Sometimes things just work out for the best. This weekend is the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon. I was registered but cancelled my July races after Sam I talked about racing vs. training a few weeks ago. I was mainly going to Chattanooga for the experience of the river swim but it has been cancelled due to the high water and speed of the current after all the rain. Another option was going to Augusta for tri camp to preview the course. Same thing – I wanted experience in the water. The Savannah River was something like 17 feet above flood stage at certain parts this week. So, again, no river swim there. They are also getting the rain we had earlier this week.
Sticking to the plan
My plan for this weekend called for a reverse tri this morning. After talking to Sam about options for where to do this, we decided that Lake Lurleen State park was the best place. I tend to forget about the park for some reason but I always enjoy it every time I go out there. My friend Ashley said she would join me. After figuring this out an opportunity came up to this with a whole group – including kayak support. Not reverse, but that wasn’t a problem. Perfect! Most of the group consists of mountain bikers and trail runners but Ashley and I could still ride the roads and run the paths at the park.
Lake Lurleen is beautiful and calm. There were a few fishermen out but the lake was mainly empty at the hour we were there. (We had special permission to swim.) There is a white buoy in the photo which was the first turn. You might be able to see if you enlarge the photo. The other buoy that was used this morning is the best buoy ever – and resulted in a lengthy discussion before the swim about who is and is not a true Disney princess. I didn’t get a picture of it when it was inflated, but here it is:
Belle and company were out pretty far. The total length of the swim was half a mile. I didn’t make the whole half mile. I did get farther than I have on other practice swims this summer. Each time I do and soon I will make an entire practice swim. I think I put my finger on one of the things that has been giving me a hard time with the swim though. My sense of depth perception is basically non-existent because I am blind in one eye. So when I look at the turn markers I can never really judge how far they are and they always look farther than they really are. This is an issue I have dealt with and compensated for my entire life but I really had not thought about it in relation to the swim. Now I can address it and overcome the problem. I know I can swim and I certainly can swim more than half a mile since I do almost every time I am in the pool. And I know I won’t sink. I had a bit of a problem getting into a rhythm this morning too. I was breathing every stroke which I sometimes do when I start out with a group but I couldn’t get back into my bilateral breathing this morning. It was still a good swim.
Transitions? For real?
Let’s just skip transitions. They were done. But we didn’t pay close attention to time this morning.
Riding a hilly mess of a ride
Ashley and I headed out of the park with directions to look for the yellow crank and wheel on the roads. Neither of us knew the route so we were the blind leading the blind, wondering how many hills were “a lot of hills.” Right out of the park there are climbs. Then there were more climbs. But climbs always mean there are also downhills. The climbs were hard and very good practice. The downhills were sweet rewards of over 30 mph and top speed of 41 mph. The ride was beautiful with fairly quiet roads, few dogs who were just confused that we were not stopping to play, and only a short turn on a busier road. I will be doing this ride again. I compared the elevation gain to Augusta and it is pretty close so it will be a good route to practice for September. Ride total was about 23 miles. The satellite didn’t pick up until we were out of the park.
Run, or partially walk
I had to finish with a 30 minute run. After 1:40 on the bike with all the hills, the run was tough but I managed to do some running mixed with walking. Again, good practice and good to transition from bike to run.
Dialing in nutrition
One element I have really been working on this spring and summer is race nutrition and getting it right. Today I did a good job at that. I drank a bottle of Heed before I started and had a gel before the swim. On the bike I had a gel and a Larabar. My only problem was waiting for a stop sign to get the larabar out of the bottom of the bag. I also remembered to take salt tabs today and drank Osmo on the bike. I might have needed a little more fluid on the bike but I managed pretty well and drank while riding instead of having to stop. Next time I will use the Camelbak though. I debated about that this morning but went with bottles since I have two cages on the road bike. In between the bike and run I grabbed a small banana and had some Osmo. The run was short enough and I did not carry anything with me. After I drank fluids and ate greek yogurt and almond butter. I feel pretty good so I think I did a good job with it. I didn’t bonk so that was the main thing.
The group that came out is very supportive. I wasn’t sure how many people would be around when we got back from the ride since it took longer. Gary said they would make sure we got back so I knew someone would be there. But everyone who was out this morning stuck around until everyone finished and we cheered for one another. We hung out under some fifth wheelers because that was the only shade. A supportive group of training partners makes everything worth the effort.