Getting a wind trainer session, a swim in during the week was good. But the weekend and the warm sun came out and so did Sammi. Friday was an absolute right off weather wise. Squalling winds and torrential rain made the weekend look less than promising. However, by 6pm we saw the back of the front that moved off shore and the roads start to dry.
Coach is away this week in New Zealand. He is mixing it up with the best of the best at a training camp for triathlete legends. He is physio to the stars and also gets to train with them and then pick the coach's brains at night. What a life! And yet he still has time for me. A text comes in just as I am about to crawl back under my rock. "All ready for the weekend Sammi?" I feel like texting back "Hells No!" But instead it is "OK Coach!" Let's get it done Sammi. Suck it up Princess and get up at 4.30am, pick up Roberto and Big Gazza and join the Crew for a big day out on the bike. Oh yeah and pack your race nutrition and your runners.
A cold start and at 20kms we are grappling with the steepest part of the day. A long hard climb up out of the Illawarra and the beginning of the plateau that forms the escarpment around the place I call home. At the very top of the climb we head left and onto the old highway. Once the main route between Sydney and Wollongong it has long since been superseded by the bypass and now only the locals and a bunch of brightly coloured lycra wearing maniacs claim it as their own.
We muster at the start of the road and the rules of engagement are explained. 3 x 10km out and backs. Hard and uphill out, fast and furious back. Re-muster at the end before a short break and do it again. And we are off. It is hard. The road is really coarse gravel glued together with a bit of concrete. The verge is even coarser but occasionally the base improves and there is a small smooth reprieve. I hit out at a moderate pace on the first out. Not sure what I am in for I err on the side of caution and hold a steady pace without pushing for fear of a blow up come round 3 or worse still heading home. There are still 7 hills to climb to get home.
Back...is an amazing downhill run in the aero bars with the wind at your back. Average pace 47kms per hour. Max speed 65.7 yoikes! 2nd and 3rd loops are given in to slowing the pace and allowing Coach's finance a free pull along as she was suffering a bit. But back again was a free for all and before long I found each time I dropped her easily and pretty soon she couldn't see me for dust. Very HAPPY!
An easy paced ride home, I took my turn at the front and beat into the ever present Southerly wind. Cruised over the 7 hills and finished the ride downing my last GU ready for a 20min run off. The jelly legs were there but I managed to run through it, and almost get taken out my a cyclist on the shared bike track. More my fault than his as I had my head down and had strayed onto his side of the track. His eyes (and mine) were as big as saucers as we each swerved to avoid a collision. Luckily Rob was there to grab me and haul me to one side. We coasted back tired, relieved and extremely happy with getting it done and finishing strong.
BUT WHY DO I NEED A SHOVE OUT FROM UNDER MY ROCK EACH TIME!!!!!! I would have thought by now it would be just ingrained, instinct, easy and effortless. Yeah I'm no fool. I know we all have days like that.
Sunday I met up with Roberto and his Missus. And with Gazza in tow we headed out for an easy 80min run. A nice seaside path with lots to look at and distract us from the pain. The legs BTW have been holding strong with no ITB issues at all. Awesome to hope that 2 weeks out from a race the legs have sorted themselves out. The run was easy with Gazza needing to be reminded that it is an 'easy' pace. I know when the Ethiopian runners go out for their easy runs they are almost walking and they chat and laugh the whole way. Easy means easy. Hard means hard! and there should be a demonstrable difference between the two. But Gazza gets in the groove, finds his pace and takes off. And just like Mister Squiggle I need to take him by the hand and ease him back down to Earth. Or scream EASE at him lol.
At one point during the run I found myself at the front of our foursome. We hit the one and only hill on the course and before I knew it I was powering up with little effort. Gaz is now telling me to ease the pace. I didn't think I would ever hear that. He said after he got puffed and checked the pace, here I was striking up the hill harder than ever. Could it be that I am finding my Groove.
OH PLEASE LET IT BE SOOOOOO!
Perhaps reading a few books lately that have been so inspirational has had a positive effect on me as I felt for the first time like I was loving this crazy thing called running.
I would totally recommend anyone read:
- Chrissie Wellington's - A Life Without Limits
- Scot Jurek's - Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
- Chris McDougall's - Born to Run