It wasn't an easy week leading up into the weekend. Wednesday's track workout was my worst of the year, I felt lethargic and was unable to get in the whole workout, which may have been the smart thing to do anyway since it was so humid and I was just coming off that previous weekend's double. Instead of a 5-4-3-2-1 of around 5:00/mile pace, I ended up doing 5-3-2-2-1, which is better than nothing, but I wasn't pleased with how I felt. Swimming went well despite swimming in water of at least 86 degrees. No major bike workouts, just some recovery rides.
Saturday started with the Lost River Classic bike race, in the mountains of West Virginia. Weather was actually decent, mid-80s and some cloud cover. Bart and Matias had given me ample advice on how to approach this race... be near the front for the first climb as it was sure to blow up the field. They were right. Into the first climb people quickly dropped back when we hit the first of two steep pitches near the top. I nearly got caught behind as a larger fellow who was directly in front of me came to a virtual stop, but I was able to swerve around him and quickly bridge the gap that he allowed to form between him and the front 5 or so guys. 2 others followed up the hill and just like that we had a 8-man break from the rest of the field. This group worked perfectly together and 10mi into our break we were 1:30 up on the rest of the field. We each had a role, I set the tempo/pace on uphills, a few guys took longer pulls on the 2 long flat sections, and another couple charged on the descents, which helped us increase our advantage.
I attacked a bit too late on the final sprint climb, about 50m too late... I should've started my sprint 200m out but I waited until 150m, and that was a huge blunder. It cost me podium for sure, but I ended up 5th as our little pack finished together. We all must have ended up at least 3min ahead of the rest of the field, which is a pretty big gap! It was a lot of fun and I felt like my legs got in a very solid workout.
Here is my Garmin data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/101254543
That evening was the Crystal City 5km. I was sort of looking forward to it until I warmed up and realized just how yucky the weather was. So humid and hot!!! Absolutely miserable. I discarded my time goals and decided to just go by feel and try to beat the people around me. It was pretty awful, hard to breathe and I was just drenched in my own sweat, but I ended up racing well. The time wasn't good, 16:58, but I was able to start a little more conservative than normal and ended up picking off no less than 7 high schoolers who started out ahead of me, and exact revenge on Tezeta Dengersa, the mighty Ethiopian lady who beat me at Rockville Rotary 8km last week (part of another bike/run race double). She's really good... I can beat her fresh no problem, but she's good competition when I have a bike race in my legs. Nearly beat Edmund Burke as well, who I am sure ran long that morning... that guy is competition when I'm fresh. In all this was another good race/workout. I wouldn't have run that hard on my own in brutal heat, so this was great training!
The next morning I met my big brother Jordan at the Capital Crescent head to jump on a GRC train headed by Karl, Matias and Max, with Dirk riding along providing much-needed life-support (hydration). We trotted 10 miles to Matias' apartment in Alexandria at around 7min pace, and surprisingly it felt ok. It was definitely still too warm out and I was feeling Saturday's double in my heavy legs, but after a couple miles my legs loosened up and I enjoyed the run.
That made 3 hard or long workouts within 24 hours. Probably the hottest and hardest 24 hours of my life! But waking up Monday morning I felt fine, which is odd considering last Monday I felt terrible. I guess Todd was right, this kind of training is indeed making me stronger.