Fatigued? Who knows?

Fatigue is deceptive. I was up before the alarm today, felt kind of nauseated on my way to the ocean. Got in the water and did three clumsy laps in the ocean, zig zagging in the higher surf and cloudy sky. Still, three laps is three laps and I came out of the water feeling better than I went in. Reaching forward, not diagonal, kicking at the surface of the water, and coming in to the lifeguard station while other people went wildly north off course. All in all a slightly above average swim, slower than usual. I figured I was still tired from the race. But then came the run.Got changed into the run gear and Damon was there waiting, along with a young friend of his and B., a really strong runner I’ve tried to keep up with (and failed) in the past. (Damon has given me permission to use his name in the blog; I think he was tired of seeing the ominous “D” appear as his moniker.)

I joined the boys and a fellow CHLA teammate also dropped in on our run. I have to say, whenever I think triathlon scheduling is hard, imagine being a PICU or NICU nurse working consecutive 12 hour shifts for three days in a row, then switching to training. The schedule changes, the long hours, and the brain drain are incredibly taxing just on normal life. Add home, kids, relaxation, and tri training is damn hard to fit in. I’m in awe of my CHLA teammates who get out and train. There’s just not enough hours in the day. 

We started out strong and somehow I was in front setting the pace at about mid 7 minute miles. We turned around at the Venice Pier and Damon took lead with his friend. B. kept pace with him, bopping right along. Somewhere at mile 3 they sped up and I ran out of gas. Shortly they put 20 seconds on me, and I never made it up. I watched them finish forty seconds faster, having upped the pace to 7:15 in the last 3/4 of the run. While I had gas in the tank, the legs weren’t recovering quickly to increase the pace and keep up. I sat on the edge of blowing up, breathing deeply and keeping form, knowing if I sprinted out and caught up I’d crash and have to walk. The heart rate said I was pushing it, about to tip over, so the data matched my internal perception.

B. confirmed that cycling heart rate is much lower than running heart rate, so I need to make adjustments to my Garmin accordingly. When I run my max heart rate is somewhere around 170-180, anything 180 or over is dangerous and unsustainable for more than a few seconds. That is my Zone 5, my power zone, and when I do Farklets I aim to peg the heart rate in the high 170’s/180’s for that brief sprint. On the bike, I can’t seem to break 155 at maximum intensity. Plus, there’s a noticeable difference when I push on the bike. My heart rate climbs AFTER I do the sprint, so while I push and push and move my heart rate up to 155 as soon as I let off the gas it climbs to 160, then creeps back down. Very strange.

Saturday Coach Brian is going to show me and Damon some heart rate workouts that might help inform my training better. But it certainly seems this whole first real season of triathlon is about learning all these different ways and applying them to my particular physiology. Learning how my body responds in different circumstances will allow me to build a proper periodization schedule for the coming year, which will be the best way to build and keep performance gains and race day peaks.

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