... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Mileage Highs!

I biked 10 miles today, all around the Kahala neighborhood then up and over Diamond Head just before sunset. It was truly one of the most beautiful outdoor excursions I've ever had. Everything was bathed in golden light, the mountains were slightly misty, and the colors were incredibly vibrant. The ten miles flew by -- I could have ridden nonstop until it got completely dark.

The view coming over Diamond Head
On a technical note, my mile time on the bike went down by 10 seconds even though the mileage increased by 3 miles, which was a pleasant surprise. I credit a lot of this purely to getting comfortable on the bike and being more familiar with the gears. In fact, I was so at ease that I could almost always reach down for the gears without looking or fumbling or worse yet bobbling and weaving back and forth. Score.

Since I posted the dorky pictures of me in my swim gear, I may as well continue the trend and put up a picture of me all ready to bike! In addition, this should prove that I do in fact wear a helmet, something that had raised some concern when I posted the previous picture of me on the bike. So there you go. Enjoy.

After two official outdoor rides, there are several biking things that I am picking up, and they are as follows:
1. Maintaining the lowest gear possible until you are one step from exhaustion seems to be the way to go on hills. If you shift up too soon, it doesn't provide adequate relief and your legs adjust to the "easier" resistance too fast. If this happens, you'll never make it up the hill. If you wait too long, your legs are so fatigued that no amount of higher gears will save you. Timing is key.
2. Intersections, especially those with turn lanes or stop signs, are scary on bikes. Are you a car or a pedestrian? I am certainly not fast enough to compete with cars, but I am just as easily (in fact much more easily) run over. Should I take up an entire lane if I need to turn across traffic just to avoid getting hit, or should I risk someone not seeing me and try to sneak by between cars? For now, although I'm sure everyone hates me, I am choosing the former, because I look way better in my dorky bike gear when I'm not smeared across the pavement.
3. Wearing bright colors is the only way to go. Halfway through my first ride I realized that my dark brown shirt blended in frighteningly well with the foliage surrounding me and vowed not to make the same mistake again. As you can see from my picture, I've learned my lesson.

Yesterday was another victory for me as I ran 4.76 miles, the first 4 miles of it without stopping to walk once! That is the longest I have run without walking so far, and I ended up at 10:46 mile pace, even with the brief walking break, which is much faster than any pace yet for comparable mileage. I found that I seem to have another plateau point at around 32 minutes, when the discomfort of running peaks and suddenly my breathing calms down, allowing me to continue in much less pain. Good to know, because now I can push myself to the 35 minute mark knowing their is likely some relief awaiting. Couldn't have timed that discovery better, either, because on February 18th I am doing the Great Aloha Run, an 8.2 mile race that is bound to push me to my limits. I did the race two years ago with a team from work without any training, so I'm curious to see how my performance compares this year. I've also made sure that my day off for the week falls the next day so that I can rest my legs, which will no doubt be feeling like spaghetti.

Upping the mileage, expanding my comfort zone! I'll be ready for all three sports at once in no time!

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