This weekend's weather couldn't have been more perfect. So many friends have been posting about terrific runs and rides. Love it!
And so this weekend is the first of two as we peak for Augusta. It started off with a 68 mile ride in Cartersville followed by a 2 mile run. Yesterday was a 16 mile run, and today a 2500 meter swim in open water. It has been terrific! Add to it a lot of time spent with teammates and friends and well....I can't ask for too much more. None of the activities this weekend have been official group training sessions (GTS), but I still spent a lot of time with my outstanding teammates.
Saturday's ride was 68 miles. One group was leaving at 7 (eh - we left at 7:12) and a second at 7:30. This would be a.m.! I felt strong up through mile 48, and then periodically would get a "legs of jello" feeling. However, it would soon fade (as I have learned) and even towards the end we were averaging 20+ mph on the flats. Seven of us stayed pretty close to each other until the last 15 miles or so when "horse to the barn" syndrome takes over...and you just go as best you can. There is a section at about 5 miles out where you can just put the hammer down...and it feels great after pushing through all the hills. Then getting of the bike to run....love it, even though it is hard. The transition from bike to run is rough. However, I have great times on my run after I bike (sub 9 minute miles). I know for Augusta I am going to have to rely on my Garmin to slow me down to about a 10 minute mile, or the run portion will not be pretty! If my Garmin doesn't work that day for some reason, I know I can rely on my watch and mile markers. Regardless, I love running off the bike. I think because it is hard. However, I have my nutrition down, and that makes a big difference getting to the run.
Sunday was a run. I ran 16 - a mile or so more than posted, but I wanted a 16 miler to prepare for the marathon I want to do 7 weeks after Augusta. I started the first 8 with two friends - Joanna and Tushar. Most times, the day after a long bike, I run a 10:30 - 11 minute mile. Yesterday we ran a 9:45 average (and Joanna has been injured). It must have been a combination of the weather, flat terrain and company. For the second half I met up with someone else i know from TNT. We have chatted at the last GTS - Duane. I know he has done Ironman triathlons, but I jumped in. We averaged 9 minute miles or so - and he ran with me for 6 miles. I finished the last two on my own. While we were running he mentioned his wife, and it turns out I had been her mentor for Marine Corps Marathon last year! So I get to see Christi on her birthday! Yea. Funny thing was we had met before, but I hadn't put everything together...until Duane and I ran together. Anyway, I was impressed that I could keep up, and hold a conversation with him. He did slow down his pace a fair bit to run with me...and he pushed me along. Always exciting to know you can push yourself just a little bit more.
Today there was a group meeting for an open water swim - 8:30 we met (a.m. again here!). I got to sleep in! Woo hoo! Anyway, I love open water swims. My body and mind hit a zone pretty quickly that I hit in running at about mile 8 (my favorite part of the run). Once you are in that zone you just go...and I went. I will not win a swimming race, but I can swim strong and well, and enjoy it.
All of this is topped off by the fact that before and after each sport I got to talk with friends - hear stories, get to know them a bit. I eat out a lot more than I ever did in the past...all to spend time with my teammates and now friends. I actually value this time as much as training. I get annoyed when I have to pass up these opportunities because a client may call, or I have work to do. This is new. Sometimes I feel like a slacker...but then I remind myself that there is more to life than work. Work is important, but it is not everything, and everything in my life should not bow to work. I know many would disagree with me. I spent many years of my life that way. If I find a job I am passionate about things may change, but for now it works for me. For now I am grateful for the opportunities I have to reach out and meet others. For now I am grateful to be a part of something bigger than me, and bigger than what my goals are. For now that all makes me very happy.