At the end of this coming week, I will be 50% through the 30-week training schedule for Ironman Chattanooga. The hardest training is yet to come -- those 5/6/7-hour bike rides that I learned to dread so much -- but I am happy to report that as of today, I still have not missed any workouts. In fact, I'm still ahead on workouts. I skipped a few rest days last month with the assumption that I would have to miss some workouts while on my 9-day Texas work trip. But what actually happened was that I worked out every day but one in Texas, and double workouts on some days. This is proof that saying "I don't have time to work out on work trips" is a lie. I DO have time, as long as I get an early start and prioritize workouts rather than doing touristy things or napping during the time in each work day that I'm not actively working. I still have one more Texas trip and one more Savannah trip before Chattanooga, but I am now confident that I can manage my time well enough to get workouts in. (As long as I have a sitter for Pip like I did this time. If I had Pip, I do not think I'd be able to get it done because I think I would feel too guilty leaving her alone in her crate in a hotel room.)
Things are going mostly the same in all three disciplines, with a couple of very small improvements.
SWIM: No improvement here. In fact my times are actually getting worse even though I am faithfully doing the 3000-yard workouts my training plan prescribes, three times a week, plus usually a bonus ocean swim on Sunday. The workouts are loaded with intervals and drills, which should be making me better, but instead my recent swims have all been at least 10 seconds per 100 yards worse than before. This is a little concerning when a GOOD 100 yard time for me is 2:35. Still, I've more or less decided that I'm not going to work that hard on improving my swim. I'm sure that with the down current swim in Chattanooga and with the wetsuit, I will be able to make the swim cutoff. I can't afford a coach and I still don't want to go to 5:30 a.m. master's swim class. The one thing I have left to do is get Will to video me swimming and post it in the triathlete group for feedback. Other than that, I will do the workouts but not obsess over whether I'm getting faster or not.
BIKE: I have really been trying to get a new seat. I've tried two loaner seats from Endurance House, but I absolutely can't get the right combination of perfect-sized cutout (big) and seat width (narrow). I tried both of the loaners on two short rides and one longish ride of 3-3.5 hours, and both of them were definite nos. I do wonder why I was able to ride on my regular bike seat for 7-8 hours last training cycle with no major discomfort. What has changed between now and then? Nothing that I can think of. It is totally a mystery. I'm really not sure what to do now. Endurance House is out of seats that might be comfortable for me. I guess I will either try a different bike shop or else order one of those crazy seats online -- the Infinity Saddle or the Bisaddle. The Infinity Saddle is basically just an outline of a seat -- it's practically all cutout. The Bisaddle is fully adjustable in front and back. The problem with both of these is that I would have to figure out how to adjust them myself, and as everyone knows, I suck at that. It's totally possible that I would think they weren't comfortable when actually they would have been if I had been able to adjust them properly.
Changing a tire... as of tonight, I have changed a tire, mostly by myself. It is the hardest thing in the world for me to learn, and I can still smell rubber on my fingers while I'm typing this even though I scrubbed my hands as soon as I was done to get all the mechanical ick off. It looks so easy on You Tube videos and when I watch someone else do it, but I am all thumbs with tire levers and tire beads. (Seriously. I am a person who never really learned how to cut things with a knife and fork. I'm pretty convinced there's a tiny hole in my brain where mechanical/spatial connections are supposed to be.) Nevertheless, I left for Texas with the wheel off the bike and the tire and the tube next to each other on the floor, and the wheel is now back on the bike and -- I think -- ready to ride. True, there is one little tiny piece of something that I couldn't remember how to put back on. I'm sure it's important, so I didn't throw it away. That's good, right? Anyone working on helping me learn to change a tire deserves a medal, that's all I have to say.
I have still not completely given up the idea of buying a different bike. Will it help me make the cutoff? Who knows? Part of me thinks I'm not a good enough cyclist to get my money's worth out of a better bike. The other part of me thinks that there has to be a difference between a 10-year-old bike that cost $800 new and a brand new bike that costs $2000 new. But do I have $2000? I don't know. Define "have." Could I come up with it? Sure, as long as I don't mind depleting emergency savings. Is a new bike an emergency? Maybe. What would I even buy? Tri bike or better road bike? Since Chattanooga has hills, would I be better off with a better road bike? These are the kinds of things that keep me up at night. (Not really. I work and work out for so many hours that NOTHING keeps me awake at night. It's great.)
RUN: Nothing new here other than that summer heat and humidity descended on me in Houston and I had a couple of slow, crappy runs. I had been at Zone 2 heart rate at 8:45 miles and suddenly 10:00 miles were Zone 2. I know that is just a thing that happens with extreme heat and humidity and I should just accept it. For the most part I am. I am still good at running off the bike, thank goodness. Considering all the things I suck at, I'm very glad to have one important thing that I'm good at.
One other piece of progress: I registered for an Olympic distance triathlon at Fort DeSoto on July 13. Olympic distance is 1/2 mile swim, 20-mile ride, and 10K run. This is a big step up from sprint distance, but still not big enough to be intimidating although I'm sure it will be plenty hot on the run. My goal is to have the bike seat, as well as the question of "should I buy a new bike," settled before that race, and also to buy a tri suit. I really need to get on that business of buying a tri suit. If I achieve no other goal before the race, I want to achieve the goal of buying a suit.
That's what's new in triathlon training land. Race report to come in 3 weeks.