"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best." - Theodore I. Rubin

Sunday, March 7, 2010

8 days of pain!!

WOW, where do I start?! 8 days ago, on Feb 27th, I woke up at 4:45 am and headed to Tucson for 6 full days of intense triathlon training camp. Day one left me thinking "I DON'T belong here, what am I doing?!"...yet as the days went on I tried to stay positive, learn as much as possible and get fitter. We rode our bikes more than anything else, which was fantastic considering that is where I am the weakest right now. My running was really strong and swimming was decent, yet it was obvious I made the most gains on the bike and I definitely got so much more comfortable/confident on it. I had never ridden in a group before either, so practicing that helped me not have so much anxiety being right near other people, their wheels, etc.

I rode my first 100 miler on Tues of the camp and it was crazy (and also 40 miles longer than any ride I had ever done!)...the total time we were all out on our bikes riding, stopping, etc. was about 7 hours. My 100.5 miles I averaged 17.4 mph which I thought was fine, and afterward I ran 5 miles averaging 6:09's. It was a hard day. The great reward was a group dinner to Oregano's later in the evening :p Thursday was the last and final ridiculous workout of the entire camp. We climbed all the way to the top of Mount Lemmon!!! 25 miles, 6 thousand feet of climbing (up to 8200 feet) and giant delicious cookies and coffee awaited us at the top...At one point I didn't think I was going to make it all the way to the top. My quads were definitely burning, but I tried to take it mile by mile, get up out of the saddle a little bit and kept thinking about how proud of myself I would be if I made it to the top. Paul Cross, one of the the coaches leading the camp, helped me get through the last few miles, encouraged me, etc. and it was awesome. Descending down the mountain was INCREDIBLE. Tons of snow covered the last 10 miles of the mountain or so...it was funny to be in the 70's at the bottom and around 40 degrees at the top! Seeing the whole city of Tucson and the beautiful views made me realize it was probably the greatest athletic experience of my life to date :) Marathons of course area always a great experience, yet the pain from Lemmon was nothing like I have ever experienced, ha.

Next up: 2 races this weekend. Yesterday I ran in the Run For Ryan House half marathon and it was a terrific race! I was really impressed with the staff, the course, the post-race food, awards, etc. I ran the race as a workout due to my legs still being tired from camp, and I averaged 6:11's, so it was good. The first half of the race is uphill, so coming down the main hilly road, you could see the city of Phoenix/Scottsdale, the gorgeous mountains and some hot air balloons sprinkled around the sky. So awesome :)

This morning I raced my first triathlon in 2.5 years and it was my first sprint tri. (600m swim, 12 mi bike and 3.4 mi run)...My time was 1:04:04 and I am not sure on all my splits but I know I ran 5:40 pace for the run and averaged 20.7 mph on the bike. My quads were still fatigued from camp and the half marathon yesterday, haha. It was so fun to race a tri again and practice racing in a wetsuit, which I have never done, and get into that routine of transition areas. Now I am even more excited for Oceanside!!

I have two weeks before the NYC half marathon..woooo hoo!!! I am so excited to go to the city again and hopefully have a new PR :) My foot hurts pretty bad, but all I am thinking about is getting through March 27th and then it's time to take some weeks off from running, get tons of treatment and focus on some other things that I have always wanted to work on as an athlete.

The picture is from the end of the ride up Mt. Lemmon, at the top where we stopped for cookies and coffee. :p