The holidays seem to throw a lot of dynamics into a training season. Sometimes you’re holed up in a hotel in the middle of a busy concrete jungle, other times you’re inundated with family time, cooking and shopping. Squidging in your workouts can be a challenge.
Most of the time, I sort of give in for that week and let the holiday time be the blessing of rest, but, when you’ve already done your resting post-marathon, it’s time to stop being lazy, holiday or no holiday. Plus, I still needed time on the bike to get comfortable. Luckily, I was driving up to Monterey to visit my best friend, so I could bring the whole Tri “kit n’ caboodle” in the car and squeeze in some early morning exercise while my friend was still sleeping.
I swam early Wednesday morning, with the intention to get my workout in early. It was a full group, mostly advanced swimmers. Mikey told me I had started “spinning” during my timed 100 yd swim, meaning that I hadn’t followed through with my stroke because I was trying too hard to go fast–which is actually counter-productive. It was kind of a bummer swim day and I didn’t feel very strong.
Wednesday early afternoon, my Beagle, Sheila, and I, along with my loaded car, took off Northward to Monterey. Getting out of L.A. County was a nightmare, of course. It took me two full hours to travel the first 20 miles. Hooray for holiday weekend traffic.
My back hurt from sitting in one spot by the time we got to my friend’s place. On a positive note, my relatively cheap Hollywood Expedition bike rack actually worked to keep my bike from flying off of my trunk. I was worried because it had looked so flimsy, but it did the trick. My bike barely moved the whole way, and the straps didn’t loosen one bit.
Thursday morning, I was determined to get in a pre-Thanksgiving meal run. My friend pointed me in the direction of the running and biking trails, and I set off. Given that I had to help cook and that there was limited space in the oven, I opted to go for a shorter run. Plus, my ankle had started bugging me 30 minutes into the last run I did (my first post-marathon run of 75 minutes), so I wanted to take it easy. I set my sights on doing 45 minutes. I ran my usual 10 minute comfortable pace along a bike path that followed the dunes along the beach, and ventured into a slightly wooded area. It’s funny how, when you’re running in a new spot, time seems to fly. The first 15 minutes passed in a flash. When my watch hit 22:30, I turned myself around and headed back. enjoying the scenery and picking up my pace a bit, hitting a brisk (for me) 9:30 working pace. Oddly, when my watch hit 30 minutes on the nose, my ankle started to complain again. It’s the tendon that runs slightly over and underneath the ankle bone. It had bugged me during the marathon on some of the downhills. Given that I was only 15 minutes away from finishing, I pressed on, slowing slightly to accommodate the nagging pain.
This was my first time actually doing the cooking for Thanksgiving. I made two pies (another first), stuffing, and roasted veggies, while my friend made turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. My pie making had the potential to be disastrous, after baking the pumpkin and discovering that I’d used twice as much pureed pumpkin than the recipe called for (30 oz versus 15 oz), but, a little extra baking and it actually turned out normal (phew!). We were fairly proud of ourselves for putting everything together and timing it perfectly, sans epic failure on any count. Surprisingly I didn’t pig out like I usually do at Thanksgiving. Maybe having to do the work makes a person less hungry?
Friday was my allotted day of rest. I explored the Monterey Aquarium all day and then, later, went out to dinner with my friend and we watched a DVD in the evening. There isn’t a lot of nightlife in Monterey, but since I have become such an early bird with the training schedule, nightlife doesn’t seem as exciting as it used to be. More often than not, it seems more like a burden, and a time when I could be getting some much-needed shut-eye (insert old lady noises here).
Saturday, I took Shadow Comet along the same trail that I’d used to run on the other day. At its entrance, the trail seemed to continue in the opposite direction along the dunes, so I took that route. The road wound around and had some steep-ish downhills, which had me, the white-knuckled newbie wonder, a little spooked at first. I rode the brakes down them, fearing that even the smallest bump would set my bike off course, and me careening into a tangled mess of metal and flesh off the path. Then, my worst nightmare, a couple walking lazily side by side across the bike path, in the middle of a steep hill, with two cyclists coming up the other side. NOOOOOOO! I muscled my brakes, trying not to go so slow that my already wobbly bike would wobble wildly out of control, yet trying to go slow enough so as not to hit these meandering, clueless lovers so that the two uphill cyclists could pedal past. My heart was beating wildly. The cyclists cleared the path just in time. I made my move into the opposite lane. “Whatever you do, don’t wobble!” I thought furiously to myself. One severe wobble could take someone out.
I’m happy too say that no accident occurred, but, after following the bike path under an overpass, I realized that the bike lane ended abruptly, and it spit me out onto a road with active traffic. I wheeled myself over to the nearest sidewalk, stopped, and looked around. There HAD to be a bike lane somewhere. My eyes scanned behind me. I saw a cyclist turn down a smaller backroad. Aha–there it was! I backtracked about 25 yards and found those white lines off of the other side of the street. When it was safe, I crossed and continued on. Of course, all this bike path did was loop me back around to the trailhead–which was actually fine because I decided to take the other route, the route I’d taken yesterday.
Shadow Comet and I rolled along the dunes and through the thickening forest. We climbed some semi-steep hills, then hit some rough, bumpy parts of the path (which also freaked me out). I still rode the brakes midway down the steeper downhills, but, mid-ride, I started to gain a tinge more confidence, and the wobbling lessened. I even encountered another group of walkers and wove more easily around them. I found that, as long as I didn’t look at whatever I was afraid of hitting, I would stay put, in one straight line. At the end of the ride, although I wasn’t 100 percent confident on the bike still, I felt proud that I had accomplished riding in an unfamiliar place all by myself, and that I hadn’t injured anyone or myself.
Sunday, the last day of vacation, I decided to get a good run in before hitting the road. I strapped on the Garmin and hit a different trail that wove through a wooded area into the Monterey Bay Coast Guard Pier area. It was gorgeous out there, and a crisp and sunny day, perfect for running. The trails provided gentle shade until I hit the pier area, and then I delighted in watching the boats skim the water and the mountains in the distance. At 8 a.m. on a Sunday, it was amazing to see how many people were out and about and being active, particularly older people. I was dusted by a couple that had to be at least 10 years older than me.
On the way out, I felt okay. Running a 10 minute mile felt easy, and I felt like I would be able to pick up the pace later. However, forty minutes in, I started to tire a bit. This did not bode well because I had set my run goal at 75 minutes. Normally, when I run more than 60 minutes, I run intervals, but, because my team kind of expects a certain base level of fitness, I told myself that I needed to work back up to doing a 10 min nonstop pace for over 75 minutes, instead of doing a 9:00-10:00 (depending on distance) with walk breaks every seven minutes. Looking at my watch, I was still keeping up the pace, but it was becoming harder. Then, at 45 minutes, my ankle started sounding its alarm. Grr. I slowed down a bit and revised my time goal to 60 minutes. I ended at 5.90 miles in the end, not quite six, which was annoying and rounded out to about a 10:15 pace overall. Still, I got “leg time” which is a good thing, and I got a wonderful scenic tour of Monterey to boot!
My ankle’s a bit sore today, but nothing bad. I’ll probably wait a few days to attempt another run. Besides, I could probably use more bike time anyway. I finally ordered my clipless pedals and shoes. They should be arriving today. Yet another hurdle to overcome, I guess. Any advice for the newb clipper would be appreciated!
How was your holiday? Did you find time to train?