I was meeting Jim again on Sunday at Jackson Station for a long run session. Jackson Station is about a mile and a half from my house. I was not sure about running to the station and back with a long run in between. I grabbed my old road bike and puffed up the tires. This bike happens to have flat regular pedals so I could just ride the little bit down to the station and not have to mess with any cycling gear. This bike was my first road bike and it has racked up a ton of miles. The chain is spent, the cassette is worn – but it still looks nice. I had a wreck on this bike last summer when the chain bounced off of the sprocket and got sucked in between the crank and frame. I went down hard (got a dent in my helmet) and got lots of rash on my arms and back. The chain would pop off from time to time – especially when starting up a hill and having to apply a lot of force to the pedals.
Well, leaving my driveway the chain popped off and I got a deep sprocket bite on my leg. It looked like a whole tooth went into my leg about an inch above my ankle bone. I laid the bike down and ran into the house and put my foot in the sink – peroxide, ointment and a big adhesive bandage and I was on my way again. In retrospect, I am happy that the gouge was not on my ankle or on any part of my foot that contacts the shoe – this will not slow me. I only lost about 3 minutes.
I was more careful mounting the bike this time and arrived at Jackson Station just as Jim was pulling up. I threw my bike in the back of his truck (and locked it). We headed towards Clyde Station at a comfortable pace. This was early morning but it was hot already. Jim and I talked some more about Ironman strategies – nutrition, pacing, etc and just generally enjoyed the run. Jim is a faster runner than I am but I may have just a little better conditioning at this point in the year. At the 2 ½ mile mark – about 3/4ths of a mile from Clyde Jim said he was going to walk for just a bit and that I could go ahead and catch back up. I do not do enough tempo runs so I took advantage of the situation. I turned the run up a notch, a big notch, and settled into what is my LT pace – high 160’s / low 170’s on the heart rate monitor. It seemed like forever to cover the distance between Jim and I. He had started running back the way that we had come and I think that I ran at the accelerated pace for about 1 ½ miles. Once I caught back up with Jim I took a drink of water from the fuel belt. With 1 mile to go back to Jackson Station (this would be at nearly mile 6 for me) I decided to pick up the pace again. This time Jim came with me. I could hear his footsteps just behind me. I surged and sprinted even faster but I could not shake Jim. I had one more last ditch effort with ¼ mile to go – I could not hold Jim off. We arrived at Jackson Station and took a breather and a drink. Footsteps gaining on you would be an excellent addition to some of my tempo run music! We saw Chris on the bike and chewed the fat for a few minutes.
It was time to repeat the effort. The pace was about the same but it was hotter and I was more tired. At the same point Jim decided to walk. I told him that I did not think that I would be able to catch him as quick this time. Sure enough – it took me about 2 miles at high intensity to draw even with Jim. Once caught up again I dropped to a more comfortable pace. With about one mile to go – we picked up the pace. In these flat out foot races Jim just has the advantage over me. We rested a little bit more at Jackson Station and talked with Chris and Becky (Robin’s mom and Coach extraordinaire). The total for the day was 13.5 miles in 2:12 (with a big rest in the middle) and this was with incredibly hot and humid weather.
Monday would be a leg rest day and I only swam during lunch. I practiced bilateral breathing again and used the paddles a lot to build strength. I did 10 x 300 yards in about an hour.
In a previous post – Ron over at the blog should i tri asked me about my swim pace goal for my next races. This is an area I have not given much thought. I am just now becoming comfortable in the open water on race day. I swam twice a week last year in open water and once a week this year. This practice is just now starting to transfer to race day – I guess it is has been the excitement and the thrashing around that has caused me to panic a little bit during races. Looking at my heart rate data for some of my races – I am redlining during the swim. In some races I have not had ANY extra aerobic capacity and it I get swam over or jostled then panic has taken over – by panic I mean I am not able to get my breathing under control – I can’t catch a breath – I do not mean panic like I am going to die or anything – it is just the breathing thing but that is scary in and of itself. For me, I firmly believe that I will not win any races with the swim but I sure can lose them. I am just trying to finish the swim in the fastest time possible without getting into the red zone and compromising my bike and run times. At my last 2 races I was able to accomplish these goals. In fact, my swims were ranked pretty high in these sprint and Olympic races and I was comfortable during the swim and at T1. My biggest success in the water has just been from slowing down – by doing this I have actually completed the swim portion faster and fresher. Maybe after I completely drown these swim demons I can work on pacing goals.