Hump Day has come and gone... and power in numbers
Too busy to actually get this post out on Wednesday, so what's another day?
I have gotten in the workouts I have needed this week, just fewer than normal (my idea of a taper for a "B" race). Runs have been ok, Tuesday's swim was hella good for me, and last night's bike ride was a beast. I have been pretty dedicated to the Wed Night Atlanta Cycling ride since I began group rides this year. Last night there were three really nasty accidents within the first 9 miles of the ride. The first two crashes there were multiple riders that went down, but everyone was able to get up and keep going. This slowed down the pace a bit. After we got near the Brookhaven area near the golf course, there was a third wreck where a single rider caught a rut and went down. broke his handle bars, right arm was all messed up, and he thinks he bruised a few ribs. I was in the back of the group (as usual :) and I had to slide to a stop. I have not slid to a stop since I was a teenager with a mountain bike. Almost hit the guy as well. It took him a good 4-5 minutes to get up, and then we got out our tools to fix what we could of his remaining handle bars so he could at least ride back home.
By that time we were so far behind we cut out this three mile loop and rejoined the "B" group (there is not really an official B group, just the large group that falls off from the front about halfway through the ride). Last week my average speed for the 25 mile ride was 17.1. This week doing the 22 mile ride and rejoining with the "B" group I finished averaging 18.3!!!! Please note that although the beginning of the ride was slower than normal, and I probably got a bit of rest in that 5-6 I stayed behind in the wreck, that is a huge improvement. And one reason why.... the group.
There is something about riding in a group that keeps you going, and going faster. I usually always get dropped before the golf course, so I never have a chance to hold on, but cutting off those three miles and staying with the group for the remainder of the ride had my average go up more than an mile per hour. I was in the back of the group the entire time I was with one, but i hung with them nonetheless. One of the "A" group guys saw me after the ride, and said that he had seen that face before, the one that says "I don't know if I wanna throw up, pass out, pitch a fit, have a heart attack, etc." I told him, yup that is what I was feeling and he laughed. If I would have stayed "dropped" and did that three mile loop, I would have been solo and and no incentive other than my own determination to keep going. I would have finished, however, I can guarantee you that I would have not come close to 18.3 mph. It is so much easier to back off when you are by yourself.
It got me thinking last night. While triathlon is such an individual sport, there are so many benefits to training in groups it is ridiculous. There will always be some training items in your week where you will be solo, but you NEED to incorporate some group training as well. Masters swim, group rides, group track workouts or group runs. And get a good mix of people in there with you! Don't just beg your boy/girlfriend to go out to appease you (unless they are faster than you!) Get people of all abilities, and you will all push each other. Definitely make sure that there are people better than you in your group that you can push yourself towards and learn from.
Whether that is joining a team, or the more economical method I employ (hitting up group rides and runs for free), just do it! The gains and benefits are just to great to ignore. Improving your performance while gaining new friends and experiences is wonderful. Hell just go out with you and a buddy and challenge each other when you are out swimming, biking, or running. When my friend James lived in Atlanta we would do that to each other on the bike, please realize when I was pulling he was probably coasting behind me, but nevertheless I was doing the work! And when he pulled, well lets just say I was hanging on to his slipstream for dear life!!! Thanks coach Blaylock!
I have a few more small runs lined up and one more swim tomorrow morning, along with the group swim on Saturday morning in Knoxville. When I got home last night, I got the tri clothes cleaned, made sure that the speed laces on my shoes were to my liking by running up and down the hallway of my bldg a few times. I cleaned my bike (ie wiping excess grease off and cleaning the wheels, taking off a profile design sticker that is fraying and falling off). If nothing else my '05 Specialized Allez will look good this weekend even if I don't ;)
Tonight after I get back from swing dance class, I need to get in a run, and then clean my wetsuit and wipe down my bike rack that has been sitting on the back porch collecting pollen. Put that on top of the car before I got to bed... I am going to get one of those $4 car wash and hand dry deals up the street from me, so it is clean before I put the rack on.
Finally, I was thinking of waiting for this before the team actually announced it, but I wanted to get a head start just in case I needed to make my friends and blogger buddies aware.....
I entered into the mix again! I have been following these wonderful, great, energetic people since the team's inception, and even before that (when the original group was known as team raceAthlete). It has been a wonderful experience to watch these guys grow and perform as a team for this many years, as well as to inspire so many people. I really want to be part of this team and contribute what I have so that the mission of team EvoTri endures. A few of you guys had already figured it out from me eluding to my race season later on in the year, since I would be required to attend 2010 WIBA and Rev3 Cedar Point. Stay tuned! In previous years they have allowed the blogging population and the entrant's friends vote for who they wanted on the team, we shall see how they pick this year.
Will probably be my last blog post before the race, unless I have something important or enlightening to say before Sunday. I am also about a third of the way getting my IronMan race report from 2009 on my blog. While the post itself is not too important, I just want to get it on the site so I have a record of it. I am kind of ashamed I did not get it on the site right after the race, since my training levels dropped off and had plenty of free time.