And as a write this, it is pouring rain, while I stare out my office window and think about not working out. But oh well, at least the end of the week was nice!
So, in the beginning of last week, I continued my anti-motivation crusade, as the temperatures dipped back down into the seasonably cold range, and constant rain for days on end persisted. My week's workout plan was thrown by the wayside.
But then came along nicer weather, starting on Thursday, and my training resumed with my motivated self. Thursday's plan was to hit the pool and then go to Pacers for their group run, because they were giving away free Brooks tech tshirts. Free stuff always motivates me! Then Friday came, with even nicer weather - sunny in the low 70s. I couldn't sit inside and not do something, so I took the bike out for a quick 30 minute spin. Just enough to make me feel like I didn't waste a perfectly good day.
Lately, the weekends are where I seem to have been getting most of my training in. I've been a bit of a weekend warrior these days. The typical pattern is for bad weather the ruin the likelihood of weekday workouts and then reality setting in on the weekend that I need to get my arse in gear. So after a few weeks of this pattern, I've noticed a difference - I've been pretty sluggish in my workouts. So something needs to change.
Saturday, DCTri was holding the annual BrickNic out on the Columbia Triathlon course. I was really looking forward to this weekend, because it was the first chance I'd have to ride in a group setting and see where I stack up, versus my times on the course from last year. Of course, let's remember that last year I was training for Eagleman and Columbia and this year....well...I gots nothing really till Patriots Half in September. So I'm taking things a little slower this year. After a bit confusion with the location of the set up area, I finally sun out of the park ready to hit the course. I found out slightly before I left that about 90% of the attendees (approx 150 people) were already out on the course. Crap! I was hoping to find people of similar speed to ride with, but ended up rolling out with whoever was left. This turned out to be a group of people much slower than me. And since one of them led us out, the first couple of miles were slow, because we had to ride single file on the shoulder due to car traffic.
We made a right turn off the main rode and I punched the engine to the next gear, which I'd try to hold for the rest of the ride. Something close to race pace, but not quite. A few minutes later, I glanced back to see if they were with my and I couldn't even see them anymore. I pressed on and passed a ton of people. There were so many others out on the course, not just DCTri peeps, either. People from all over the area came to pre-ride the course. The course was exactly as I remembered it last year. Relentless hills, with barely a moment to sit idle in one gear. I managed to pass probably close to 50 people out on the course...I felt great and was really hauling!
Looking back at my race report, it took me 1:19:15 to finish the course for an average of just under 20 mph. Saturday, I rode the course in 1:20:55, but that also included the first miles of slow single file riding. I can say pretty confidently that if I were in a race, I could have put up a similar time. I finished the bike course with a great confidence, because my first several rides this year have been pretty miserable. Its good to know I'm not that far off from last year's paces.
After a quick hop off the bike, it time to brick it. I decided not to run the full 10k course, because I have been having some residual achilles pain from the Monument Ave 10k several weeks ago. Since the Columbia course is famous for its most challenging 10k run course, I decided to stick to the flatter sections around the lake. I did 1 lap, which was about 2.5 miles, which was enough to give my body that adaptation to running off the bike. Still high off the bike ride I just had, I ran pretty hard, averaging something in the 7:15/mile pace. Not sure where that came from, but it felt easy.
After that, it was time to eat! I grabbed some grilled chicken, pasta salad, and some sweets and got me some sun. In all, a great day of training and enjoying the weather.
Sunday (yup, the fun didn't end with a productive Saturday), it was time to hit the bike for another 20 or so miles. I was still feeling great and I wanted to get in as much quality bike time as possible, since the weather was still warm. I rode on a newly discovered area, easily access from our new house. After 4 miles south on the Fairfax County Parkway bike trail, I turned off the begin the bike loop. Hilly, through country roads and large plantation style mansions, the bike course meanders around and eventually loops back. In all, I came across 2 cars in the 12 or so miles of the loop. It was great.
After my ride, it was on to house obligations. Rebecca described it best, so I'll save you the repeat of that. Needless to say, my legs are sore from all the mulching and the battle with eliminating the underground and embedded roots of the ivy plant. BTW - I won that battle ;)