To say I've been pleased with the way training has been going would be a huge understatement. Each morning when I wake up I'm excited to see what challenge Coach Orton is going to present me with, each day is an opportunity to improve, to become a better triathlete, to spend a couple hours with a huge smile on my face because I'm pushing my physical limits. The past two days of work outs in particular have been phenomenal. Each day had challenges: diabetes related, time management related and weary muscle related. However, on Sunday and Monday I felt more dialed in than I have at any point over my three year development as an endurance athlete.
We are in the middle of finals for Q3 right now and I've been killing myself to write some bang up papers on a couple interesting topics. Not to bore you with my nerdom but the two papers have been something I call "The Four Principals of Integrating Sustainability Into Your Supply Chain," and another on "To Patent or Not To Patent: Competitive Dynamics And Intellectual Property Protection Strategies." Each paper has taken a ton of research, a lot of original thought and their fair share of my energy so getting in my workouts over the past few days has required more of a commitment than usual, but that commitment has really paid off.
On Sunday Eric tasked me with a 40 mile bike ride; the big challenge – a 20 minute time trial right in the middle of the ride. Originally I was supposed to do the time trial on Thursday but with 25 mph wind gusts in Charlottesville it really wasn't possible. On Thursday I did the time trial and averaged something like 27 mph for 10 minutes but when I went to loop back I wasn't as sheltered from the wind around the curves and nearly lost control of my bike a couple times so opted to slow it down and just get in miles.
I picked out a route on map my ride and thought I had found a 10 mile stretch of nice flat roads (like those exist in the Blue Ridge Mountains!). The 10 mile stretch I picked out was nothing close to flat but I decided to TT it anyway and my results blew me away. It wasn't so much that I turned into Alberto Contador on the bike, it was that I attacked hills while my quads were screaming and my heart rate remained pretty constant in zone 4b the entire time. When Coach Orton saw my results he replied "that was a great overall avg HR for a hilly course like this. And even though you got tired , you avg HR for the second half was the same as the first half – good strength endurance. And it makes IM course look flat." That's not to mention that once the course flattened out over the last mile I still had enough juice to crank out a 25 mph average, my fitness is almost to where I want it to be.
Monday was an even bigger victory than Sunday however. Since I'll be traveling to Portland later this week, to hopefully land that job, Coach Orton has the week front loaded with stuff on the bike. Yesterday I had an hour and ½ trainer workout with two, 30 minute intervals in zone 4a – 4b. In January and early February my cycling form was off; my hip would seize during rides and I was putting forth way too much muscle effort for the heart rate I was in. Now that I've been able to get in a ton of miles on the road my form is back and I'm able to get into the higher zones again on the trainer without feeling like someone is taking a sickle to my quads. I absolutely crushed the two intervals, but more importantly was able to salvage a trending low blood sugar.
I was so locked into what I was doing on the trainer that I forgot to take in nutrition for the first 30 minutes of my trainer ride. By the end of my first interval (50 minutes into my ride) my blood sugar was down to 84. In the past I would have become frustrated with this or a little scared that I would encounter a big low. Instead of calling it a day I took in an extra Clif Shot Gel, and drank some extra water to speed up the nutrition absorption process. By the end of my eight minute rest interval (I took an extra 3 minutes) my blood sugar had reached 100 and I knew that 16 point jump meant my blood sugar had rebounded enough to finish up the ride. My second interval went as well as my first and I may have dropped an F-bomb at the end of my trainer ride since I was a bit pumped up about it. So in a 48 hour training period I conquered some hills, salvaged a blood sugar and finally got my heart rate to consistently stay high on the trainer, I feel pretty dialed in right now.