Morning Rides Commence

We've begun our morning riding and I'm officially in "training" mode for the SheRox Tri.  I had an extraordinary week of riding, swimming and running and I feel sore and great!  The Sue Crew and I rode our bikes three times this past week, and depending on how you look at a week, either ended or started the week with a 30 mile ride out to Conshohocken.  I'm feeling every mile of today's ride, and am realizing it's not the number of miles you ride but the kind of miles you ride.  Our morning ride is a double loop around the Schuylkill River; door to door it's a tad short of 25 miles.  An easy 2 hour ride.  Some mornings I break a sweat, breathe heavy, feel sluggish, but the ride is flat with nary a steep hill to tax my muscles.  Back in the saddle three times this week fooled me into thinking I'm in better shape than I am.  Today proved that I have some work to do, but I'm not at ground zero, maybe at 58.6% in shape!  So I pushed myself a bit today by riding solo out to Manayunk and up one of the big (but not THE WALL) hills on Umbria Street and out to the Conshohocken Trail.  The test of my muscle stamina and breathing capacity came right as I headed up Umbria Street and struggled my way past Marchiano's Bakery and Tomato Pie emporium.  I made it but I was huffing and puffing.  

At the next major hill, I ran out of steam mid-way up and had to stop before chugging up to the top.  Again, I did it but it was humbling. I'm not beating myself up though, two years ago I could barely make it that far without having to walk or pedal a dismal 5 miles an hour.  I pedaled a slow 9 or 10 mile pace, dipping down to 8 miles at the hardest interval.  With the wind in my face and the real hills, this 30 mile ride was more like 40 on the flats.  All in the name of training and building up my "impressively defined" calf and quad muscles!

As for the swimming, I've had a mental block about it since the end of August.  Finally forced myself to get into the pool on Thursday, making it a double work-out day, biking in the morning, swimming in the evening.  My whole body was tight and sore immediately after and all day Friday.  Total body work-out.  The updside of this double work-out, my stamina and muscle memory in the pool was better than I expected.  Whew!  

Saturday brought a few firsts: I took my first solo drive out to Chestnut Hill via Kelly and Lincoln Drives, two roads I've been feeling anxious to drive upon alone.  There was a run clinic sponsored by the SheRox Tri Mentor Program.  I knew I needed to attend one before I volunteer as one of the Mentors.  So up at 5:15 am I awoke, and out the door by 6:15.  Perfect time to travel on the Philly Autobahn.  I'm sure my slow, steady cautious driving was the reason it took me close to 40 minutes to get to the run start in The Wissahickon at the start of the Valley Green trail.  Only 4 other women were there but we ran nevertheless.  Two women, clearly runners and fine triathletes ran faster and further ahead of us, while the two other women, Katie and Bernadette and Katie's dog, Bella, and I ran a slow pace for about half an hour to 40 minutes.  My knees felt every pebble, stick and piece of gravely trail but once again, I persevered.  I think I was more proud of the driving accomplishments than my getting up so early and running two or three miles before 8 am.  Next week's goal, a longer swim, another outdoor run in Chestnut Hill and adding an extra morning to the bike riding. 

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