price increased, reality forced me to reconsider. I didn’t feel well enough prepared to tackle the longer distance, and I knew I would not be doing much training in August while I was in Iowa. So, I registered for the Sprint instead.

With no other Oly possible for me this year, the question now is, will I make another attempt next year? Given that my performance seems to be declining with each Sprint I do, I’m doubting I have the stamina for an Oly, even if I were assured of plenty of time to train properly, which I’m not (at least if I’d like to keep my present job, and it pays for my triathlon habit). Wishful thinking will carry me only so far on the Oly track. Since I don’t have to decide yet, though, doing an Olympic can be a goal deferred, rather than one deterred.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Notch No. 4

The Patriot Sprint on Sept. 7 was my fourth Setup event for this year, so I’ve accomplished my goal of qualifying for an age-group award. As of August 26, having done three sprints, I was ranked 1/10. I’m signed up for a fifth sprint, the Giant Acorn on Oct. 4, so I’m pretty sure I’ll keep my top spot, because I will have done more events than any other woman in the age group. But even if I get relegated to second or third, I will still be within my overall goal.

The Patriot presented a new and different experience. Because of the rain from tropical storm Hanna on Sept. 6, the swim was canceled. Instead, we ran what we were told was a 1.25 mile loop around the event site. According to my Garmin, however, it was longer than that, and the web page for the event now says it was 1.5 miles. Considering the trek to the transition area, my time of 18:11 for the first leg was okay.

The bike ride was mostly on Route 5; while I didn’t like being so close to speeding cars, I felt more confident on my bike than in past events, and even passed a few riders. My time of 58:23 was slower than I expected for 12 miles; but, again, there was some discrepancy on the actual distance. Both 12 and 13 miles were mentioned in the pre-race briefing, my odometer showed 13, and I heard two other riders say their odometers registered 14 miles. So, I’d like to think I rode more than 12 miles – otherwise, somewhere on the course I must have stopped and taken a nap, and don’t remember doing it!

We finished with a 5K run on the Colonial Parkway. I set a new personal low for slowness on the run, and my overall time was a disappointing 2:07.40. Even so, I got a nice bottle of wine and a glass for finishing 2/2 in my age group.