Race the River Training Takes Off!

…like a meandering herd of grazing sheep.

Yesterday was the start of training. I’m using the same training plan I used – and widely complained about – last year. It’s free, it (mostly) automatically loads onto my Training Peaks and Outlook calendars, and I already know when it’s ugly and stupid. I say “mostly” because the swim workouts show up as notes, rather than workouts. And one of the ugly and stupid parts of it is the fact that the workouts on Garmin cannot be sent to a Garmin device. I have to re-create the workout and then load it. On the plus side, that means I am creating my own workout.

I consider this a positive because at this point, I know what works for me and what doesn’t. HR training intervals are not a great way for me to train, because of the lag between the sharp increase in activity and the resulting heart rate increase showing up on the device. Also, my heart rate zoooms up for the first interval or two, and then I spend the rest of the workout feeling like I’m dying when I’m still in the middle of HR Zone 3 (low-150’s for me). What works better for me is increasing my cadence (a good idea generally because at my endurance pace I’m in the low-160’s) or my pace; but both of these options only work on relatively flat runs.

Yesterday’s workout was supposed to be an easy run, but at risk of sounding arrogant, I believe I’m past that. Also, to me, an “easy” run is a much slower pace than what Garmin is thinking – 13:30/mile or so, as opposed to 10-11:00/mile. I opted to focus on cadence, so I set up intervals with a minimum cadence 170 for four minutes and a one-minute recovery. I was impressed with myself: I did the first four intervals fairly well, but I struggled with the last one. That cadence gave me a pace between 10:00-10:30/mile. It felt like I was struggling, but with the exception of the first interval my average heart rate was in the low 140’s. I will keep up with this workout. Given that this race has a flat course, I’ll probably focus on this kind of workout instead of hill repeats. I’d like to be able to keep my cadence up even with a slower pace and a lower heart rate. If I keep at it, that should follow.

I planned to go to the club after work for a strength training workout. Alas, the fates conspired against me. In the interest of getting to the club more quickly, I headed to US 395’s bridge over the Columbia River, known to locals as the Blue Bridge. The tricky thing about this route is that the on-ramp is on the left side of the two-lane highway, and the right-lane off-ramp is at the other end of the bridge. The river is a half-mile wide, so there’s not a lot of time to move right, and many people drive in the right lane to give the folks merging onto the highway room to do so. However, this bridge is always a mess during peak travel times, and people are generally cooperative and will let folks merge.

Yesterday, though, the traffic approaching the Blue Bridge was backed up about eight blocks. I assumed there’d been an accident on the highway and I headed to the alternate route, the Cable Bridge. The Cable Bridge route is the same distance as the Blue Bridge route, but the Cable Bridge route is slower because it’s all surface streets instead of being mostly limited-access highways. As I was heading toward the Cable Bridge, I noticed a lot of traffic coming from that area, but I figured it was still worth a try.

Cable Bridge with Green Bridge
Cable Bridge, with the Green Bridge it replaced in the background

 

Nope. Local law enforcement was blocking access to the bridge. I checked their Facebook page, and it explained that there was a seven-car pile up on the Cable Bridge. Currently, the Cable Bridge is one lane in each direction, and there is a concrete barrier separating northbound and southbound traffic. A seven-car pile up means seven vehicles going the same direction in the same lane on a half-mile long bridge managed to tangle themselves up on a day when the road was bare and dry.

I headed back toward the Blue Bridge, but after driving three blocks in twenty minutes, I decided to give up on the workout. It wasn’t on the calendar, but I had the time and I wanted to get one done this week. (This is a busy week – more on that below.) The Hubs and I are doing Pasco’s Taco Crawl this year, and I thought we were going to go Taco Crawling when he came home from work. I didn’t want to keep him waiting, so I wanted to be home by 7 p.m. (At 5:48 p.m., he sent me a text telling me he’d stayed home from work after his dentist appointment and he didn’t want to do the Taco Crawl because his mouth didn’t feel good. Really wish I’d known that earlier in the day.)

Today is the practice 5K for Girls on the Run. The team’s head coach is having some medical issues and she’s not supposed to run. Normally, she’s much speedier than me and she would have no trouble keeping up with the fastest girls. I think she’ll be our rear guard today, and I’ll be plodding along somewhere in the middle. We’ve told the girls that it’s up to them to stay in sight of us. I can’t run with our fastest girls, or even with our slowest girls when they decide to sprint, and I won’t try. Fortunately the route is mostly straight with only a few bends, and it’s impossible to get lost.

Today’s workout is a 1800-yard swim. I would have gotten up early to do it before work, but I have shorted myself on sleep the past several nights. It’s self-inflicted: I was reading The Handmaid’s Tale, and I couldn’t put it down. I was briefly awake at four this morning, and considered getting out of bed to go the club. I’m glad I opted for a few more hours of sleep. I can do the workout tomorrow before court.

Tomorrow’s workout is a bike ride. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to ride home from work or if I’m going to drive home and ride after work. I’m debating taking Friday off so I can bake bread for the Team Nathan bake sale (it’s the next day). I meant to bake on Sunday, but I started feeling queasy while in church Sunday morning. I threw up, went home, threw up again, and spent the rest of the day on the futon with the cats.

We’re hoping to Taco Crawl tonight. We have eight tickets left, and we have to vote by Friday or Saturday. We can do four tacos each night, so we’ll need to crawl both tonight and tomorrow to evaluate all of the participants.

We’ll be driving to Spokane on Saturday in preparation for Bloomsday on Sunday.  Saturday’s workout is an easy run, but I’d like to move that to Sunday – an easy 12K run with 45,000 others – and move Sunday’s workout to Saturday. That would mean a two-hour bike ride with a ten-minute Brick run. I don’t believe my contact patch is prepared for a two hours in the saddle. Maybe an hour-long ride tomorrow will help. Maybe I’ll do an hour-long ride on Saturday. I’m skipping the Brick run, though. This is week one, and the race is still eleven weeks away. No need to start doing Bricks right now.

Normally I start a training program with great excitement and I stick with the plan. I’m a little too busy to do that right now. Girls on the Run training sessions are Mondays & Wednesdays, 3:30-5:00 p.m., and we have a make-up session this Friday. The end-of-season 5K is the 20th. Girls on the Run means I’m taking time away from work, not training, but it also means I have to be careful not to double-up run workouts if I’ll be running with the girls. And I can’t ride my bike from the office to the school (it’s in Richland, about 20 miles from work), so I have to adjust bike workouts. After the 20th, I’ll have a little more flexibility.

Oh, and I’m supposed to clean the church’s kitchen this week, too.

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