Training Week: 7/14-7/20

Swim: 12,300 Yards (2:41)
Bike: 194 Miles (9:44)
Run: 24 Miles (2:54)
Total*: 100.5 Points (15:19)
————————————————————————

Swim: Despite hitting the pool more regularly, I am still well behind where I was just a few short weeks ago. It’s dispiriting to see slow splits that I haven’t swam in two months. All week it was a struggle. In swimming, there are commonly workouts in which you just can’t get a feel for the water. I can’t describe what that means, but you know if when you feel it (or, more aptly, don’t feel it). But usually those incidences are more isolated…I’ve felt this way for days. Regardless, success in this discipline is a “long, patience-driven and sometimes frustrating path of years and yards,” according to James Haycraft, whose post sparked quite the swimming debate on Slowtwitch this week.

Spotify on the iPad, Trainer Road, & The Tour

Bike: The highlight of the week was near death at the mercy of a bike hater and his gas guzzler. There I was, riding through the Manayunk section of Philadelphia on perhaps the most bicycle-traversed road in the entire city–it connects two disjointed, paved segments of the Schuylkill River Trail. Though there’s no bike lane, it’s so much of a bike route that large white bicycles with forward arrows are imprinted on the pavement. I was waiting at a stop sign when a dark SUV behind me began honking repeatedly. I eventually threw up my hands in exasperation while waving it past. The truck pulled up to my left, and the driver rolled down the window, hurling obscenities. I returned the treatment, at which point he swerved in front of me onto the curb to cut me off. Luckily I was up on my hoods, so I locked up the brakes and, with a couple feet to spare, stopped in time to avoid slamming his rear passenger-side door.

Furious that he had willfully endangered my new wheelset, I was trembling with rage. I pulled my bike up onto the sidewalk even with the front window, and shakily inquired as to the driver’s problem. A large, graying husk of a man barked with a bastardized Italian accent: “My problem is that you’re biking the f- in front of me. Why the f- are you in front of me?” Me: “Because I’m riding my bike. I’m not impeding your progress…it’s a bike lane.” (In retrospect, “impeding” may have been a bit advanced for this malcontent.) This thread continued–he spewed hatred; I supplied reason–and with cars stacking up behind us, he ultimately decided the middle finger and the f-word trumped logic, and peeled away. Having filed the incident under “Philadelphia cons” and “Colorado pros”, I pedaled on, though I am still disturbed about the reckless endangerment of my wheels.

Altercations aside, improvement on the bike continues to be my training concentration. I did two flat 52-mile rides this week with focus on staying in the aero position and on holding an upper-tempo/lower-threshold wattage level (i.e. “sweet spot” work, close to half-Ironman effort level). This wattage does not feel very “sweet” at all, but the point is to come to know it and know it well, such that holding the pace in a race is second nature. Next weekend brings my first ever cycle race: a 20K TT with rolling hills. Having done no supra-threshold/VO2 Max work on the bike, I am completely unprepared to perform well at such a short distance, but it will be a good chance to get a sense of my 20-minute wattage and a great workout. I am shooting for between 110% of current FTP and 108% of goal FTP.

Run: The hip still nags, but I was pleased to fit in three runs this week. I felt good on Sunday night, when I had what I call an “extemporaneous threshold run”–when the intent to run fast/hard isn’t necessarily there at the outset, but feeling smooth and strong encourages you to gradually increase the pace until you’re running at a threshold pace. A storm moved in and the cool rain gifted a rare respite from the summer heat. Having clocked a controlled 10K in about 38 minutes, I know the fitness is still there. My bike workouts may be helping to preserve my run, since I hadn’t run fast in nearly a month.

Total: This was a solid training week to kick off an important 3-week block in my Pocono 70.3 prep. Next week is more and the week after is more still. Swimming, while a struggle, will come around with consistency. Cycling work continues in earnest. Running remains the wild card with the hip trouble, though I haven’t lost much, and I’ll start physical therapy soon.

*I have a non-standard system for quantifying my training output. (Swim Dist x 4) + (Bike Dist / 4) + Run Dist = Total Points. Listed time is time spent swimming, biking, or running, not rest between intervals, walking, etc.

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