Given the hubbub around Darwin’s 200th birthday, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about evolution and adaptation. This was driven home painfully on yesterday’s “bigbrick” workout: ride for 3 hours @ 90% race pace, followed by a run of 2 miles warmup and then 10 solid minutes of “hammering” it as fast as I could go. I had not been on the tri bike in several weeks (rain, long ride on the road bike) and the first 25 miles were downright dreamy. I was pushing 20 mph easily on the way north from Pepperdine to Las Posas. I even had to check the GPS several times to see if I was confused – it took less than 80 minutes to get out past Pt. Mugu, my 1/2 way point. I definitely had more energy in my legs to go faster, so I was meeting the workout criteria. But on the descent from Las Posas back down to Hwy 1 my right shoulder started screaming.
Screaming in the prison-yard shanking kind of way. Like having my rotator cuff impaled with a kebab skewer. The awful feeling is that my legs have strength, my lungs are bellowing smoothly, my hear rate is low and steady, my back is fine, but the pain in my right shoulder is so bad that even rising out of the aero position doesn’t help and my ride falls apart. I managed to get upright in the saddle enough to stretch out my arm and shoulder, slowly pedaling just to maintain some mileage, but it took forever to get recovered. In combing the slowtwitch forums and triathlon resources many people talk about the adaptation period of getting used to their tri bikes. But it also seems that the real culprit is the bike fit. A ft, healthy triathlete should be able to ride without pain in a solid, compact position for hours. I had my fit done by Ian Murray of Triathletix on the recommendation from several triathlete friends. He did an outstanding job and got me into a great position so that my speed and cadence were good from the first ride. I trust in his skills as a fitter and coach, but I think I’m going to get a second opinion and see my previous fitter, Nate Loyal. Nate’s a road bike racer, but the fit he did for my road bike was knocked out of the ballpark. I’m not doubting Ian’s ability at all, I’m just curious to see how Nate adjusts things given my current discomfort. One could ask why I don’t go back to Ian for an adjustment (which he offered). It’s a good question, but I think I trust both Nate and Ian and the second opinion feels like the right choice with 6 weeks to go before Oceanside.
Speaking of which I got confirmation this week that there will be slots for Ironman Arizona for good performances at Oceanside. The game is officially on: I want to crack 5:45, or even 5:30 at Oceanside to win an IMAZ slot. Going for 140.6 this year is exciting, and all the more critical to get my bike position dialed in. If I’m going to spend 6hrs on the bike regularly I have to get things right!
I’ve also volunteered to be a mentor for this year’s Childrens Hospital team racing the Malibu Sprint triathlon. This is very exciting because it means sharing what I’ve learned with people who may be getting into triathlon for the first time or folks who are interested in getting faster and stronger. I am not the fastest nor the strongest or even an expert, but I can humbly offer my services where needed and I’ve found that helping others also helps me become a better person and athlete. I like having a charity to support, they do amazing work at CHLA, and my friends, clients, and cohorts have all been very generous in my past fundraising efforts.
The next few weeks are going to be very exciting. I’m building towards my first race peak for Oceanside, I’m going out with a new spec script post-Oscars (it’s SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE meets OCEAN’S ELEVEN), and the hard work I’ve ben putting in for the last six months is showing in concrete results. I learned a mantra from triathlon that applies in every sphere of my life: a goal without a plan is a wish.
It couldn’t be more true.