I survived nearly five hours of cycling, followed by a brief break for a gigantic burrito, followed by 2,200 yards of swimming highlighted by four, 300-yard T-pace sets with 50 yards of kicking...as a recovery drill.
My body temperature is literally elevated right now -- I almost feel like I have a fever -- from burning through 3,000-plus calories.
The good news is that I can clearly see improvement, especially on the bike. Today the Fortius (formerly Valley Coach) group rode through Santa Susana Pass (pictured) near my hometown of Simi Valley. I've ridden that pass several times, usually huffing and puffing up both sides (when I'm not sailing off the road down a 30-foot embankment!). Today was different. I casually strolled up each climb, not feeling heavy in the legs or the lungs. My pace hadn't increased from past climbs, but my cadence rose while my heart-rate dropped.
Ahh, progress. When you're putting in this much time and effort, it's vital to savor the moment when you notice it occurring.
The other highlight of my day was swimming with my dad. The past sentence is one I never anticipated typing. But, you just don't know whose life you'll touch when you're trying to inspire and motivate those around you to "try for a tri."
My dad needs a lot of work in the pool, but he actually looked better than I anticipated. From a fitness standpoint, he's clearly trying too hard to do too much, too fast.
Now I know where I get it from! Chip, meet Block.
I suggested he just spend a lot of time early on getting used to the water. Working on breathing. Relaxing. The fitness will come, and eventually, so will technique.
Let's see if he listens. If he's anything like me, and I think he may be, he'll skip Chapter One and head straight to the back of the book for the toughest problems.
Regardless, I truly enjoyed serving as "coach" for my dad. He would say that I've taught him a lot over the years, but I've never really tried to teach in that direct way. So, this is really the first time I can remember teaching him something new. I'm definitely enjoying it, and the longer drive to get my swim workout in was time well spent.
I started typing that my reward for our swim session was a very nice Italian dinner.
The memory of the experience will far surpass it.
312 days and counting.