Planning out the Summer

I’d devoted so much effort the preparing for the Richland Half Marathon and the St Patrick’s Day 10K that I hadn’t spent any time looking ahead. I have several other races already on the calendar scattered throughout the summer and early fall, but I hadn’t set up a training schedule.

I love the planning end of it. I know it’s a quirk – I suspect most people do not enjoy this aspect of training. I’m the neurotic over-planner type. The Hubs has learned to accept this, and he’s come to embrace it. He’s learned that if I plan out our vacations, we will have lodging and a rough itinerary arranged ahead of time. I’m not as spontaneous as he is, but I leave a lot of flexibility for frolics and serendipitous finds. I need to know where I’m sleeping, though, and I have to have a rough idea of what I’m doing each day.

That sounds like a drudge. I’m perfectly okay with a day’s plan being “lounge around the camp site until the sun warms our bodies, and then figure it out.” But I have to know that’s the plan.

My summer & fall calendar looks like this:

April 23rd – Spring into Summer 5K. My goal for this race is speed. For the first time ever, I’m going to warm up prior to the start of the race. I want to see how fast I can run 5 km.

May 1st – Bloomsday 12K. My goal for this race is to improve on my previous times. I’ve run it twice. Saying you’ve “run Bloomsday” is a euphemism unless you’re in the first two start groups – the pros and the elites. Nearly 50,000 people do Bloomsday. If you try to run the entire distance, you’ll run at least 15km because you’ll be constantly dodging other runners. I don’t even try to run the first mile or two. The Hubs walks the course, as a lot of people do. I start off with him. Once it thins out a bit, he gives me a kiss and sends me on my way.

Last year’s time was a little slower than the previous year, but I was in training for my triathlon season, and my coach prescribed a certain pace for the run. It worked – I felt much better after the race than I had the year before – but I was a little slower. This year, Bloomsday is a stand-alone event. I plan to prepare by using the half-marathon training plan I used leading up to the Richland HM. I was so gushy over my pace for the St. Patrick’s Day 10 – I credit my relative speediness to the HM training. I’m hopeful it’ll work for Bloomsay, too, despite the differences in the courses. (Bloomsday has two notable hills – Cemetery & Doomsday. Cemetery is pretty easy, but I used to hate riding my bike up Doomsday hill. It’s only 3/4 of a mile, but it averages 6.5% grade. That’s no Manayunk hill, but it’s a climb nonetheless.)

July 24th – Race the River Sprint Triathlon. I did this race last year, and my finisher’s medal is still hanging from the rear-view mirror in my truck. It is the ONLY open-water race swim I’ve ever done in which everything went well: no panicking, no back-stroking, no nausea (I nearly puked during a swim the month before), no leaking goggles. I was even in a swim scrum – someone swam over my legs, I got kicked in the chest, and I cannot tell you how many times someone grabbed my feet or kicked my hands – and I never panicked. I wasn’t the last person out of the water – a first! – so I was giddy with excitement during the bike leg. The bike leg was right up my alley: mostly flat, with a series of technical turns. There was a hairpin turn, numerous 90-degree turns, and a bunch of roundabouts. I’m a pretty good bike handler on asphalt, and I slayed the bike leg. I knew I was going to fast: I kept telling myself to slow down or I’d cook my legs and die on the run. Finally, the happy part of my brain said “STFU – I’m happy, I’m loving this bike course, and the run can SUCK IT!” And yeah, the run sucked – I walked almost all of it – but it was worth it.

I was so happy after this race that The Hubs suggested we skip the Pine Hollow Sprint (the place where I got nauseous during the swim and had a less-than-helpful “guide” out on the water; the bike & run legs sucked for me during that race, too) and plan to return to RtR instead.

I don’t have specific goal for this race at this point. I don’t want to get my hopes up too high. I’d love for the swim to go as well as it did last year, but it’s hard to predict. It was very hot last summer, so Lake Coeur d’Alene was unusually warm. I didn’t bother with the wetsuit at any of my races last year. (I’m comfortable racing without it as long as the water temp is 68F or above.) We’ve had a much snowier winter this year, so the lake may be receiving snowmelt water into July, which will keep the water cooler.

The important thing is that I have just enough time between Bloomsday and RtR to train. I had a coach last year – I was training for an Olympic-distance triathlon on Labor Day weekend – but this year I’m going it alone. I don’t want to re-use the training plans CC wrote up for me because we realized right before Pine Hollow that I was over-training. I am in better shape this spring, but I don’t want to risk over-training when I’m not working with a coach. I’m not confident of my ability to distinguish the difference between my natural tendency toward melodrama & sloth and the insipient signs of over-training. (My hypertension medication artificially lowers my resting heart rate, so it’s not a good gauge.) I  selected a 12-week training plan for RtR, and it works out perfectly: my training starts the day after Bloomsday.

August 13th – Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Cycle for Life, 65-mile route. The CFF ride is my passion. It’s the only fundraiser event I do. I’ve settled for the 19-mile route the last few years because my cycling suffered during triathlon training. Not this year! I not only plan to do the 65-mile route, I hope to do the route that involves Weber Canyon, our local hill climb (6 miles at 6-7% grade).

September 25th – Multnomah Falls Trail Run. I did this last year, and I had a blast. I cannot adequately prepare for this run where I live. It’s about 6 miles, with a 1700′ gain and loss – straight up, straight down. It’s a leg killer. The closest I have here is Badger Mountain, which is only about 1000′ gain, and it’s no where near as steep. I have to go into Multnomah Falls prepared to suffer – and I will! I just love what the descent does for my leg strength, though. My goal is to beat last year’s time.

October 1 – Leavenworth Half-Marathon. Multnomah Falls is essentially my last training run in preparation for Leavenworth. Our plan is to spend the week between Multnomah Falls & the Leavenworth HM camping along the Icicle Creek. My pre-race week will involve mountain biking and hiking – a good way to R&R the legs while keeping them fresh. At least I hope it is!

This is a flatter course than the Richland HM, so my goal is to beat my Richland time. It’s higher in elevation than Richland, but I will have spent a week in town: my body should be ready.

I’ve done my workout calendar through October 1st. It seems a little crazy to have everything planned out so far in advance, but it helped me develop a long view of this race season. I need this motivation to inspire me to make healthy nutrition choices and give me a push into strength training. I know I’ll have to be flexible and adjust as I go along, but it inspires me to see all those marks on all those days.

It’s going to be a great year.



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