|Sometimes Sour Patch Kids are necessary.|
I rode further and more frequently than I ever have last week in Florida. I logged 226 miles in the saddle over the course of 14 hours and 53 minutes. That was a lot of time for me to bond with my bike. And I feel like that is exactly what I did. I felt the most comfortable and confident on my bike than I ever have. And despite some issues, I feel like I am slowly learning how to handle my bike with confidence and efficiency. The hills in Clermont are good teachers for sure.
From a physical perspective, I felt pretty strong. I didn't cycle particularly fast, but that wasn't the point. The point was to get some solid miles under my belt in a new and challenging environment. Looking at my average heart rate for my rides, it's clear that I was mostly out for leisurely rides, just trying to ensure that I could endure to complete the milage. I didn't fall off my bike (plus ++ for me). I attacked some hills. I spent some time trying aero bars out on the road for the first time! I recovered quickly from my rides. I used a cadence sensor for the first time, and I tried to actually monitor what my legs were doing and when.
From a mental perspective, things were up and down, but mostly up. The biggest issue is that I am just not comfortable riding in a group and trying to draft / work together. I had a bit of an anxiety attack on our Friday long ride, and had to drop back to ride alone after about 20k. The idea of staring at someone's wheel and having someone super close behind me was not an appealing prospect. I prefer to enjoy the scenery and if I have to work hard, to just do it myself. But I have already decided that the solution is actually to go on more group rides. Do the things that scare you! I also had a few instances where a voice in my head (or out loud) said, "Kelsey, you suck at this," or "Why is this so freaking hard?" But I did my best to push those negative thoughts aside and focus on what was going well -- the beautiful scenery, the fact that I have two legs, a heart, lungs, etc. that allow me to ride my bike at all, the opportunity to challenge myself, the sun shining on my face and the wind whipping around me, and the fact that I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone big time. It was truly the first time that I have felt that good and HAPPY to be on my bike. Happy to have to muscle my way up some steep hills (which seemed to always pop up in the second half of our rides). Happy to let my legs carry me all over Clermont and the surrounding area. It was a good week.
My runs were mostly easy, but I had two challenging runs. On my tempo run, my heart rate was crazy high and it was hot, hilly, and windy. Again, I could have succumbed to the negative thoughts in my head, but I pushed through. The long run with the group was another challenge. I wasn't sure whether my psoas was cooperating or not. It was again hot, hilly, and windy. The hills seemed never-ending. I'd get to the bottom of a hill only to start making my way up another. In all, I need to be a bit more consistent about getting all my runs done now that I am home and about 6 weeks from Race Weekend.
Swimming in Florida was bliss. That's pretty much all I have to say. I love swimming outside. It makes me so happy. The pool at the National Training Center is gorgeous and it made swimming such a treat. Plus, as someone who craves my own time, it meant that I had a bit of time alone and away from the group, which helped to recharge my batteries during the week.
We also had a fun and informative swim clinic with Sara McLarty. Sara certainly knows what she is doing when it comes to the swim in triathlon. It was interesting to try to implement some of her suggestions, though I think some of them are things that I already do (but not in training, only in racing). Her biggest focus is on speeding up the recovery portion of the stroke, to build momentum and also because the recovery doesn't actually do much in terms of propelling us forward. I think I swim like that in open water and when racing, but may give it a bit more thought now.
|Gigantic chocolate-vanilla, covered in sprinkles cones are also necessary sometimes.|
Spending a week at training camp is the life. When not training, the only thing you are responsible for doing is eating and recovering. I certainly didn't mind the rest and relaxation aspects of the week, and my body definitely needed it given the training I was doing. My nutrition could have been better -- hello, chip cravings -- but overall, it was okay. Now that I'm home though, I am going to do a bit more to focus on my pre- and post- workout fueling strategy. I will share a bit more on Friday about what I ate during my rides and a quick, easy recipe for some portable fuel!