My body finally said, "Enough is enough!" during my morning Tour de Valley bike ride. Though the statistics from my ride indicate otherwise, it felt like I was cycling in tar. I actually rode faster this Tuesday compared to last week's session by a *whopping* .1 mph (sarcasm intended!), traveled nearly 2.5 miles farther (though I rode seven minutes longer) and climbed an astounding 20 more feet. Despite the slightly improved week-to-week performance, it felt like I was working much harder today even though my average heart-rate was actually several percentage points lower this week as well. Why is that?
For me, a surefire sign of fatigue occurs when no matter how hard I try to gain speed, my heart-rate remains at a lower rate, almost a full zone lower. It doesn't add up though. I slept well the night before and enjoyed a rare off-day from training on Monday. My nutrition wasn't terrible either. Here's what I ate:
-- Eggs, bacon and pumpkin pancakes for breakfast
-- Cinnamon-raisin toast with peanut butter, apple and cheese for lunch
-- Clif Bar for snack
-- "Healthy" Chinese food for dinner (OK, it was about as healthy as Chinese food can be!)
-- Protein shake with frozen organic berries and two tablespoons of ice cream
Granted, I could have eaten more greens. No doubt there. But I did have Omega-3 Oil-infused Carrot Juice from Trader Joe's, so leave me alone!
Despite not being able to figure out exactly what's going on, I decided to skip my evening swim in favor of a massage from LA Body Mechanics and Fortius teammate, David. It will help me going into my Malibu Triathlon race this Saturday, and I can make up the swim tomorrow morning anyway.
Ah, the Malibu Triathlon.
This used to be my Rose Bowl of triathlons. The Grand-Daddy of Them All. The Nautica Malibu Triathlon is special to me because it marks my first triathlon. We always remember our first, right? I can still recall how nervous I was. How I bought a hotel room 20 minutes away to make sure I would have enough sleep the night before the event.
(Pause...I'm re-reading this and I just realized how much of a double-entendre this entire section is! Wow! Mom, I'm talking about triathlon I swear!!!)
How I looked like Charlie Sheen's character in "Platoon" when he went on his first jungle patrol -- loaded up with junk I'd never actually need but other people told me I would. Practically fainting from all the unnecessary weight in my transition bag. Towel to dry off. Gloves for a 18-mile bike ride. Tupperware to dip my feet in after the swim to clean my feet. And the extra food on my transition towel. Oy.
I actually paused to eat an entire banana in T1 before venturing out on the course. That was after toweling off completely from the swim.
And I remember how proud of myself I was for finishing my first race. Such elation! Nevermind the time was 1:44 and change for a half-mile swim, 18-mile bike and a 4-mile run. I was officially a "TRIATHLETE" and that's all that mattered. Except that I vowed to complete the Olympic triathlon course the following year (2009).
"Aw, you completed your very first triathlon! That's nice, Ryan. Now get on to the next big goal."
Yep, that's sort of how I roll in general.
Last year, I trained practically all year for Malibu Olympic. Or "all year" by my own definition at the time, which meant no more than five days a week, tops. No double workouts. Certainly no bricks.
I saw real progress in my training, finishing the Olympic course in 2:44.
But for both Malibu triathlon experiences, it was about something more. The challenge loomed large. The Unknown was even larger. Could I finish? What if I cramped up? What if I got a flat? What if I was the slowest in my age group?
Questions, questions, questions. All questions that led to a heightened sense of exhiliration when I finished the events. Relief! Joy! Pride.
Which brings me to this year's Malibu Triathlon event. It's a blip on my training radar. In contrast to last year, I haven't been on the bike course for several months, probably since the Amgen Tour rambled through Malibu and Agoura this past spring. I have a goal time of 2:25 for this event, but even if I don't hit it, it's no big deal. Ironman is the real prize this year. But honestly, I'm a little sad about that. I miss the excitement and anticipation of the Malibu Triathlon. I miss the wonder and speculation. The naivete, so to speak.
Now, all that is put on hold for November 21, 2010.
Though I hope to call upon a little bit of the magic of my first time to make this event just a little more special.
Geez, I've become a triathlon slut!
73 days and counting.