This may sound funny but I am more nervous about the 10K than I have been about my marathons or iron tris. There's so much more time during a long race to settle down, get into a groove and even fix things if they don't go right at first. To me, there's more reliance on endurance, my strength, and less on guts and speed, which don't come easy for me. Some may disagree but here's how I view long races vs. short races (Other includes nutrition, weather, luck, etc.):
To improve as an athlete, though, I need to be eating more red and yellow pieces. Any more blue pieces would be like just eating more "fat". It may taste good but it's not going to help me meet my goals. Bringing out more racing guts and speed is mostly mental for me. That is, I know I have some but they're tucked away deep behind some big mental barriers. This week I experimented with a few things to try to break them down.
#1 - Run for your life
Hearing the about Chelsea King's recent murder, I was reminded about Nicole Ganguzza, another young woman who was slain while running on a popular bike path near where I live, and the two times I've been nearly attacked too. You want motivation to run fast? Run past where Nicole's body was found four times and remind yourself how fast you ran when chased by a crazy naked guy and a hooded villain on a bicycle. Not the most pleasant of thoughts but effective for last Thursday's run:
6 mi, get faster every 2: 7:46, 7:54, 7:30, 7:30, 7:09, 7:03
7:29 avg, AHR 172. A solid solo run for me!
#2 - Ride like a roadie
Established group rides can often be very intimidating to newcomers with other riders (mostly guys) all decked out in their fancy kits (club/team uniforms), $$$$ bikes and legs of sinewy steel. Dave and I showed up at an Eastside Cycling Club (ESCC) group ride for the first time last Saturday. Dave looks like a strong rider and fit in right away. Me? I'm sure some of the guys there were probably thinking "Who's this little chickadee? I think we'll eat her for lunch." The A (fast) & B (not as fast) groups started off riding together but then split up on this one stretch of road. Dave was up ahead with the A riders and I got stuck back with a few Bs. When it became my turn to pull, though, Dave just got done with his pull and was now in the back of the A group ahead and sort of lagging to see if we'd catch up. That was just the motivation I needed. I pulled at 23+mph to get the groups back together and then hung on for dear life. Note to self: Do this more often!
#3 - Swim fast or freeze
The lake looks harmless enough but it's hiding a dark secret. No, no lurking gators, amoebas, Lochness monsters or other open water nastiness. The water is just cold, really COLD! And it'd have to be in the mid-90's for two straight weeks for lakes to get even close to 70 so we'll probably have mid to high 50 deg water temps at the Gator Half Iron next weekend too. In other words, get used to it, Princess. I mentioned in my last post trying to find a neoprene swim cap. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one of the cool ones below:
But then again, I'd have to wear a swim cap over it during the tri ... So I settled on a plain "hot head" that I got from a local dive shop.
I know it looks dorky as hell but all swim caps do on me. The important thing was that I got my butt (and head) into that cold water after the group ride to lead some tri newbies on their first-ever open water swim. Did you think I would do it on my own? Man, I tell ya, if you want motivation to swim fast, cold water will do it. If you swim slow, your hands will go numb!
After a long brick (bike-run) workout on Sunday I rewarded myself with another cold dip. This time no "hot head" worn as it was just for my legs. Who needs an ice bath when your backyard pool is 52 degrees!?!
But my legs are feeling good and I think I'm as ready as can be for my 10K on Saturday. Thank you everyone for your advice and input!