1. One of the things that I'm trying to do better is get out of the cycling-route rut I've been floating in all summer. So when a monster long ride showed up on my schedule for Monday, instead of riding out to Poolesville for the 200th time, I packed up my car and made the trip out to Purcellville to do some of my favorite climbing loops.
There aren't any really sustained climbs, but there's a lot of short steep stuff mixed in with long gradual rollers. I did two loops plus another small half loop and my climbing legs were shot. But I had a perfect day. I bumped into a friend and we rode together for about 45 minutes, and I got to spend a lot of time in the scary dark places in my head, and then I put on some James Taylor and sang away the miles. Going long on the bike just plain old makes me happy (especially when I don't have hard intervals to hit, word).
2. Stalking of the official race photos from the sprint brought this gem to light:
Hopefully you're as pumped as I am to see that even as I'm sprinting my way to the finish, I'm not heel-striking my ass off. Go ahead, get excited. Bent knee, good push-off in the back, about to land squarely on the midfoot, and foot only slightly turned out from my slightly tight hip flexor. GET EXCITED DAMMIT. I'm such a nerd for running form. Let's bring back an old favorite to compare:
LAWD HAVE MERCY. I'm actually probably running at close to the same pace in these two shots. Okay, enough of that.
3. Since last year, I have definitely made significant progress in the pool. (That's my disclaimer before you get mad at me for bitching about being slow). However, I feel like I've been at a bit of a plateau over the past few months, and I'm not sure exactly how to bust past it. One answer, I know, would be to join a master's group. However, I'm a spoiled brat who doesn't like to be massively inconvenienced by other people's schedules, so I'm not sure that's the answer for me just yet (and it's only $30/month to swim in the manky LA Fitness pool as opposed to grotesque master's fees). Sonja writes great swim workouts, and my execution is usually pretty solid, but I've been trying to pay a little extra attention to my effort in the water and the details of the session. I know that for some workouts, especially short ouchy stuff, I tend to just float along at a sub-1:30 pace (yards, don't get crazy) and call it good. There are times when I know that I could man up and swim a little harder, so that's probably part of it.
Another piece is probably swimming with people a lot faster than me (see above, see also: master's, sigh), so I'll be hunting around for some fast feet to chase in the pool whenever I can fit it in my life. I also know that those extra 20-40 minute easy swims I was putting in my schedule all spring made a difference, and I need to get back in the habit of doing them again on hard leg days. Which is exactly what I'm going to do on the way to work once I finish sucking down this delicious recovery smoothie (switched to strawberry protein powder, a big win).
Happy Thursday, friends and neighbors! What are you sucking down this morning?