In the spirit of this year's mantra: "smooth and steady", today was the first of what I consider several "smooth and steady" race simulations. The goal of all "smooth and steady" races is to embrace the mantra. I'm not trying to crank it all out and go for broke in these races. These are merely an opportunity to simulate race situations at a moderate (smooth and steady) pace, as I train by myself.
Since this week is the end of exactly 2 months of training, I figured this would be good time to have a first race simulation as a test of where I am today. I have to admit however, that I was little concerned due to a recent hamstring injury after a breakthrough swim on Wednesday, in which a went for a record 2500 yards. The only problem was that I cramped up really bad as I was pulling myself out of the pool. So my hamstring has been a bit sore the past 2 days. I tried to take it easy in anticipation of today's workout, and also to give my hamstring a rest. I felt good when I woke up this morning, so I figured I'd be ok to push a little. Lets get to the results:
Swim: 1 mile - 37:00 (2:03/100 yards)
Bike: 24 miles - 1:29:40 (15.5 mph)
Run: 6.4 miles - 55:53 (8:48/mile)
Total Time: 3:02:33
Swim: The swim was done at my local pool. My focus was consistency this morning. I was hoping for consistent 500 yard splits and that is exactly what I got. I was right at 10:00 for all my splits. Unfortunately, I had to share my lane with 2 others, so I was not able to get as good a time as I would have liked. My comfortable swim pace is right at 2:00/100 yards. One of these days, I'll do a 1 mile time trial to see where I'm at. Again, today's focus was consistency.
Bike: I opted to do my bike course on my usual path. The benefits are that I know the course and where any nasty parts are. The bad part is that the ride out is all up hill. There are a few rollers, but the first 10 miles are all up hill. So I went about 12 miles out and turned around. Unfortunately, I had a head wind coming back, so any downhill benefits were negated by the winds. I really didn't want to push myself on the bike, because I wanted to see how consistent I could be transitioning off the bike and onto the run. At the pace I rode, I felt fine off the bike. Next time, I'll definitely push harder, but with the hamstring, I just wanted to play it safe.
Run: Similar to the bike, the last thing I wanted to do was the further injure my hamstring. I really took it easy the first couple of miles, just trying to get a consistent pace that was comfortable on my legs and lungs. I purposely made my run course a little more challenging. I was interested to see how my body would respond. The first half of my run was mostly downhill, but the 2nd half was back up the same hill I had just run down. So I kept it slow and controlled for the first half, just trying to get a good feel. Once I hit the turnaround, I picked up the pace quite a bit. Only problem was that it was all up hill, so it was a test of my endurance at that point. I felt strong as I pushed up hill the last few miles and finished strong.
Overall, I am happy my effort. There were certainly parts where I could have (and wanted to) push harder. After only 2 months of training, I can say that I am very comfortable at the Olympic distance. My average heart rate throughout today was 139, which puts me between zone 2 and zone 3. Last year, I was pushing into the 150-160 range as my average, so I am really happy to see that my average heart rate is much lower now.
It seems like the race season is so far away. Its not even April yet! So I certainly have a lot of time to continue to work and push harder. And I will...as I continue to be "smooth and steady"...