I am savoring the last 4 weeks of 2007 without a rigid training schedule. My goals for this month are to work on my nutrition, swim like crazy, and to continue building a strong base in cycling, running, and strength training. My race schedule is pretty much planned for 2008 with 2 early-season half-ironman races, IMCDA in June and then IM Wisconsin in September. My main concern for next year is being able to recover from IMCDA and then race IM Wisconsin 11 weeks later.
This fall (it's still fall right?), I have enjoyed a number of early-morning rides around Tiburon, starting in the fog or under moonlit, starry skies, and ending with a gorgeous view (or fog!) as I cross back over the Golden Gate Bridge. Fortunately for my riding (but not for the snowpack), there has been little rain so far. I enjoyed completing 3 rides as part of the Low-Key Hill Climb series--up 84 West from the Pacific Ocean to Skyline, up the "are-you-kidding-me?!" steep Welch Creek climb, and 19 miles up Mount Hamilton to the Lick Observatory. It's been fun to watch my power output gradually increase since I started doing Duane Frank's cycling classes a couple months ago. Instead of focusing only on heart rate, we set our interval intensity on % of max power output. From the beginning of the class a couple months ago, my sustainable max has increased ~50 Watts.
I checked my bike computer the other day and it looks like my little red bike is nearing 10,000 miles. I guess it's okay, then, that I've recently had to replace the rear cassette (again), chain, and middle chain ring (for the first time). This past year, I also had to change all of the cables, the brakes, and pedals. It might be time to get a new seat, as well. I'd love to be able to upgrade my wheels for this season, or to actually be able to buy a tri bike for racing. In the meantime, though, I still love my bike!
My running is going okay, although I haven't been as consistent due to my recent preference to swim or bike. But I have been running at least twice a week and went to my first track practice in ages this past week. When I am in good shape, running is generally my strongest sport; or at least, I generally rank higher in my race run times vs. bike times. Right now, I am running at a somewhat mediocre pace, but am generally comfortable.
Finally, I've designated December as my month to focus on swimming. I'd like to get in 3 practices a week, and more if possible. It took me a very long time to get fast enough running to qualify for Boston, yet I still expect to be a speedy swimmer overnight. I have to constantly remind myself to focus on how much more comfortable I am swimming; also, my great coach and swim teacher Laura Goodwin reminds me that my stroke is much improved. I've had a bit of fun working on my breaststroke, which may be my best stroke. In an effort to improve my swim endurance, I've been forcing myself to do flip turns as much as possible. For you pro's out there it's no big deal, but today I did 2 sets of 4x75 + 300 yards doing flip turns at every turn. Sometimes I come up gasping or just barely brush a toe to push off, but it's getting easier. My main struggle is to keep the flip turn together when I feel tired or out of breath.
I am truly grateful to have the health and opportunity to participate in these activities and look forward to another year of training. I am excited to see what emerges from the Triabetes project as well, and look forward to the friendships and learning that will come from that experience.