I am at a critical point in my training. If you’ve been reading my posts you’ve probably noticed that my fitness has dropped and my weight has gone up. This is not the balance to shoot for! I’ve been thinking about how this is a good time to reflect on my struggles to get back into the routine of solid training and healthy eating. When things are going exactly as planned, it can be difficult to realistically explain how to do this to someone. There have been many times I have been asked how I can balance so many things in life and still train for triathlons. When I have my routine nailed down, it can actually feel somewhat easy. After all, it is just what I do. I get up, exercise, go to work, exercise again, and go to bed early so I can do it again the next day. If I have enough time at lunch I may even squeeze in another workout then. I become very aware of the blocks of free time and am diligent about getting the workouts in. That part usually comes pretty easy for me, and my diet tends to be more of a struggle. But even when my diet is going well, it can begin to feel easy. It becomes easy to tell people how to shed those extra pounds since all they need to do is eat fruit, vegetables, and lean meats. Stay away from processed foods. That it is okay to go to bed a little hungry. It is not so easy to tell people this when give into my carbohydrate addiction and gain weight. These principles are simple but I have not proven to anyone (or even myself) that it is easy to do. It may be easy for some people to maintain a low body weight, but I suspect that the majority of people (even thin people) struggle to eat right. I haven’t really learned anything new over the last few months, but the struggles of eating right for a few days, then falling apart and gaining more weight is still very clear in my head.

Last night (Tuesday) I went to my first TCSD track workout with Jim Vance. I told Jim that I had built some momentum over the weekend and that I am now in my Ironman training. He thought my 3 days of momentum was a little comical. I agree that 3 days of exercise doesn’t necessarily mean that there is good momentum. I’ve been struggling for the past couple months in generating the momentum that I now feel. Saturday I rode 69 miles with the Canari-Navy team. Sunday was July 4th, and a very significant day for eating right and exercising. I ran 8.6 miles in Mission Trails, then biked 20 miles. In the evening I went to a barbeque where I didn’t pig out, and finished the night with a hike up Cowle’s Mountain to watch the fireworks. Despite getting to bed late on Sunday, Monday morning Molly and I rode the tandem for a 200K permanent.

The permanent we did was the Rainbow Ramble Prelude 200K. This was the first permanent we did on the tandem in December 2009. This is also the first time we have repeated a route on the tandem, so it allowed for some comparisons. Here are some time comparisons for the two rides, and I included some hill climb data from strava.

 

Dec 2009 

July 2010 

Total time 

9:34 

9:36 

Ride time 

8:12 

8:31 

Del Dios Highway 

7:55 

8:17 

West Valley Parkway 

7:19 

7:47 

Old Castle Rd.

15:04

16:24

Couser Canyon

9:45

12:01

Rice Canyon

20:45

23:24

Torrey Pines

12:08

13:48

In comparison, everything was slower this time around, except we took shorter breaks. The breaks were still fairly long this time because we were chatting it up with a few people. Some people are really interested in talking to us about the tandem. We also stopped to help a family with some mechanical problems on the bike path in Oceanside. They had that desperate look of not knowing what to do. In December we took longer breaks because mid-way through the ride my legs were killing me, probably from pushing it too much on the climbs.

Overall Molly and I felt great on this ride. In December I did not feel good after this ride. I could barely walk afterwards, straining my pes anserine tendon.

This ride marks the completion of my second R-12 award through Randonneurs USA. The R-12 award is for completing a 200K or longer permanent or brevet every month for 12 consecutive months. My first I completed in February 2009. It was definitely difficult fitting the rides in with my work schedule. There were a couple times I almost bailed on the challenge. I remember in the Fall of 2008 I had to bail on a difficult ride because the Santa Ana winds were 30 mph with gusts that were scaring me. I was in my internship, and almost couldn’t fit another permanent in during the month, but managed to get it done anyway. I was so thrilled to have finished the R-12, but also relieved because I found it a bit stressful. I took some time off from it then to focus my time on doing more speed and less distance. In August 2009 I then did a 300K to help prep my legs for Ironman Arizona, and decided I might as well push on for the R-12. This time around was much less stressful because I had more time on weekends than the previous year, but there were still times I felt like bailing on it. The Lazy Lizard Low Down was tough because I had done the Mount Laguna Challenge the day before. I wanted to quit, but there really wasn’t another day in the month I could do a 200K. I was so glad to have that ride done, and am especially thankful now that I finished the R-12. I feel that a challenge such as the R-12 should be easier than it really is. I choose to do it as a way to stay in shape. It definitely helps with that, but I feel it has done more than that for me. Since December 2009 I have done a 200K each month with Molly on the Tandem, so she is now 7 months into her first R-12.

Now that Paris-Brest-Paris is a year away (Aug 2011), and I have Kona coming up in three months, my plan is to increase the number of long rides I do. This month I have three 200K’s planned. I just did one, then on Saturday, July 10, I am doing a 200K with San Diego Randonneurs, and then two weeks later doing another one with Santa Cruz Randonneurs.

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