Two-thirds of Sprint Triathlon – Check!

I was almost convinced that my love affair with running was over. Since the trail run last month I hadn’t felt good running at all. Since the Austin Half, with my aching knees I decided to give the miles a rest and run for fun, when I felt like it. But they’d all been miserable runs. Either I’d started out too fast or it was too hot and I was a bag of creaking bones.

This past Thursday I ran about 2.4 miles from work till Rogue and it was horrible. My lower legs cramped up, and I couldn’t walk them away. It was very hot and humid that day, it could be because I didn’t drink enough water or because I’d eaten badly at lunch (pizza and lasagne – which was kind of why I ran to Rogue the long way even though I was going for a core workout). Fortunately that wasn’t the main workout. We did some core drills such as skipping and kicking to work the running muscles and some usual planks/crunches/V-ups etc. While those are hard I really enjoy them because they’re a good break from a cardio routine that I usually do in terms of running or biking. But I also know they’re going to make my performance at those a lot better.

This morning was the first training run with Ironchicks – they had us run only 30-40 minutes. Was able to do about 3 miles in 40 minutes which actually felt awesome. There were no cramps, no short breaths, no reasons to stop and walk. I ran with Marion and it was a cool morning at 50, best time to run at 7AM. I felt like I could have gotten in at least a mile or two more easily. It hadn’t felt that good in a long while.

Where I really made up on the fun and workout quotient was my FUN FUN FUN bike ride with Bharath, GRao and Sandeep! After breakfast, we headed up Bull Creek, down Hancock and caught Shoal Creek. We rode Shoal Creek all the way up to 183. For non-Austin folks, Shoal Creek is a 7 mile stretch of road with wide bike lanes and one of the favorite bike routes in the city. The weather was gorgeous at 65 and sunny, not a cloud in the sky! We rode easy, stopping often for various reasons but thanks to my Wed Veloway workout I now knew how to use my gears! As Cha said, once I’d figure that out, hills would be easy-peasy and they were (though most of SC was flat with very gentle inclines). I remembered what Liz the Ichix coach said – you want to use the gears to make your ride as easy and uniform effort as possible. So when you’re spinning too fast, get your rear gear to move up to the bigger spoke. Vice versa when you’re on an incline. But do not change gears while you are on the hill! Your bike ‘hates’ it (sic). And use the front gear change for big changes in incline. I haven’t used the front gears much yet. I keep the front on the middle and play with the rear gears. Move up when I am coasting or spinning fast due to course ease. Move down when I anticipate the hill and try to get some momentum in going uphill, makes it a lot easier to pedal a bit near the top.

Another minor challenge is starting off. Still nervous about balance and since J&A fitted the bike, the seat is kinda high and I cant touch toes to the groundwhile stationary, making me nervous. To think this is a mobile vehicle of yore and I would be okay! But it took me two green lights at the short stop lights to get through! Thankfully everyone was patient.

And then I fell! Biking with running shoes – not a good idea! Laces got tangled and stuck on the chain. Fortunately I knew I was going to fall, I rode to the sidewalk, braked gently, called for help and fell headside to the ground, bike et al, laces still stuck! A group of bikers stopped to ask if I was okay which is nice because bikers get a bad rep as they aren’t as friendly as runners. Sandeep and Bharath disentangled my laces and also fixed the chain for me.

Lessons learned:
1. Try not riding alone – flats, falls and chain coming off that much harder! Especially if you are a novice like me.
2. Get shoes without laces for biking. Not fun to change shoes at transition, but what the hell.

We did about 12 miles today so if the bike course at any tri is as flat as SC, I’m done :).2/3rds of the Sprint Tri distance (transition included brekkie!) – Check! 5k run & 12 mile bike ride! Woohoo!!

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