Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sunday at the Races: A Fitness Test for One

Sunday I did an indoor triathlon. These are quick, painful and fun. I needed an understanding of where I am relative to others in a more easy going environment. I asked to be in the first (and most competitive wave) and the race organizers didn't seem to mind because I had registered early.

The Swim
I met my lane mate. Nancy, a 64 year old lady who was a solid swimmer. She was nice and we shared a few pre-race laughs. "OK, Nancy. You want to start us out at 1:05/100 and get faster after about 500 yards?" I asked. She just laughed. "If you see me on the bottom of the pool, please grab my hand and toss me on deck as you go by." Agreed, we both laughed. She swam 600 yards. Not bad at all. The pool was very warm - 84 F. WOW, after 300 yards I was hot and could taste blood in my mouth. I was working really hard, but it is a sprint after all so I pushed through the pain. Funny bit, the photographer was snapping a lot of shots of me and blinding me every time I took a breath on his side. It looked like a guy was hanging with me for the first 300 yards or so - just behind my pace so I kept the heat on. It turns out I had lapped him at 150 and did so again at 300. I didn't really care if I 'won' anything because this day is about my fitness and where I am. Shockingly, the really nice lady counting for me told me, "Nice job. 38 laps in 10 minutes. I think the next closest was 27."

The Bike
The ride was on Kaiser indoor spin bikes. The ones with the "flight deck" of information on them. We were not allowed to go over level 10 on the power setting. This was pretty easy, so rpms would win the day. I parked my effort at 120-125 rpms which was about 220-235 watts. It felt pretty easy but when I surged to 145 rpms it didn't feel right. Since I trained all winter at 90-120 under bigger power numbers, I didn't push beyond where I knew I had been. Could I have done 140 rpms for 20 minutes? Maybe, but at what cost to my knees and ligaments that were not used to that speed? I rode 12.6 miles in 20 minutes which was great considering I couldn't ride with more power. I held the same pace the entire time. Exciting for my April international distance race, but let's see how I do outside on the road.

The Run
"Bob, you are a runner with an interest in triathlon." This has been my theme for the 2009-2010 winter. Near daily lunchtime runs on the tready or in the snow. I'll be honest. I felt slow. I was getting lapped by the fastest three runners who were doing 5:55s or so. In the end, I ran 2.1 miles in 15 minutes or what calculated out to 7:08/mile. So I must have started fast and finished fast because I hurt in the middle... a lot.

The good news: no pain from old injuries that helped me pack on some extra pounds that today are melting away. Another strong couple of weeks of training and I'll be ready to give a strong effort in Florida.

Thanks to all the volunteers at the race and Kim Yessian for swimming another 2800 after the race and doing some aqua jogging. That would have been much harder without you.

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