Monday was the date of our second Stress Test; an attempt at close to race distance, with no rest, etc, and this time, Lisa joined Jeni and Dave for the festivities!
We put the kayaks in at the 3rd street dock (by the Resort) and Bill Buley, an Ironman, and one of the main reporters for the CDA Press was at the docks to interview us and take some pictures… FYI, we were FRONT PAGE of the Press on Tuesday, with a great story on Adventure Racing, and our team in particular!
We set out, the girls in the twin, Dave in a VERY small single, and it was a ROUGH paddle! 20 mph wind, waves breaking IN to the kayaks, and a surprise vessel inspection by the sheriff checking for PFDs and whistles, of which we were whistle-less (we only got a warning!) made for a tough day. 1:22 for 5 miles, and we answered the question of whether a 2 person is faster than a one person (especially a short boat) and the answer is a resounding YES! The girls kicked my ass!
Another drawback we found is that Jeni and I, without proper kayak suits, like the one Dave so thoughtfully bought Lisa for Christmas, got a mite chilled, sitting in 3 inches of COLD water… Jeni couldn’t feel her legs, and almost had to abandon the rest of our fun afternoon, but a few minutes in the car and some dry pants helped, and she motored on.
We next ran 5 miles, doing the Tubbs Hill-Boardwalk-NIC dike road loop in an easy :56 minutes, including 2 miles on the beach, before transitioning to the bikes. We biked 17 miles, including a couple of good sized hills. We also mountain biked from the top of Higgins Point down to the water, and the ran the bikes back up to the top through the dirt and brush, which is also challenging!
On the return trip, we stopped and ran the fitness challenge course, simulating what it might be like if we encounter a ropes or similar obstacle, before finishing the bike. Then, as always, the fun started, and we did the 5 mile Tubbs-Boardwalk-college loop again, with substantially more fatigue… Lisa wasn’t sure if she could do it at first, but, with true FART grit, she made the entire way, without a single pause!
In all, we did about 5:15 work in about 6:00 total time, with transitions, in pretty cold, rough conditions! Not too bad, really!
We also learned a few lessons:
>Have the right clothes for kayaking! It’s worth it to be warm and dry!
> It is NOT a waste of time to take a few minutes to change into dry shoes and socks, rather than trying to kayak in them, and then suffer for the rest of the day. Maybe in summer, in a short race, with mesh shoes, but in training, or for a longer race, TAKE THE TIME! Change socks when you need to… we’ll wait for you!
> Have a blanket and towel in your stuff, at least at our vehicle. Also, handwarmers work well, generally (see kayaking note below) but can cause burns if put right on sensitive skin for several hours…
> Drink lots of electrolytes, along with regular water, and try to eat a variety of protein, fats and limited carbs. You really have to get used to drinking along the way! Dave did WAY better this time, and there were no cramps etc.
> Plastic bags don’t protect your socks from getting wet! 🙂 Lisa’s SEALSKINZ waterproof socks work great, though!
> Hands get cold kayaking, and we haven’t found a perfect system yet, including handwarmers (gloves are tight so only the hands stay warm) kayak gloves (they help, but still get cold) or any other system. Hopefully as the water warms, this will be less of an issue.
> Wearing PFDs and helmets, even though mildly uncomfortable, make up for it with increased feelings of safety, and save you from $50 tickets from the sheriff! (Not to mention if we capsized is this water, it’s doubtful we could make 100 meters before drowning… serious!)
> What you eat does affect how you do gastrically… you need to play with what to eat before the race (CRUCIAL!) as well as during, to avoid the “rumbles.” All the literature says that if you don’t eat before, you WILL bonk… it’s not if, it’s how soon, and how bad. Lots still to learn about how it affects us as individuals, as well as what you can stomach during, and while on the run. We did try some chicken broth as well, as sodium seems to be a major factor in Jeni’s research as well.
> Biking, especially being able to bike at 12 – 15 mph for 20 miles or so (give or take going up/down the hills) takes practice, both for toughening up your butt (we got gel seats for our bikes, and it’s WAY better!) but also to figure out the gearing to push hard without killing yourself. On the bike, you can get left behind REALLY quickly, so everyone needs to ramp up their biking until you can go at somewhere between 3:40 and 5:00/mile for a good hour or two. WARNING, WARNING… I’m not kidding! The good news is that it seems to improve relatively quickly, compared to running, for example. Also, the right gear makes a real difference in biking… I can’t wait to get rid of my “boat anchor,” as the bike shop owner called my $39 pawn shop mountain bike… April 11 is the day! Jeni also just bought her “real” bike, but I’ll let her tell you more about it! It’s a sweet ride, though!
> Trail riding is WAY different than on the road. Practice putting your feet down! Also, practice running UP hills and dunes with your bike, a necessary skill, or so I’m told.
As for the rest of the week…
Wednesday, Dave biked a fast 6 in the *&%#$ falling snow, and then ran 10 miles, in yet more snow! This is the never-ending winter, it seems, though I know it’s not that unusual… it just seems like we haven’t had this MUCH snow so late.
I’ve been running slow for a month now, working on the aerobic base and my efficiency, but today, I forgot my HR monitor, and just kind of let the legs go, and I felt great! I did the 10 miles with really no stress or major fatigue in 1:22, and that’s with 3 MAJOR hill climbs. I was cruising on the flat at between 7:14 – 7:50, with not much effort, where a month or so ago, 8:00 for 10 miles would have killed me. I’ll be back to slow and steady again tomorrow for another 2 months or so, with only occasional forays into faster pace, and I think I’ll be ready!
We leave for State tomorrow, and I hope to get 4 good runs in in Boise along the river, one of my favorite treks, even if it is in Boise, and then we’ll do a longer workout Monday, trying to catch Jet-Setting Jeni in between trips as she circumvents the globe!
BTW, I’ve got some GREAT plans in store for Bloomsday weekend, and I hope everyone can get here Friday afternoon EARLY evening, as we have plans that night… yes, our first real “Dark” training… try to make it!
Good Training, everyone, and I’d love to see what you’re all doing… remember… your only real responsibility is to have a good attitude, and to make sure your own fitness is the best it can be, so you can hang with the team.