Saturday, August 31, 2013


I feel somewhat discombobulated! Good exercise, but not in the amounts/order I would ideally have preferred. I slept late and just about made it to Joanna's spin class at 10 downtown. It was amazing, but HARD - we did 3 x 12min (3min seated endurance i.e. zone 2, 3min standing in higher gear i.e. zone 3-4, 3min seated climb at that gear i.e. z3-4, then 3min as :30 sprint, :30 recovery - right away in z4 with a view to climbing to 5b). Trembling with fatigue by end of last one!

Should have gotten to the gym an hour earlier to do first hour of spin before class - Joanna rightly follows rule that teacher locks spin studio when leaving (really we all know the combination), so once I'd exited, I couldn't motivate to do another hour, especially as something is not quite right with the back of my left knee - it felt weird and hyperextended a couple weeks ago, and I've had some twinges since.

(Usually there is 11am spin as well, but it's canceled for the holiday. I am not keen on holiday weekends!)

So I showered and ate a snack and paid my membership renewal, then walked (after finding that I had not put my Metrocard back in my wallet, arghh!) over to John Jay. It must be at least 2 miles, it took a bit longer than I thought (it is disgustingly humid, I was dripping with sweat even at walking pace), so I got in slightly late, but made it up by staying in for the warmup chunk of the subsequent practice.

It was the "Low-Pressure Zone" workout, which I thought just meant all lanes on slow intervals but which in fact was mostly drill work, which I love and which is certainly much to the point at this stage - we were working on stroke length in particular (a "1-2" drill that involved a bit of glide on each stroke, a lot of stroke count work, etc.). Can't at all say totals, but will give this estimate:

300 free warmup

c. 1200 mostly freestyle drills

+ 800 as 300 every 3rd length back, 300 every 3rd length fly drill (3-3-3), 2 x 100 IM no breast (the bit of breaststroke kick I'd done earlier was pronging the back of my knee, so I didn't want to do any more damage).

Knee thing definitely still not right. I should do a 2hr run later, but it will be counterproductive if it does anything bad to the knee, so I will do some stretching this afternoon and see how I feel. I know I always FAIL to get up early, but tomorrow morning I really do want to get up early and do 1.5-2hr ride in park (retrieved tri bike from store yesterday) - there is no point going later in the day, it just gets way too crowded in Central Park, so I think I will take the attitude of getting up at 6, riding 6:30-8:30 and then coming home and going back to bed!

1hr spin
1.25hr swim

Friday, August 30, 2013


Arghhhh, evil pool closures! Really I should have expected this, but I forgot it would probably happen (it is the time of year for that sort of work to be done - there was no masters swim for the 2 weeks I was in Cayman either, and unfortunately my OTHER main swimming option, the City College TNYA workout, is closed till further notice! Columbia gym of course closed all weekend; I'll look into Riverbank, but it's always complicated to figure out what hours they really are open. I guess I will have to fall back on the most easily accessed option, TNYA workouts at John Jay - I avoid swimming there usually as it's crowded and even the slow lane often is swimming 100s on 1:40, too fast for me, but it looks to me as though (MIRACULOUSLY) John Jay workouts will be proceeding on regular schedule. I can go to the "low-pressure zone" workout from 12:30-1:30, which has all slower lane intervals - alas, there really is no obvious way for me to do the whole workout I really wanted to tomorrow, namely 1hr swim, 2hr spin, 2hr run, but I can spin 9:30-11:30, jog over to John Jay, swim 12:30-1:30 and then do my 2hr run in Central Park - that will work, I think. Hmmm, the complexities always seem daunting so close to race time - I must ponder what other options would be, might be I should retool the whole structure of the weekend - I definitely want to go to Joanna's 10am spin tomorrow, but other than that I'd be fairly flexible....

(The real inconvenience is that other than one more 1hr swim, what I really ideally would have this week is 15-20min swims adjacent to short other workouts, for which Chelsea Piers is perfect - but there is nothing I can do about this! Hmmm, maybe I can pay for a lap swim that I could pop into on Tues or Wed at Columbia - this is something to look into also.)

Anyway, spin today was SUPER, I haven't exercised all week due to MASSIVE fatigue and other obligations, but of course a great hour of spinning made me feel normal again for the first time all week! Even had a couple minutes of zone 5a/5b at the end of the final "hill" - it was good, my cycling fitness is really better now than it has ever been (hahaha, that's not saying that much - but really it's pretty good!). I was going to swim after, but obviously pool is closed through next weekend so it was a no-go.

1hr spin (mostly zones 2-3, some z4-5b)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Brief update

Disconcerting to have three days off exercise, but travel and recovery from travel have superseded other needs. Still haven't finished unpacking from Monday night return, need to try and get that stuff put away before I go to bed this evening. Tomorrow I will do some exercise, I'm looking forward to it; today I had a near-disaster regarding bicycle transportation that I chronicled on my other blog!

It is disgustingly humid in NYC today (only mid-70s F, but 90% humidity), and I am not sorry not to be running this evening. Really it is going to be humid for days still to come, nothing to be done about that really....)

Sunday, August 25, 2013


OK, not really - 2 more weeks before race day - but the hard part is now over. That ride can only be described as grueling (left hand still not working quite right). Toes never got super-painful: I've really been working on pedal stroke (HEELS DOWN!) and it's paying off. But hands were mighty sore, despite time in aerobars, and so was bottom (not a euphemism for more delicate unmentionables, just the place where the Sitz bones rest on the [in this case overly wide] saddle). And it was GRUESOMELY warm and windy. Ugh! I did 5 x the East End loop (it's c. 19mi), the first 10 miles on each counterclockwise loop you're just TOILING - the lift you get in the last bit really doesn't make up for the horror of the first part.

As I came in view of the beach parking lot where B. picks me up, my odometer was at 111.8 - I felt like I HAD to see 112 after all that production (112 is the length of the ironman ride, only in this case it is quite different terrain and will take me considerably longer than the training ride did) - so I took the turn and rode a bit past the entrance to the lot. As soon as I saw the number change, I just STOPPED - could not persuade myself to get back on bike to ride the .15mi back, just walked it in, despite the fact that I know this provokes questions and concern from well-intentioned onlookers!...

112mi, 6:40, c. 16.8mph

(I hit my 20hr week! 20:06 to be precise. Will write more at some other juncture when my left hand is working properly!)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sea swim!

I have to thank B. for this one - I really didn't feel like getting out there, but he was resolute in not letting me forget the fact that I would want to do it much less tomorrow afternoon after my long hot morning ride, and that if I really wanted to hit the magic number I needed to log half an hour of swimming before supper today!

:31 sea swim

Double spin!

That was super. No double spin today at Revolutions, so I went to World Gym and did an hour on my own before the 10am spin class, which was very good: work intervals in a pyramid, 1:00 (:30), 2:00 (1:00), 3:00 (1:30), 4:00 (2:00) and back down, with varying "terrains."

2hr spin

Friday, August 23, 2013


Hahaha, I was shooting for 3hr but really 2hr was quite sufficient! I will see how else I can make up the "missing" hour to reach the magic 20....

(Went over to World Gym and did it on a bike in the spin studio there - it was very good, they are nice newish bikes and it is easier for me to stay focused when I'm out of the house.)

2hr total
4 x 15min alternating 1:00 seated and 1:00 standing (high zone 2/some zone 3)

Now I am going to do half an hour of meditation and also my back stretching exercises - saying it here to make sure I actually do them - I think I will be sorry if I don't do them pretty much every day between now and my race, otherwise while running when tired I really have a tight sore spot where I pulled that muscle last year (spinal erector). Not acutely painful, but very tight and at its worst as though I have a sort of tingling phantom hot dog glued vertically onto my back!


OK, that was a true gift. It is rainy season here, and that is the one thing that can make it non-torrid enough to run OUTSIDE IN THE DAYTIME! True bliss. Not physically blissful exactly - tons of chafing and blisters due to ankle-high puddles, sore back, trudge-like pace that is very hard on my knees. But psychologically purely pleasurable and easy - what fun! Ran over to Camana Bay where I usually do laps on the little road around the international school, but an apologetic security guard told me the road was closed to outsiders when school was in session, so I ran along the bypass, up and back along the Snug Harbor road and then around the Safe Haven loop. Amazing lot of seabirds there, out on the golf course I suppose because of the rain: several snowy egrets, and a bunch of what I think are black-necked stilts. (Plus of course the inevitable chickens and grackles, and several other species I don't usually see and couldn't identify!)

It is a snail's pace, alas, but I am very happy to get that one done so painlessly. I am still with a yen for a 20-hour week; in order to make that happen, I will need to do a three-hour trainer ride this afternoon as well, so it was incredible to be able to do this one outdoors. Short treadmill runs are fine for intervals, but one of the reasons I like running is that it's good for the soul - the long treadmill run is definitely NOT good for the soul, more like a trial of willpower!

2:03, 10mi

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hot yoga!

Really it is a bit naughty, but my heart QUAILED at the thought of the willpower required to do a spin workout at home - tired legs, but really more just that I wanted to get out of the house and have someone else tell me exactly what to do! It was lovely - the one-hour class feels too short when I'm really doing a lot of hot yoga, but today it was exactly what I needed. Highly beneficial.

1hr hot yoga

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stroke and stride!

Very glad that today's race wasn't canceled (the weather was beautiful but WARM) - it is a lovely little race, and the swimming at Sunset House is just beautiful. Swam about 22 minutes beforehand so as to get in something more of a workout; then 600m (I think it was a bit long, buoys had shifted - anyway, around 16min) and 2mi run (c. 10min miles - WARM miles!). Good day of exercise.

:22 swim, :36 swim/run


Pains me to have missed all this great running weather in NYC!  Anyway, decent 2hr treadmill session at World Gym. :50 easy jog @5.4, :40 jog with random inclines @5.2, :30 walk with random steeper inclines at 3.4mph.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Alas, my mega-week is not shaping up very mega! Doing the long ride on Sunday leaves you rather lackluster for the first few days of the new week...

I did the warmup on one of my hard Spinervals disks, but I didn't have vim to do the real workout, so I just rode out the full hour in zone 2. Glad to have gotten in some time on bike, anyway, even if shorter and less intense than I had originally hoped for.

1hr spin (z2)


Hahahaha, I did NOT get up properly when my alarm went off, even though really I was awake - I stood in the living-room like a statue, torn between desire to meet up with sea swimmers and desire to go back to bed - bed won! Then I dallied too long, and by the time I should have been starting my spin, I realized I was quite wheezy (consequence of a mildly stressful phone call I needed to make, I think - it is goofy but true that even minor emotional stress triggers asthma). Will hope to do that workout later if wheeziness subsides, but prudence said that I should just have a nice little swim instead - did 20 minutes of drills in the irregularly shaped pool and then 20 minutes of swimming in the sea.

:40 swim

Thoughts on pacing

(Really I am procrastinating, I need to get outside for a sea swim momentarily!)

Hard to predict Ironman paces - too many factors. The most obvious big one is weather - my bike time won't be affected hugely by warm versus cool weather (though it will be slowed if there's heavy rain due to caution on descents), but it potentially makes a huge difference to run pace.

Running the numbers just now, I'm thinking along these lines.

It's a long transition in Wisconsin, at least 10 minutes for each, maybe longer.

Swim will probably come in around 1:45. I am a fairly consistent swimmer and take a very easy pace on the longer swims; the goal is to come out of the water as fresh as possible. Say 1:40-1:50 anyway. Will hope for some good stretches of drafting.

Bike pace is very difficult to predict. Minimum pace of 14.0mph would yield a bike split of 7:59; realistic maximum pace of 15.6mph yields 7:10. If I have a sub-7:00 split I have ridden too fast and will pay for it on the run! Will use a HR cap for pacing (135-38, mid-zone 2 - 135 for first half, 138 for second), but hills inevitably bump up HR.

Run pace is temperature-dependent and also related to whether or not I have used good judgment on the bike. I am pretty sure I can hold minimum 14:00/mi. pace as a mix of jogging and walking, which would give a run split of 6:06:48 (assuming you make the bike cutoffs, you still have 6:30 to finish the marathon, and I think that I am in good nick as far as making cutoffs goes). If I am having a great day and the weather permits, I would be looking at a top speed of 12:30/mi. (It is very different from running an open marathon - marathon PR is 4:16, and really I should be able to go quite a bit faster than that if I train towards that end, as I was much hampered by undiagnosed asthma - I'm hoping to run a sub-4:00 marathon sometime in the next few years.) That would give a split of 5:27.

Adding in transitions, the absolute best-case scenario is then something like 14:45, with a more realistic finishing time of 16:00-16:20. 17:00 is the official cutoff, and I think I should be able to make it. Now I am just superstitiously hoping that nothing bad happens in the way of illness, injury or other calamity in the intervening weeks!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hot yoga!

Hot yoga was VERY hot. Good class. Finally got some decent-quality sleep last night, though not enough of it (have to get up early this week to execute training plan, figured I'd better start today). My only major complaint about Ironman training is that it means I can't do nearly as much yoga as I would like! I was allowed to do it today because it is a recovery day....

1.25hr hot yoga

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Long ride #11

These long rides are admittedly a bit grueling, just in their nature, but this was much better than last week's.

(I was very glum before I went out, I slept too little and very badly last night, but really as soon as I was riding it was all good. Can't leave before 6 as it's too dark still, but it gets mighty hot as the day progresses - but no, really I prefer not to ride in the dark, especially as cars on the road at 5am Sunday morning are probably still under the influence of Saturday night partying.)

The fourth hour was hardest, as my right toes had become agonizingly painful, but I stopped at Colliers Beach around the 3:45 mark for a FOOT BREAK - I also used the bathroom and ate a snack, but the main point was taking off my shoes and crunching and uncrunching my toes and rolling 'em in the sand.

(My mood also lifted at this point when I saw three gorgeous parrots fluttering from tree to tree as they searched for a suitable midmorning kaffeeklatsch location.)

Didn't get nearly as bad again after that - I was concentrating the whole time on "heel down" and easy relaxed pedaling, but really there must be some pressure on the nerve, it gets ridiculously painful if I'm not careful. Rode quite a bit in the aerobars and was able to manage hand discomfort better than last week - hands still not working quite right, but it never become nearly as painful/immobile as last time. Felt very strong for the last couple hours, and happy to be getting good-quality work done.

Best moment not involving parrots: a pack of riders overtaking me before Bodden Town (they ride from Hurley's) and inviting me to hop on the bus! Which I did, and it was exhilarating - 25mph! - but my heart rate was way too high, so I regretfully let myself drop off the back and ride at my own pace. Saw them at the Frank Sound Road gas station a bit later on and we had a nice chat - cyclists are amiable.

A good solid ride, anyway. Only one more really long one after this - I am three weeks out from race day!

102.74mi., 6:03:30

avg speed 17.0, max speed 25.5
avg HR 134, max HR 153

Total hours for the week: a not very impressive (though slightly numerologically sinister) 13:33:30. Nothing to be done about that - other obligations plus residual fatigue were realistic limits on what could or should be accomplished. This coming week's the big week, I've got a much more elaborate schedule that I'm hoping to hew to....

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Hmmmm, early-morning FAIL - I had everything ready to go out really early so that I could ride outdoors, but when the alarm went off at 5:45 it just seemed too gruesomely dark and early and I went back to bed. On a brighter note, the trainer workout I did indoors later in the morning was really good - it is the hyperbolicallly named Spinervals Quads on Fire. 90 minutes with intervals decreasing in length and increasing in intensity: 2 x 12min, 2 x 8min, 2 x 6min, then 3 x 1min all out, 1min recovery.

Then half an hour sea swim to bring the total workout duration to 2hr.

If I do a short run later on and a swim of some kind tomorrow afternoon in addition to my long bike, I will feel OK about how this week shaped up in the end: really there were just various factors that made it hard to do the volume I wanted mid-week, but this coming week should be better. I am going to sit down with pen and paper and make a serious schedule!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Long treadmill!

OK, that was infinitely more enjoyable than the one I did the other day. I broke it up better, and also I think I must be significantly less fatigued - book event last night went well, and I slept relatively late this morning, really needed the rest.

1hr steady jog @ 5.6mph (1.5% incline)
.5hr jog with random inclines @ 5.4mph
.5hr walk with random steeper inclines @ 3.4mph

2hr total, c. 8mi jog and a bit less than 2mi walk

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Short sea swim

I haven't done very well this week, training-wise. Partly it's fatigue and partly it's something I'm not proud of, a tendency to make excuses about how it's harder to train in Cayman than in New York! Other people, however, seem to do perfectly well here, and the comparison is clearly not productive!

(Torrential rain yesterday all day caused cancellation of Stroke and Stride race, alas; hopefully I can do the one next week. Masters swim is on August hiatus, and spin classes at Revolutions are also on a limited schedule.)

Hopefully I can make it a good training weekend, in any case. For now, I got over the hump of getting myself into the sea to swim - just half an hour, fairly pleasant. Need to strategize better for next week, though, and really write in more workouts as commitments. The thing that's amazing here is yoga - close walking distance, great classes and teachers - but that is not what I should be doing a lot of right now!

.5hr sea swim

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Treadmill slog!

I must confess that I was having very low morale and negative thoughts at various points during this one. Last night it was clear to me that I was so unbelievably and shatteringly tired that rather than trying to run, I would be better off taking a sleeping pill and going to bed at 8:30 when B. did! Which was what I did. (I had to be up at 5:30 - hahaha, this is funny - to be on television to promote my book event Thursday!)

Anyway I came home post-interview (it was very enjoyable) and went back to bed for a long nap. Was on the verge of talking myself out of it, but fortunately B. runs for an hour on Tuesdays in the middle of the day at World Gym, so I walked over with him and tried not to think about how horrible it was going to be!

Bought a three-visit pass that can be used over the next couple weeks (will get another if I need it, wouldn't mind doing some shorter speed workouts especially as I am going so slowly on long ones, but 2 x the 3-visit pass was still cheaper than a 2-week pass, and really I won't be there every day, so that was the way to go).

On the treadmill I always find myself playing a lot of mental games with fractions. If you're shooting for two hours, there are a lot of great moments in the first half-hour: you go from 5min to 10min (1/24 done to 1/12 done) so quickly, and 10 to 15 (1/12 to 1/8!); another particularly satisfying transition is from 20min to 30min (1/6 to 1/4). Then it's a bit of a slog in the middle - I think the middle 40 minutes is the hardest on this sort of indoor workout - then again there is great satisfaction going from 1:20 (2/3) to 1:30 (3/4, a significant chunk closer to completion).

I was throwing out huge gouts of sweat all over the treadmill - it is warm - and having a hard time staying focused.

The total time was non-negotiable (I have been skimping on run training, rightly, due to the prioritizing of cycling, but I do need to get some time on feet), but I knew intensity would be an issue. I did the first 90 minutes in zone 1, I am sorry to say (5.3mph, 1.5% incline), and the only way I could talk myself into the full two hours was by switching to a walking speed (3.4mph) on a high incline (6%).

Meant to run the last ten minutes, but so much sweat was draining out of my drenched socks/shoes that the treadmill belt had become quite slippery, and I dialed it back to the previous walk-on-incline mode.

Anyway, good running chemicals always kick in after you're done, I don't feel too bad about it - but if I can do at least one of the 3 further 2-hour run-walk workouts I would like to complete over the next two weeks OUTDOORS, it would be beneficial, I think!

2hr misc. jog/walk on incline (zone 1)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hot yoga

That was good. Heater was malfunctioning and according to teachers it was "freezing," so class was delayed/truncated by fifteen minutes to allow for some further warming up: really to me it is already subjectively extremely warm.

Tonight I'm going to have a first stab at doing my long run in the mid-evening after B. is asleep - it is clearly not working to try and do it first thing in the morning, early evening is hanging-out time and I really prefer not to run on a treadmill unless absolutely unavoidable. But if I can't get out and do it, treadmill is the inevitable fall-back, so wish me luck....

1hr hot yoga

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Long ride #10

That was extremely hard! I came in around fifteen minutes short - I was shooting for 5.5hr, but I just didn't have it in me to go any longer. (Not muscular fatigue primarily, just very sore hands - from death-grip - and sore toes on right foot. And mental fatigue from the effects of cycling for a long time.)

Note to self: ride some stints in aero-bars in first couple hours, because if you leave it till your hands are killing you and you've been on the bike for more like 4hr, you won't be able to persuade yourself it's a good idea, sore hands notwithstanding!

I will need to strategize in order to get the full six hours done next Sunday: HR cap for first half of ride, more calories will both help, but I think these long ones really are just hard to get done if you are not one of life's natural cyclists. It was overcast for the first few hours, which was helpful, but grew increasingly warm as the morning progressed. It was incredibly windy - the first stretch of the East End loop, you're riding pretty much straight into the wind, it's slightly overwhelming (but a good workout). On the other hand, at other points, you're flying.

Other note to self: Jerome's voice is now added to Joanna's. Keep heels down! Jerome said he thought it was more acute as a problem on the right-hand side - you lose power if you're not using your calves - but I think this also may be the root of why the right toes get sore and the left ones don't. The two big mental cues for next week: heels down; ride in the big ring. (Which I did today, and it's definitely good.)

Casualties: one soldier crab. Saw an amazing flock of Cayman parrots, then then a bit later on one almost flew straight into me! Also saw a woodpecker on a pole behind the Frank Sound gas station, but could not tell you what species it was.

The Garmin didn't come on properly till about ten minutes into my ride, so add 10min and appropriate miles to total.

5:06 (+ unlogged :10), 86.70mi (17mph, that's not at all bad), avg HR 140, max HR 153

Total hours for this week (recovery week): 8:16. Two more big weeks, and then I will be tapering....

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Double spin!

That was good. Afterwards got some help adjusting bike fit.

1.75hr spin

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hot yoga!

It is partly a function of the way that I've scheduled training blocks and recovery weeks this summer - I'm traveling for significantly more races than I usually do - but I was basically just flattened with fatigue this week! Getting ready to leave town for a spell in Cayman is always minorly complex (nothing too challenging in itself, but it's the combination of setting up catsitting, refilling prescriptions, drycleaning an item of clothing for travel, getting library stuff I need for work, etc. etc.), and it was pretty clear to me that there was little point doing any exercise, my body was not going to absorb it. Didn't really sleep Wednesday night due to early departure Thursday, and took a sleeping pill last night to make sure I got a long night of sleep. That may have impacted yoga - I felt acutely queasy during a couple stretches of the standing series - but it was a very good class, I am extremely happy to be back at it! I'll do double spin tomorrow morning and pick back up again with a long ride on Sunday.

1.25hr yoga

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kingdom Triathlon - race report!

My main takeaway from this race is that I have to be much more careful about managing fatigue levels during the days coming in to a big event. In fact it all turned out OK, I had a very nice day particularly on the run course (though I ran it counter-clockwise, incorrectly, and have an asterisk next to my time!). But I thought I was pushing my luck!

(Running the wrong way was not due to fatigue, I really just have a very hard time finding my way in the world - can't recognize places/intersections or make good judgments about them.)

The tiring week kind of crept up on me unexpectedly, though I should have seen it coming. I was out late on Tuesday night at a fantastic party at the Algonquin Hotel. Then I was out later than anticipated on Wednesday - G. and I wanted to wait for my brother before going out to eat post-movie, and that was the right choice, but my brother wasn't home from work till 10:30, so it was after midnight by the time I got home (with also some emotionally draining phone conversation mid-evening with friend in Ottawa about B.'s parents' situation).

I had a busy work day Thursday and then we only left here around 5:45pm, got to Liz's aunt's house after midnight again (details of lovely farm life at my other blog). I took a sleeping pill, because otherwise I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep for hours and I couldn't face that kind of stint of wakefulness in a strange environment, but it doesn't give restful sleep, so I was exhausted all day Friday - we had a long further drive from Randolph up to the Kingdom, were briefly at B&B in late afternoon but then went out to pre-race dinner which involved demanding conversation with strangers - got home around 9.

I was so tired and frazzled this point that I really just couldn't sleep. Tossed and turned horribly, making myself crazy; finally got off for some light restless sleep at 3:30am (not kidding), woke up at 5 about half an hour before alarm was due to go off, realized that I was just going to have to get by on 1.5hr sleep and NOT a week of good rest before that. Am going to try in future to get to race site much earlier the day beforehand so that it's not so overwhelming - insomnia is a lifelong problem for me, and I'm a homebody who never sleeps well when I'm on the road.

It was pouring rain and quite chilly, and I think Liz and I were both rather hoping the race would be canceled - forecast predicted lightning every hour all the way through till noon! But it started to clear up after we'd dropped our run bags at the second transition area (it's a point-to-point race, swim-bike and bike-run transitions in two different locations) and hied our way to the swim start, and in fact it was a very good day for racing - I had quite a bit of rain on the last third of the bike, but it's good for me to ride in the rain sometimes, and it was blessedly cool on the run - this is beneficial for the Davidsonian physiognomy, which overheats easily.

The Kingdom Triathlon is an unusual race. I did the Aquaman option, which "evens up" the standard half-iron distances so that a strong all-round athlete would be spending equal time on each leg. (Conventional half-iron-distance triathlon favors cyclists especially but also runners, and downgrades the swim to almost just a warm-up!) I do not know why I thought it would be easy, it was quite challenging and in particular the bike course was much hillier than I had imagined or understood.

The swim: two loops, 1.75mi each (you get out on the shore and touch the table between loops, with a chance to eat a gel and in my case use asthma inhaler also). Great kayak support on the water. (Only fifteen or so of us racing the Aquaman, it's a tiny race.) More chop and current than I had imagined, particularly on longest leg of second loop. Very glad to come out after almost 2.5hr swimming - this picture shows how happy I am (and also strong wetsuit-induced resemblance to sausage in casing!).
For the first few miles of the bike, my legs were incredibly tired - I've never felt that so much before, and I think it may have been due to relatively cool temperatures. (The water was perfect, by the way - about 70, very comfortable with wetsuit and I rather wished I hadn't been wearing one, it is more relaxing swimming without!) Once I'd warmed up, it was better, but this was where mental fatigue really kicked in. I had only reassembled my bicycle about 20 min. before race start, we had had so much travel and tiring things to do, I did a quick test ride but this is my new bike, all arrangements are new, and my hydration was not actually accessible, nor could I see the face of my Garmin for HR/distance/time - I was also, independently, having a huge amount of anxiety about getting lost on the bike course.

(In a race this small, it's all just modest signage, no volunteers on the course whatsoever, either for bike or run.)

Fortunately there was a guy I'd been swimming with throughout who was also a similar speed cyclist to me, so I had reassurance for quite a while that I wasn't lost, and we exchanged periodic banter and encouragement. I was the stronger climber, but he lost me in the last part of the course, which has a net downhill - by this time it was raining pretty heavily, and I was just completely mentally tapped out. Very much ready for bike to be over - I haven't had this feeling in my three previous races this season, though it characterizes all previous years of triathlon experience, and it was dispiriting to be having it again (partly underfueled, I think, but more just the effect of fatigue).

I was riding my new tri bike as if it were a road bike, mostly! It really is a lovely bike and I am going to keep working on riding it properly. It probably exacerbated fatigue slightly that it wasn't the bike I know really well, but I was super-glad to get such a good chance to get more of a feel for how the gearing works on hills (I just have a big & small plate on this bike, as opposed to a triple on the road bike). I followed Joanna's advice and rode a lot on the big ring, it felt great. By the end I was increasingly sure I had gotten lost, as it all seemed to be taking longer than I had imagined (cautious descending on rainy downhills); hugely relieved to come back to vaguely familiar terrain and realize I had not after all gotten lost.

This action sequence shows how very happy I am to be finishing the bike safely - the face I am making in the last picture is to tell the race support folks how horrible the bike leg was, and how excited I am to be setting off on the run!
Runwise, I made the bad intersection call pretty early on, I wish I'd had the paper map with me but it was so rainy it probably would have disintegrated (I could have had it in a plastic bag). My geographical incapacity means that I can use an actual map but I can't remember what a map said in relation to things I am seeing in the world - so I was already a mile into the wrong-way loop before it became clear (thanks to a helpful racer in opposite direction, but also to race director who was checking out the course in his car). He gave me his blessing just to keep on this way, he thought the course would be well-enough marked (he said later that he was second-guessing himself in hours following, but it worked out OK). The nice part of this was that it meant I saw all the other runners, including Liz at about her mile 8 and my mile 5. I was in a good mood the whole way, actually; 2 volunteers in truck came and found me around my mile 8 and gave me a copy of aforementioned map, with words of advice about which intersections were tricky, and it was all good. (Unmanned aid stations worked well - there is a table with water, Gatorade mix, gels, fig newtons, etc. and you take what you need.)

All in all, a really beautiful day: an unusual race, a stunning location (swim is particularly excellent), and blessedly cool compared to most triathlons I do. I was the last finisher but truly it is a race one should be pleased just to complete! Thanks to Liz for organizing. Resolution for next races: build in more slack so that I am not going into the thing with such overwhelming fatigue! (I really was at the end of my tether by Friday night around midnight - it is a silly situation to get oneself into voluntarily.)

7:45 total time on course; cumulative splits 2:29:17 for swim, 4:48:53 for bike (2:19:35 split), 7:45:53 for run (2:57:01 split). Week 9 total hours: 14:20. (Haven't "built" properly, couldn't fit in any exercise Wed.-Fri. and was traveling again Sun. This week is recovery week, I'm traveling to Cayman on Thursday very early and probably won't sleep much if at all Wednesday night - so I'm not worrying about what exactly I do in next few days, goal is just not to get sick/overwhelmed & to pick up again with double spin Saturday morning and a long ride outdoors Sunday.)

(All pictures from this page. Not sure that this really does justice to the beauty of the surroundings - to some extent, all race photos look the same, lots of wetsuits and swim caps in the beginning, bicycles in the middle and cheery trudging at the end! But amazing backdrop of hills and farms, really beautiful rolling green agricultural country, and a stunning lake with mountain backdrop.)