Friday, June 5, 2009

A crazy & busy week

Hi all - sorry for not posting lately, but it's been a pretty busy week on the work front, as well as the challenge of getting in a few workouts. It started out last weekend with a planned long run on Saturday that definitely didn't go as planned. May in Oregon has a habit of fluctuating between summer-like weather and the rainy drizzle that stereotypes the Northwest. The weekend of May 30/31 decided that it was going to act like summer. Which is definitely nice if you want to get in yardwork or relaxing on the deck or spending some leisure time outside, but not if you want to get in a run. On top of that, I made the cardinal mistake of sleeping in - so by the time I got out there, it was already 57 degrees and rising fast.
The run was planned for 12.5 miles - run from home to the Nike campus, run the 2 mile trail at Nike, and run back. For those of you that haven't been to the Nike campus, it has an amazing loop that goes from woodchip trail through forest to pedestrian bridges across the entrances to the campus, to running by the parking garage that has murals of Michael Jordan, Alberto Salazar, Lance Armstrong and others. And the forested part of the trails are quite beautiful!
The run to Nike was pretty easy - but after 5 miles, I realized that it was starting to get just a bit hot outside. The woods on the Nike campus gave a bit of relief, but by the time I got back on open trails and road, I realized that not only was it hot out, but I had gone out waaayyy too fast (9:11). I probably could have kept up the pace had it not been already 70 degrees outside. So on this day, I let discretion be the better part of valor, and cut it short at 8 miles. And have I ever mentioned that running with a fanny pack is nice, because you can keep your cell phone in it and call your wife (who was running errands in the area) and get a nice air-conditioned ride back home?
On Sunday, since I had cut my long run short, I decided to go for a bike ride. Keep in mind, this would be the first ride with the new rear cassette - and it turned out to be a great purchase. While I didn't tackle any big hills during this ride, I was able to find a more comfortable range of cruising gears (53/21, 53/19) toward the middle of the rear cassette instead of crossing up from the large chainring to the larger gears on the rear. And I was able to take on some smaller hills and work on my climbing - I was able to get up and sustain a solid effort out of the saddle for a solid minute at a time. Sure, it's not a Lance Armstrong-type performance, but it's a good sign that I'm getting more comfortable on the bike.
Monday was a rest day, and Tuesday morning I put in an easy 4 mile run before work. Then the challenge started - a two-day trip to Arizona. Wednesday happened to be National Running Day, so I figured I would somehow squeeze in a run down in AZ. Well, after a pretty long day (up at 4:15am, hours of meetings and conference calls) and a fairly large dinner (PF Chang's is my Achilles heel when I travel down to Chandler), I wasn't quite ready to take on the 98 degree weather at 8pm. So National Running Day went on without me.
Thursday was also an adventure, but I missed out on most of it - we had the rare major thunderstorm in Oregon, and on the flight back, we ended up spending an extra 20 minutes circling the airport waiting for the storm to clear. And once we landed, it was drizzly and humid. It made for an interesting run, but I still managed to get my 3 miles in. All in all, I did manage to sandwich seven good miles (~8:45 pace) around National Running Day.
Today was a bit of a rest day, although I did get some "exercise" in... 9 holes of moderately decent (for me) golf. I shot a 51, which was only 2-3 shots of my best round of 9. The funny thing is that my friend Bryan and I got paired with another random pair. And one of those random folks turned out to be my in-law's across-the-street neighbor. It made for some fun discussions.
The plan for this weekend: long ride tomorrow, then maybe an easy run or swim on Sunday afternoon. I'm shooting for a 3 hour ride tomorrow, and it looks like I should be able to ride out to the lake where the swim leg and first half of the bike leg of my impending half-Ironman will be held. So I started doing some research on the tri course. I knew that the bike was supposed to be "challenging", and the new run course for this year was also a bit hilly, and here's what I found for the bike:

That doesn't look so bad! But I know that I've had problems with MapMyRide before, giving false elevations... so let's see what says:

Yes, the mileage is off by about 30% for some weird reason, but the elevation looks pretty accurate: total gain of 4000+ feet. And look at that isolated hill (which is really around mile 42)... nasty. Looks like it'll be a good idea to get some time on the roads out there before August 16th. I'm not planning to do that this weekend - just checking out the first few miles of the bike will be fine - but I've got two more long rides scheduled between now and the tri... better get out there and find out what I've gotten myself into. And right now, I don't even want to see the elevation gain and loss on the run.

I hope everyone out there has a good weekend and is able to get outside. I'll let you know how the long ride goes next time I check in...

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