Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The April Step-Up

This month was a funky blend of working out and adjusting to life back in the States. I wanted to attack the training hard, but realized my body needed to rest and I ended up with an average day of 1 to 1.5 hours of training. When I was traveling I envisioned this process as a peaceful lifestyle of eating healthy and exercising full-time. I soon realized that being back home included long lines at the d.m.v, traffic, being on hold on the telephone, and a million other nuisances I had forgotten about while away. I have tried to maintain a perspective of appreciation for all the comforts and privileges we have here, but it's hard to keep up.

The primary biking trail in Spokane is the Centennial Trail. It is somewhat similar to the Burke Gilman Trail in Seattle. It is worse in that the "trail" is often a shoulder on a busy road. Outside of the more urban parts of the trail, however, the course follows a river and allows beautiful forested views. Also, because Spokane is a small city, a short drive from home allows countryside cycling. Unfortunately, even with all the nice scenery, cycling has been my biggest obstacle. My legs have been burning pretty bad as I try to maintain consistent 20-30 mile rides. Because this is the biggest part of the triathlon, I am a little daunted. With a marathon, you can just take it really easy and cruise at 12 minute miles if necessary. With the bike, because it is so long, if you go slow you won't finish before the cut-off. For the first time, I am not sure I can complete the race. The friggin' bike is a long row to hoe. And the curse of the chicken legs continues.

In April we took a little vacation and went to Chicago for a wedding. We stayed in the neighborhood that Lauren grew up in and it was great to meet some of her childhood friends. It is located on the North Shore and is mildly famous as the neighborhood of "Home Alone". Actually, we ate dinner in one of the homes that is featured in the film. As a bonus, the family we stayed with owns a great gym downtown and I got to continue training there. It's a different crowd on the north shore,I'm telling ya', everyone owns buildings or heads large firms. The wedding itself was conducted by a charismatic priest and the reception took place in a Gothic-style ballroom in the heart of the city. Perhaps coolest of all, we went to see the Cubs play at Wrigley. The atmosphere was perfect, and I am now officially a Cubbies fan. All around, Chicago was a great city. It appears to be a thriving city populated by transplanted countryfolk, so there is a friendly charisma absent in other large cities. (That means you, Boston)

I am running about 3 times a week from an hour to an hour and a half. The loops are generally around the parks in the area. The major park near my house was designed by the same brothers that designed Central Park in New York and it is the best ever. Spokane would never be considered a front-runner for the "Most Progressive City" award, and the lack of community pools attests to that conservative mindset. It appears the rich Republicans swim at their clubs and the redneck prefer sports involving rifles: "Git yer damn Government pools out of our town!" Obviously I am a little frustrated. To swim, I drive about a half hour north to the Christian college of Whitworth. It's actually a pretty good pool, but try to wrap your head around this: there are NO indoor public pools in the whole city. When I do get the chance to swim, it is typically for a mile or so. Lauren is still much better than me, but I am closing the gap.

The "step-up" of April was pretty successful. I have improved in every category and am right where I want to be in both swimming and running. That said, the average workout is around 1.5 hours and the ironman will last around 16. Still a long ways to go.

Training Log:
April 1- 1hr tennis
2nd- 1:45 bicycle Palouse Highway
3rd- 4.5 mile track "surge" running + 1 mile at Eastern pool
4th- 16 mile bike east on Centennial trail
5th- rest
6th- 15 mile bike with 7 mile push (20 mph) + 1hr basketball
7th- 1 mile swim (1/2 non-stop) + 6 mile track jog
8th- Bloomsday course prep run. Approx. 7.5 miles
9th- Mission Park bike to Liberty Lake. Approx. 18 miles
10th- Liberty Lake to Mission Park . Approx. 18 miles
11th- 1.5 mile swim
12th- rest
13th- 1:30 run in Winnetka
14th- Run 45 min, swim 1hr, bike 1hr
15th- 45 min. treadmill
16th- Run 45 min, swim 1hr, bike 1hr
17th- 1:15 run Manito Park
18th- 1.5 hr bike Palouse
19th- 1.5 mile swim, 7.7 ,mile run
20th- 24 mile bike
21st- rest
22nd- 6 mile run
23rd- 30 mile bike + 1 hr basketball
24th- 1.5 mile swim and 1hr track run
25th- 2:20 bike with South Hill finish
26th- rest
27th- 1hr run
28th- 30 mile bike
29th- 1:30 jog Manito
30th- 1:30 swim at Eastern

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