Thursday, August 20, 2015

Can I do the Dirty Du?

I've done a fair amount of talking about doing the Dirty Duathlon recently, for someone who had never gone on a mountain bike ride and who hadn't run on trails in almost nine months.

The latter part of that sentence remains true; the former has been taken care of. Cory and I spent at least an hour on the Center Trails last weekend, and (obviously) I survived to tell the tale.

I was in a bit of a funk when we started out, so I probably would've raved more in this post under normal circumstances if I'd woken up on the right side of the bed.

But still, even as a cranky perfectionist, I had to admit that the Dirty Duathlon is eminently doable, even if I do nothing more in the way of training this year.

The ride began inauspiciously — i.e., on a bit of an uphill with roots and other things that made wimpy little me nervous. I'm not an adrenaline seeker, nor was I very used to the mountain bike even on ideal terrain.

Over the course of an hour-plus and five or six miles, though, I slowly but surely got my legs under me. I definitely walked several portions, mostly sharp/bumpy uphills that I didn't shift for in time, or narrow, guard-rail-free bridges at the bottom of hills.

You know what I didn't do, though? Fall on the trails. (I fell later on smooth concrete while standing up and fully sober, for no reason at all. But not on the bike.)

I also didn't give up. I got nervous, I got freaked out by fast riders behind me, I got angry that I didn't wear bug spray, I got tickled by sweat rolling down my nose at the most inopportune time ... and I stuck with it.

And at times, when I wasn't convinced I was going to fall into a ravine, I enjoyed it.

Most of all I liked being in the woods; adding some higher-intensity exercise for a shorter period of time was a nice change of pace, too; and so was knowing I'd willingly ventured outside of my comfort zone.

The day after wasn't too painful. During our ride, I noticed the tension on top of my wrists and forearms fairly early on, but the next day just felt like I'd gone on a tougher-than-usual bike ride. Nothing special.

So it looks like I'll be doing the Dirty Du for sure, and I think I can even handle the longer distance. (Which is good, because I have a commitment that morning that would make the shorter distance's earlier start tricky.)

The plan now will have to be:

* Keep mountain biking.

* Go on a trail run.

* Bike to my trail run.

* Hit the trails with the bike first, then run.

* Sandwich a trail run around mountain bike rides.

Suddenly November seems very, very close. Even though my goal is just to finish, I should start planning this out soon.

Monday, August 10, 2015

How should I spend the rest of 2015?

I think I've settled on how I'll spend the rest of 2015, at least when it comes to workouts.

After the Bix, my bunions had started to bother me, and so had the heat/humidity. "Sit out August," I told myself. "Don't wreck running for yourself; just enjoy summer."

Easier said than done, evidently. I've been crabby and sedentary lately, and you know what cures both of those things for me? Setting — then following — a running schedule.

So August will be twice-a-week runs, with a heavy emphasis on cross-training (yoga, bike rides, walks). Ideally one run would be shorter and more intense, while the other would be longer (four to six miles) and more relaxed.

If I could get myself started on the habit of doing some pushups twice a week and planks twice a week, that would be great. 

Even better would be distilling a short post-work yoga routine, created with my personal favorite poses from the various yoga videos/classes I watch/take. But that sounds like the kind of lofty aspiration that I excel in never attempting ...

By September, I hope to have started on at least one, if not both, new challenge: Capital Striders track workouts and mountain biking. 

Why mountain biking? So I can do the Dirty Duathlon in November by myself, instead of just being someone's runner.

I mean, running two miles on trails — with a break in the middle for someone to do 10 miles of mountain biking — won't exactly be a piece of cake, but it's just close enough to easy where I don't want to pay to do just that.

After Nov. 7, I see two routes. One is just kick back and relax until Thanksgiving, when I embark on the holiday run streak again. (This is the most likely option.)

The other is to keep up the trail running, even when it's gross — especially when it's gross — so I can take on the Sycamore 8 in December, no matter the conditions.

That's a bridge I'll cross much later. For now, it's time to finish my beer and hit the sack early to rest up for my first run since the Bix 7.