Tri-ing in the Holy Land

The ramblings of a struggling triathlete in Israel

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Location: Israel

I'm the mother of 3, a teacher and a couch potato turned triathlete.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ready to roll

I got my bike back a couple of days ago and hopefully it's actually fixed (I haven't ridden it yet).  And I can now swim.  And apparently, I can run, too -- I actually ran twice this week and both times it was a longer distance than I've run in a long time (no, I'm not overdoing it -- it was a whole 6 km or so, done very slowly).  No more excuses -- time to start training seriously. 

Monday, August 27, 2007


That's the Hebrew word for "patience" and I guess that's what it takes to get all kinds of problems worked out.  My shin splints are gone, or just about (or I can run without pain, anyway) and my back finally seems to be a lot better.  I had to wait all summer for this, but my patience paid off because my injuries are almost gone.  Last night I swam 1000 meters without a break.  I hadn't been able to do that in almost a month -- my back would start aching so much that I'd have to stop in the middle.  Then, after the 1000 meters, I swam the best 200 meter time I've done in a very long time -- 3:57 (no, you won't be seeing me in Beijing).  I was drafting and I know I'm not up to doing that time alone yet, but as the wise man that I was drafting off of pointed out, I still had to keep up with him (and I did, even when he tried to pull away). 

Tomorrow I hope to take my bike to the bike mechanic to find out what's wrong with it, as I haven't been able to fix it.  That will work itself out, too, I'm sure.  Savlanut...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

And here are the pictures...

I'm too lazy to try and fit these into my race report, so I'm just posting them separately. Thanks to Ofer Bayda and Shvoong for the pictures, none of which are worth buying this time (certainly not the photographer's fault!).

Here I am on the first run, looking ok except for the crooked hat (I had accidentally knocked it off while trying to pour water over my head and I had to put it back on while running. It's a good thing I don't run while trying to get dressed in the morning!):

And here I am at the end of the first round, looking down at my watch and feeling very disgusted after my bike troubles:

Round two has just started here. Notice how far back I am right at the start -- there are about 45 people in front of us and maybe 2 behind us. If I don't look all that enthusiastic it's because... well... I wasn't!

Here I am finishing up the bike segment in round 3. I'm smiling here for two reasons: First of all, I had finally managed to shift onto the big chainring and I'd even passed a few people. Second, the race was almost over.

And I don't have a whole lot to say about this one -- this is seconds before I crossed the finish line and I am very happy to be done. I have no idea what kind of weird thing was going on with my hands, but I think that despite the smile, the look on my face here illustrates the way I was really feeling.

Lehavim Triple Super Sprint Triathlon - 24 August 2007

The day started out badly.  In fact, it started getting bad from last night, when I had a dizzy spell.  I get these once in a while, but it hasn't happened in several years.  The dizziness wasn't too bad last night, but I still wasn't feeling great when I first woke up this morning.  I stayed in bed and got up a couple of hours later feeling much better.  Until that point, I was sure I was going to have to pull out of the race (and in retrospect, maybe I should have...).

I got to the race site (less than a kilometer away) at around 3 p.m.  It was hot, just as I expected it to be.  I'm sure the temperature was around 100, but there was also a bit of a breeze, which was nice.  Just as I got there, my former coach's son came running up to me to ask if he could borrow my goggles.  He was doing the youth race and was supposed to be done before I started, so I gave them to him.  Then I got set up in the transition area and waited around for the next 2 1/2 hours or so. 

The first thing that went wrong happened even before the race started.  Because of the heat, they had to change the time of the kids' race.  Somehow, it ended up interfering with the third round of the youth race, which then had to be held up.  The adult race was also delayed slightly, but when I did the math, I realized that the youth race wasn't going to end before we started and Amir had my goggles.  When he got out of the pool, I asked him to throw them to me and he did (yes, this could have gotten him disqualified, but I was pretty sure it wouldn't and as it turned out, he didn't finish the race anyway).  When I looked down, I saw that they weren't MY goggles.  I have a lot of trouble with goggles and I really wanted to race with my own, but I had no idea where they were.  So I waited for Amir in the transition area, which was open because the adults had to get ready for our start (and this was a very small race and the atmosphere today was pretty easy-going).  When he ran in with his bike, I saw where his stuff was and grabbed my goggles, only to discover that he'd apparently tried to adjust them and the strap had gotten all messed up.  I thought I only had five minutes until start and I had messed-up goggles to fix.  Of course, I was so stressed about the whole thing that I couldn't fix the strap, but fortunately, someone else offered to do it for me.  That done, I went out to the starting line, only to discover that the start had been delayed by another 15 minutes (this was good -- the later it got, the cooler it got).

Round 1:  1.5 km run / 200 meter swim / 6 km bike

The first round actually started off ok.  I had wet myself down in a cold shower and with the breeze blowing, I didn't really feel overly hot at all.  A couple of my teammates pulled a bit too far ahead of me on the run, but I figured they'd gone out too fast and I'd catch them on the way back.  I was right.  I passed one of them and finished right behind the other.  I had a faster transition and got to the pool before her.  She actually swam a bit faster than I did, but I still managed to get out just before her and it's a good thing.  Because of the nature of this race, I was allowed to wear my race number in the water, but I chose to leave it at pool side.  Very bad idea, because I completely forgot to pick it up when I'd finished.  Fortunately, Ronit was behind me and after she called out to me several times that I'd forgotten my number, I ran back to take it.  In the meantime, she passed me, but I figured I'd catch her on the bike.  Wrong.

I dealt with forgetting my number ok, but the first round on the bike is what broke me.  I hopped on my bike, started riding and then went to shift to the big chainring and I couldn't.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the chain to move to the other ring -- I didn't know if it was the derailleur or the shifter or what, but it was just stuck.  The bike is the strongest of the three sports for me and here I was, unable to reach any of my high gears, spinning my pedals like crazy going downhill.  I couldn't catch up with the people in front of me because I was already pedaling as fast as I could and I had no gears left.  By the time I started going uphill, I was mentally somewhere else.  In retrospect, I realize that I could have looked at this differently -- instead of trying so hard to go fast downhill, I could have just rested my legs and used them like crazy going uphill.  Anyway, I reached the top of the hill and then rode back down, my chain scraping against my derailleur because I was using combinations that don't work on my bike.  And it was all pretty much in vain, because just coasting down the hill I was going over 40 kph and my feet just couldn't keep up and certainly weren't going to make me go any faster, but like an idiot, I kept pedaling like crazy.  I finished the round exhausted and very frustrated.

Between rounds, I hoped I'd be able to fix my bike, but even with several people helping me, nothing I did worked.  I was about to pull out of the race when someone said that I should just keep going and do it slowly -- at least I'd finish (and if I finished, I knew there would be hardware, not that I really cared right at that moment).  In the meantime, while everyone else rested during the break, I was busy with my bike and when I started the second round, my heart was still pounding as if I'd just finished.

Round 2:  6 km bike / 1.5 km run / 200 meter swim

I kept going, but in my mind, this race was already over.  I set out on the bike and just let everyone pull ahead of me, without even putting up a fight.  When we turned around at a traffic circle, I was actually surprised to discover that I wasn't dead last.  Going uphill, I managed to pass one or two people, but I just wasn't in a race frame of mine -- it felt more like an aggravating training ride.  Going downhill, I had the sense not to pedal this time.  I found that I could go just as fast or faster if I just got way down on the aerobar and coasted down the hill. 

I don't even remember the second run.  My mind was somewhere else.  I do remember the kids at the water station calling my name and cheering me on, but that's about it.  Before I got to the pool, my swim cap and I had a fight -- I wanted to put it on my head and it didn't want to be there.  More wasted time.  I swam over 100 meters completely along in my lane.  Everyone else in the lane had already finished and I didn't honestly care.  I ran across the finish line for the second time, feeling totally disgusted with the race and with myself.

Round 3:  200 meter swim / 6 km bike / 1.5 km run

The swim was easy enough.  I had to wait for the faster people in the lane to start and then I just took off right behind Ronit and drafted off of her for the entire thing.  We left the pool together.  Back on my bike, I felt the same old frustration.  Ronit passed me right at the beginning (I'm normally faster than her on the bike) and I never managed to catch up.  It occurred to me, going uphill, that she was actually pulling farther away and that could only be because I wasn't giving it my all, but it just wasn't there.  At that point, all I wanted to do was to finish the race.  Then, just as I rounded the traffic circle at the top of the hill, something strange happened.  I automatically tried shifting up to the big chainring and to my surprise, I felt the chain move.  This is when I took off.  I shifted up to my highest gear, got way down on the aerobar and pedaled like crazy.  This is when I started passing people.  It was too little too late, but it felt good for a few minutes, anyway.

All that was left was a measly 1.5 km run.  On the way out to the run, just as she was passing me, one of the women I had passed racing down that hill said to me, "Good job!  You're amazing on the bike!"  Well, I guess I'd been "amazing" for a couple of minutes, anyway.  Normally, the whole bike segment would look like that.  The run was pretty slow.  The kids were cheering for me again as I passed the water station and I heard one of them say, "That's my English teacher!" and then one of my son's friends begged me to take water from him because no one else had (but I already had a cup).  They told me to run faster and I calmly replied (yes, I was running that slowly), "What difference does it make?  I'm the only one in my age group!"  Great attitude :-(  Anyway, I did manage to give a bit of a push at the end and I was soon crossing the finish line.  I have never been so glad to have a race over with (as opposed to being glad to finish a race) as I was today. 

Yes, the mental demons beat me today.  Stuff goes wrong all the time in races, but I'm usually mentally strong enough to just deal with it and keep going.  Today wasn't one of those days.  I feel like kicking myself for not giving this race my all, even with the "technical difficulties".  However, I guess that would be just letting those mental demons beat me again.  The smarter thing to do, I think, is to just write it off as a bad race day and move on.  The next race is bound to be better.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

This was amazing!

Ok, here I am, getting all impressed by a silly watch again.  I can't help it -- this is the coolest training gadget I've ever owned!

I've decided that I'm un-injured enough to start running again (actually, I've been running, but not much).  So tonight, I decided to do the workout my coach had left us (he's in France), minus one repeat, as I still don't want to run over 5 km or so.  The workout was a 2 km warmup followed by 3 times 1.5 km at race pace.  This was my chance to try my first "advanced workout" with my Garmin.  Here's what it looked like:

1) 2 km with heart rate between 130 bpm and 148 bpm (this was the warmup)
2) 2:00 rest (enough time to get my heart rate down to 120 or lower and to do some stretching
3) 1.5 km at target pace of between 4:58/km and 6:12/km (yes, sadly, this is my race pace, even if my Garmin calls it a "fast jog")
4) 2:00 rest
5) 1.5 km at target pace of between 4:58/km and 6:12/km

The 2 km warmup turned out to be quite a challenge.  It wasn't easy for me to keep my heart rate below 148, especially going uphill. At times, I felt like I was running in place. For the most part, I managed it, though (my Garmin did scream at me a few times).  I ran the warmup at a pace of 6:56/km with an average heart rate of 143 bpm.  This might sound very slow (and it is, but it was just a warmup!), but it's actually faster than the pace that I ran my first ever 5k in 2002 and I thought I was going to die during that race.  Tonight, I thought I was going to start moving backwards if I didn't pick up the pace a bit.  I never knew that a warmup could be such a challenge!

The rest was easy, of course, and then came the first 1.5 km repeat.  It wasn't easy, especially the uphill section, but I managed to stay within my goal pace for the entire time and finished with an average pace of 5:33/km (and an average heart rate of 170 bpm).  I'm sure that if I hadn't had the Garmin, I would have slowed down.  The "fear" of being "yelled at" for not maintaining my goal pace kept me going (and apparently, I am capable of running at that pace or I would have died, right?).

I was very happy about the next 2:00 rest and also glad that I had the Garmin on and that it would only be 2:00, as without a watch to yell at me, I'm sure I would have cheated on the break and made it longer.

Then it was time to run again.  Once again, I didn't want to be yelled at, so I maintained my goal pace.  This time was slightly slower, thought not by all that much.  I finished with an average pace of 5:35/km and an average heart rate of 178 bpm.  Yes, that was the average!  My maximum heart rate was 188 bpm.  So much for the heart rate formula that tells you to subtract your age from 226 (220 if you're a man).  Either I don't know how old I am or the formula doesn't work (or I can't do math -- 226-42=184, right?)

That was it -- the workout was over!  I'd achieved my goals and I felt great (but a little bit tired -- it was only 5 km, but the last 3 km were hard!). 

Yes, I could have done this workout without my gadget, but I'm pretty sure I would have cheated here and there.  The silly beeps and messages motivated me to stick to my goal.  This is one great training aid.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Saturday that would have been better spent in bed

There are great Saturday rides and then there are the ones that I later realize I should have skipped.  Today's was the latter.

The truth is, I shouldn't have ridden at all today.  I've been having a lot of flats lately and I knew that there was a hole in my tire.  It looked particularly bad when I pumped my tires last night.  I haven't had time to buy a new tire.  It's just plain irresponsible to go out riding with faulty equipment, even if it's just a tire.

The ride started out great.  We had about 60 km planned, including a few nice hills.  The first hill was about 4 km long.  Two of the guys riding with us were already way ahead when we got there, but the rest of us were pretty much together.  At the start of the hill, two men passed me, but they never managed to get more than 100 meters or so ahead.  Then, the only kid riding with us passed me (actually, I'm not sure what he was doing behind me -- he must have been riding really slowly in order to chat with his dad).  As we approached the top of the hill, the two men started getting tired.  I passed one and then, just before the top, I passed the other.  I was "queen of the mountain"!  Well, sort of.  The kid was still in front of me, as were the two guys who had long since broken away from the rest of the group.  There was a short flat section and then a long downhill.  I was feeling great.  I got to the very beginning of the downhill section and then...


Ugh.  The air was slowly leaking out of my tire.  I stopped, fixed it (actually, one of the men did) and continued on down the hill, but I had a really bad feeling.  It had only been about 40 km since the last flat.  I was only 16 km into this ride. 

I got to the bottom of the hill and turned left at the intersection to where everyone was waiting for me.  I downshifted and stopped my bike.  Just as I was about to start moving again, one of the guys pointed out that I'd dropped my chain.  Not only had I dropped the chain, but it was stuck in my derailleur.  This has happened several times lately -- I think I need to do some minor screw adjustment -- it should take a whole five minutes to get it right.  I need to stop being so lazy.

Got the chain out of the derailleur and back on the chainring and started riding again.  Then, 8 km after the previous flat...

POP!  Psss....

This wasn't a slow leak like the last one -- by the time I got off my bike, there was absolutely no air left in the tire.  This was when I decided that I'd had enough for the day.  I was holding everyone back and it just wasn't fun to keep thinking about how long the tube would hold out before the next flat.  Plus, I was out of tubes.  Actually, I'd only taken one spare (because it was all I had at home) -- I had to borrow one to fix the second flat.  I was going to just have my husband come pick me up, but then someone suggested I turn left at the next intersection, cutting the ride about 20 km short.  That sounded good to me and there were two other people going that way, so that's what I did.  I managed to ride the next 16 km without a flat.

So my 60 km ride turned into a very aggravating 40 km ride.  I'm not getting back on my bike until I have a new rear tire.  And while I'm at it, I need to adjust that front derailleur.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Practice race report??

Since I'm still not sure I'll be doing the race, I figured I might as well write up a practice race report...

This morning, we did a "dress rehearsal" for the Lehavim Triple Super Sprint, which is certainly one of the stranger and more interesting triathlons in the world.  I've done this race before and written reports on it here, but for those who don't remember or who haven't been reading my blog all that long, I'll give a quick summary.  It's three short rounds of swim/bike/run, each round in a different order: 
  • Round 1: run 1.5 km, swim 200 meters, bike 6 km
  • Round 2: bike 6 km, run 1.5 km, swim 200 meters
  • Round 3: swim 200 meters, bike 6 km, run 1.5 km
During the actual race, adults have up to 40 minutes to do each round.  If you go over 40 minutes, you're disqualified (because the rounds start exactly 40 minutes apart, so if you go over, you miss the next start).  The youth have 35 minutes.  For today's practice race, we only had 35 minutes (because we had to finish before the pool opened).

As I've reported several times, this has not been a good summer for me physically.  I've been struggling with shin splints and back problems and, in fact, I've done almost no running and my swim workouts have been shorter than usual and not of very high quality.  The only thing I've been able to do painlessly is ride my bike.  I wasn't even sure if I should do the practice race, but since it was a whole kilometer away from my house, I figured I'd ride down to the pool and then decide.  So at 5:45 this morning, I headed out the door.

I got to the pool and discovered that they had watered the grass during the night (and apparently right up to a couple of minutes before I got there) and it was very wet.  Our usual transition area is on the grass, but that was out of the question.  We just kind of found spots along the fence of the kiddy pool, on trees, wherever.  That was fine, but then I realized that I was going to have to run with my bikes through the wet grass to get out on the road which meant that my tires were going to be very wet (and slick).  More on that later.

So after getting set up in the "transition area", I decided to put on my running shoes and do a short run so that I could see if it hurt.  I ran 500 meters and nothing hurt, so I decided I'd do the first round of the practice race and then decide whether or not to continue.  That 500 meters was my entire warmup, but I had no intention of running quickly, so that was fine.

Round 1:

I set out at my very slow pace.  I knew everyone would pull way ahead and it was a real effort to keep reminding myself that I've been injured and that I don't want to re-injure my leg and that I have to run slowly.  I just let them all go and kept running at my snail's pace.  The nice part about it was that it wasn't hard.  I didn't love being dead last, especially when I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be if I would just run at a normal pace, but I reminded myself that this wasn't a real race and that I had to stick with my plan.  So yes, I finished the 1.5 km DFL (dead f*ing last).

Swim:  The swim was rather uneventful.  I hadn't done any swim warmup at all and I could feel it right away when I got in the pool.  No big deal -- this wasn't a real race.  I soon realized that I had forgotten to remove my number (which is allowed in this race, but it's kind of annoying to swim with it flapping).  The pool was fairly empty, as two of the kids had actually finished the swim by the time I returned from the run and the rest of the kids were finishing up.  I took it slowly, concerned about my back.  My back wasn't too bad during the swim itself, but getting out of the pool was painful.  I just did it very slowly.

Bike:  This was the only part of the race that I actually intended to "race".  I grabbed my bike and headed out, making sure to get on very slowly, as I was afraid I would slip.  I don't remember much about the bike part of round 1, apart from the fact that I passed people going up the long hill and no one was going to catch me going downhill -- I just got down on the aerobar and soared.  I do remember that going up that hill the first time was a bit difficult and I remember thinking that it would be easier the second time, because I'd be warmed up.  I do remember getting off the bike.  I did it slowly, but even that wasn't enough.  When I swung my right leg over the bike, I missed and my foot caught the saddle.  Oops.  I got it right the next time.  Round 1 was over.  I was still feeling ok, so I decided I'd try round 2.

Round 2:

Round 2 did not start out well.  I'm really bad at starting on the bike -- something goes wrong at the beginning of this round every time I do this race.  Today was no exception.  The team manager screamed "GO!" and everyone got on their bikes and took off.  I got on my bike and fell right off.  Well, I didn't actually fall, but I found myself with my feet on the ground, straddling my bike.  So I got back on and eventually got moving, but at that point, everyone was way ahead of me.  Goody -- now I could catch people on the bike!
  That's actually one of my favorite things to do, so I wasn't all that upset.  And catch people I did.  I caught all of the women, apparently (although I didn't realize that until later).  For some reason, I felt a bit slower this round than I had during round 1 (though I had been sure it would be easier), but I still managed to pass people, especially going uphill.  When I finished, my coach yelled out something like, "Way to go, Bari!" and I knew I must have done pretty well, as he's not always all that generous with the words of encouragement (and if he's reading this, let me just say that that's fine -- I'm good at encouraging myself).

Run:  The truth is, I almost didn't make it to the run.  I got to the transition area and said (out loud), "Maybe I'll quit now."  I mean, it was a practice race, there were no trophies at the end and there wasn't even a real finish line.  But on the other hand, I'd gotten up at 5:15 on a Saturday morning to do this thing and I wasn't in excruciating pain, so I didn't have a really good excuse to stop, so I did a very very slow transition (so slow, that after changing my shoes, I actually took the time to try to fix the insole that had come out of my cycling shoe when I'd taken it off) and then set out at something that resembled a slow jog.  I had run slowly the first time.  This time, I ran painfully slowly.  I mean, I'm not even sure I knew it was possibly to run so slowly.  But I realized that I'd already run 2 km and that the most I'd run in one day in the last few weeks was 3.5 km and that I'd paid for that the following day.  I didn't want anything to hurt, so I just chugged along.  All those women (four of them, I think) that I'd beaten on the bike passed me on the run.  Actually, two of them had already passed me in transition, which is something that never happens to me -- my transitions are usually very fast.  That was fine.  It wasn't a real race.

Swim:  The pool was almost completely empty, of course, so the swim was at least calm.  I swam slowly, but I tried to pick up the pace for the last 50 meters.  My back was starting to ache, but I'd made it this far and I wanted to complete the last round, so I didn't want to overdo it.  Getting out of the pool was painful again, but at least the round was over and I had a few minutes to rest before round 3.

Round 3:

This swim did not resemble the first two in any way, shape or form.  We all started in the pool together and right away, I could see that it was going to be a disaster.  In the actual race, the lanes are divided in such a way that you swim with the people in your age group (and if there aren't enough in your age group, then they'll put two same-sex age groups together).  So when I do the race, I swim with 40+-year-old women.  Today, everyone just got in the pool wherever they felt like and I found myself in a "lane" with the fastest kid in the race.  Great.  And why "lane" in quotation marks?  Because there were no lane lines today.  That made the whole thing a big mess.  We were supposed to be swimming in a counterclockwise ellipse, but it was really hard to tell where one lane ended and the next lane started, so you can imagine what happened as soon as we got spread out enough to be swimming in two different directions (which didn't take very long).  I turned at the wall at 25 meters and halfway across the pool, BANG!  I had not only hit one of the kids head-on, but his arm got linked in mine and he just kept going, taking my arm with him (in the wrong direction).  Apparently, I was the gentler part of his collision.  He'd bumped heads with the woman in front of me.  I looked up and saw swimmers everywhere, swimming in both directions.  I decided to just take it easy for the rest of the first 100 meters, figuring that by the time I finished that, the fast kids would finish 200 meters and get out of the pool and it would be easier to swim.  And that's exactly what happened.  Once again, getting out of the pool was painful (swimming hadn't been so pleasant, either) and, in fact, I wasn't really sure I wanted to go on, but I really did want to get on my bike, so...

Bike:  Remember the wet grass?  Well, it was still wet.  I got my bike out to the street and tried to get on and found both my bike and my shoes slipping all over the road.  A teammate who wasn't "racing" today was helping out on the bike route and I called out to him that I was slipping all over the place.  He started coming towards me to help me, telling me to just take it slowly, and by the time he actually reached me, I was on my bike.  This was actually kind of scary, as I'd never felt my bike slip like that before.  Once I was riding, though, I got over it quickly.  It was time to pass people again.  I'd only left two or three people in the pool behind me, so there were plenty of people ahead of me to pass.  Again, I overtook most of the people that I passed on the hill.  This was, I think, my best round on the bike.  I gave it my all, knowing that all that was left was a measly 1.5 km run, which I was going to do slowly regardless of what I did on the bike.  The "race" was almost over...

Run:  Actually, as far as I was concerned, the race was over.  Once again, I took off at my super-slow jog and let everyone pass me.  It was actually kind of fun.  I had plenty of energy to encourage one of the slower kids who decided that she was going to walk instead of running.  I told her to just run with me and chatted with her almost the whole time, until we were almost at the end and I suggested that she might actually want to run fast now that she was about to finish.  It was kind of funny -- I can't even imagine being able to hold a conversation in a regular voice with no huffing or puffing during a race (I can always talk when I run, but this sounded like I was lying on the couch talking to a friend on the phone).  I had no intention of running any faster, though.  My leg was fine, but my back was actually hurting during the run, which hasn't happened before, apart from some very minor pain during a brick workout on Wednesday.  Jarring my back and doing more damage than I already have concerns me even more than the possibility of the shin splints coming back, so I just plodded along for the entire 1.5 km and then it was over.

Slow as I was, I managed to easily stay within the 35 minute limit (and remember, at the race itself, I have 40 minutes).  And I finished in one piece.  Despite having "run" (it was more like a crawl on two feet) a total of 5 km, my shin was only the tiniest bit sore (something that I wouldn't even have noticed if I hadn't been concerned about it already).  My back, however, was very sore.  I found a shady spot on the grass and laid down on my back with my feet up on a chair.  After a few minutes, I got up and walked around and then I grabbed a towel and went back to lying on the grass and stayed that way for quite a while.  This helped my back and when I got up, I felt a bit better, though I suspect my back will be very sore for the rest of the day and probably tomorrow, as well. 

I still haven't decided whether or not I'm going to do the race.  I mean, why pay money to do it again when I did it today for free? ;-)  However, at least now I know that despite my injuries, I can do it if I want to and even if I take it slowly, I'll finish with time to spare.  And maybe I'll get some good photos from the race -- there were no photographers at the practice race (there weren't even any water stations!).  In any case, I'll be there -- if I'm not racing, I'll be volunteering (there will be no excuses for getting out of that -- what can you do when the team manager is the race director and his right-hand man, the other team manager, is your best friend?).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

This is why I get up so early on Saturday morning

Today's ride was great -- 60-ish kilometers, a few hills, great weather and good company (well, when I could actually see him, that is). I got home feeling like I could have done another 20 or 30 kilometers -- that's my favorite feeling after a ride.

Here's the map of today's ride -- it was an out and back and notice that the turn-around point was very close to Sderot, right in the area where Kasam rockets fall pretty much on a daily basis (I didn't hear anything while we were there, so I guess this morning was quiet).

I don't know if you can see the distance under the Google logo, but it's wrong, anyway. I forgot to start my Garmin at the beginning of the ride and then forgot to start it again after a break. that second time messed up my map for some reason, too. You can't see it here, but when I zoom in, it looks like I rode home way over on the wrong side of the road.

Here's the elevation map (the part at around 48 km where it looks like we went straight up is where I remembered to hit the button on my Garmin):

And the grade map (again, that very steep grade towards the end is a mistake):

Here's an aerial view of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's Sycamore Ranch, which we rode past:

The bad news is that I could feel the soreness in my left shin while I was riding. It didn't make it difficult for me to ride, but I don't think that means good things for my running. My back, on the other hand, didn't hurt at all on the bike (in fact, that was probably the longest period of time I spent all week with no back pain).

Friday, August 03, 2007

Good day, bad day

The week started out well. I swam 1500 meters on Sunday, including 1000 meters without a break and although my back hurt a bit, it wasn't too bad. On Monday, I ran a whole 3 km with no shin pain during or after (how's that for starting slowly?). On Tuesday, I swam 1600 meters and my back felt much better. Then, on Wednesday, things started to fall apart...

My back was bothering me so much on Wednesday that in the middle of the day, I started wondering how I was going to do the evening brick. Although my back doesn't generally hurt while riding my bike or while running, I was having trouble imagining the transitions -- getting from the hunched over cycling position to the upright running position. A couple that we're friendly with solved my problem when they invited us to go out with them that evening. I ditched the workout.

On Thursday, my back still hurt (and around 5 hours of sitting in my car driving to Jerusalem and then to the Tel Aviv area and then home didn't make things any better. I decided that instead of swimming, I'd do the workout I'd missed the previous night, but instead of doing it outside on my road bike in that hunched over position, I'd do it in the gym on the recumbent stationary bike and on the treadmill. When I got on the treadmill to do the running part of the warmup, my left shin started hurting right away. It wasn't too painful, though, so I kept running. I ran a grand total of 3.5 km (starting slowly...), but I did do some of that at a slightly faster than normal pace. The pain in my shin never got worse during the workout and when I got off the treadmill for the last time (I was switching back and forth between the treadmill and the bike), it was very mildly sore -- no big deal. In fact, I really enjoyed the run -- I don't remember when the last time was that I enjoyed running on the treadmill so much. I was even tempted to do more, but I was concerned about my shin, so I stopped.

Good thing I stopped. I woke up a few times during the night because of the pain in my back (kept rolling over onto my stomach, which makes it hurt) and when I got out of bed this morning and took my first step on my left foot, I immediately felt the pain in my shin. It's not terrible and I can walk without limping, but it's hurting again. Ugh. I hope the pain is short-lived and I suspect it will be, but I have no idea how to progress with my running now. I took a two week break before Monday's run and I was pain free for almost the entire time. It seems that no matter how long I rest and how long the pain has been gone for, it comes back immediately when I start running again.

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