I have been in Florida for 10 days now training and things have been fun and busy. The weather has been amazing and it has been a great escape from the cold snowy New Jersey. Just to beable to ride in shorts with the sun shining makes all the difference.
I arrived back today to stay at my new South African friend Nick's house. He has made me feel quite at home and we have shared some good stories about growing up in SA and our old stomping grounds. He is a rep for Look,LG,Skins and a few other companies and thus was quick to let me know that I cannot train another day without a pair of Skins. After all the hype with compression socks I was sceptical but after a week of wearing them after hard workouts I am now starting to be a believer. The secret to the Skins is that the technology built into the fabric enhances the circulation and thus reduces lactic acid build up. You can use them in training or as a recovery tool. So far I have only used them in the evening after a hard days workout and it has definitely seemed to help. I wore them after my race yesterday and last night and my legs feel pretty good today....although I am yet to workout today.
Yesterday, I raced the Great Escape to Florida in Claremont. It sounded like a great idea a week ago when I suggested it to Paulo and he agreed. But of course as I am here training it was put in as part of my workout with no taper. This sounded fine but then as the day got close and I realised how fatigued my body was I started to get a little nervous as it's still a race. I was happy to rack my bike next to Nicole Guembal who I had met a few days earlier on a ride with my friend Danielle Sullivan. She too was using this as a workout...neither of us had any race gear and we looked around at the 22 pro's that had showed up and wandered what we were doing there. She didn't realise until the end of the race that it was no longer a sprint but was now a 1 mile swim,18 mile bike and a 5 mile run. She thought she was going to be done in an hour and was not happy at the end of the race. I however knew that the effort was going to hurt. The swim,which was more like a run,swim,run was a challenge for me. With my fiirst wetsuit swim of the year it was painfuly apparent that not only were my arms fatigued from swimming every day but I realised that I had made the stupid mistake of not pulling my wetsuit up far enough so I was getting that sensation of being strangled in the water....always a good feeling :-) After a big effort beach run in water for at least 200 meters,dive,dolpin swim,keep running as its still to shallow, dive...still hit ground...run some more..we were all eventually almost walking 3-400 meters out some of us hyper ventilating. Then the swim began....it seemed like a long swim. Racing with good swimmers like Sara Mclarty and Joanna Zeiger is always humbling as you watch them pull away with the guys and you seem to go no where. As the swim came to the end it was the same situation and like the age group guys behind me I kind of half walked ran in the last 200 meters. It felt great on the bike and I could feel all Coach Paulo's bike trainer workouts paying off. I passed a few girls on the bike and then headed into transiton for the run. I had heard the run was mostly off road and that it was. We headed out into thick beach sand which jacked my heart rate up to 200 for sure and then the terrain went from a small portion of black top to dirt road to gravel and rocks. I imagined this would be the closest I got to Xterra. It was definitely a strength run and I pushed hard to the finish passing one more girl to finish 4th. All in all I am glad I did it as it was FUN to race,and brush the cobwebs off in preparation for a different kind of effort at Ironman. I had the pleasure of riding around Lake Louisa for another 1.30 hours after the race which actually felt good. I then met my family in Disney for an afternoon of fun.
So far the trip has been filled with lots of fun and good friends. My swimming partner Maggie was also in Florida so we got some good swims in at the Aquatics YMCA Pool in Orlando....it was nice to have a change of scenery and have her still there to push me. The YMCA's here in Florida are awesome. I too met Carlos a good age grouper who I have the pleasure of biking with and he has introduced me to some great athletes in the area that tri or run. My friend Patti from New Jersey was down and we got some good rides in with my friend Kevin and some of the roadies. Its been a nice mixture of training and lucky me,I have one more week left.
My family left last night and it was so much fun as usual going to Disney and do the parks with them. I miss them already! I love you guys!
I shall post some pics soon!