Week 2 in Boulder

My second week in Boulder has now passed and it’s been another good week with lots of fun and some solid training done.  I was a little surprised to see that I was riding every day this week, but with the cycling here being so good, it was something I was looking forward to.  After a steady ride on Monday, vo2 intervals were on the agenda for Tuesday.  This coincided with Scott’s schedule, so we headed out together to get the session done and provide motivation for one another.  I learned in the first week that starting out too hard here is a bad, bad idea.  This week I was more sensible and paced the intervals well, increasing the power throughout.  This was a seriously lung busting session, but it helped massively doing I with someone else.  We went out to a Greek restaurant that evening and had an amazing meal – so good that I had to start eating before I could take a snap of it!

On Wednesday (Independence Day) I met up with Will Cannon, a young Australian triathlete who’s here training for a month.  After an early morning coffee, we set off to climb to Ward, which is at close to 3000m elevation.  We kept the effort steady most of the way, but when the incline kicks you have to put a big effort in just to keep the pedals turning.  When we got to the town we sat for a while and relaxed before descending back down.  As we were leaving, I walked straight past Craig Alexander (3x Ironman World Champion and general triathlon legend), completely oblivious to the fact that he was there.  When Will told me I’d blanked him I couldn’t believe it!  Later that afternoon we went to a BBQ which was good fun, then headed to the cinema in the evening to end what had been a really fun day. 

The next day was my long run – 14 miles including around 5 miles at above Half-Ironman pace.  This session absolutely spanked me and once I got home I managed to summon up the energy to have breakfast and a recovery shake, before heading to bed and sleeping for 3 hours!  After lunch and a mid-afternoon burrito (my new vice), we headed out on the bike only to get caught in an afternoon thunderstorm, battling through Kona-esque winds, driving rain, thunder and lightning.  We stopped at Boulder Reservoir, where every Thursday evening an aquathlon (swim-run) event is held.  Coach had given me the go ahead to compete in the 1500m swim and 5k run race, although after the mornings training I wasn’t exactly feeling up to it.  The storm cleared as quickly as it arrived and the race went ahead as planned, so I donned the wetsuit and prepared for what would be only my fourth swim in 5 weeks.  The 2 loop swim included a short beach run in between loops, which actually turned out to be far tougher than swimming itself!  It wasn’t until the second loop that my shoulder started to feel a bit fatigued and my pace slowed, but primarily a consequence of lack of swim fitness.  The run through transition wasn’t pretty and I put the shoes on and plodded out to start the run.  The out and back run course is fairly flat with one short rise, covering road and trail surfaces.  I wasn’t running at all fast, but paced accordingly and negative split the run.  The event was good fun and a very good training session to end what had already been a tough day.  Hopefully it’s the days like those that will pay dividends later in the season. 

Friday was an easy day, with only a 2 hour ride and a 7 mile run on the cards.  Once that was done I took it pretty easy, trying to rest as much as I could.  If there's one thing Boulder Creek is good for, it's recovery.  I'm not sure what the temperature is, but it's just like an ice bath.

Saturday morning was the first time that I looked out the window to see clouds and rain – not what I was hoping for on the morning of my scheduled long ride.  Fortunately the rain eased off and after riding the first hour with Scott, I headed up in the mountains to do some solid climbing, before returning to the flats for a few hours of riding in the aero  bars.  4 hour ride logged and the coach had even been kind enough to give me the day off from running! 

Yesterday was the 21st Boulder Peak Triathlon – an Olympic distance race which attracted some top age-groupers and pros alike.  I’d not signed up for the race, as I decided that 2 weeks after arriving wasn’t the most ideal timeframe to race.  That being said, on Sunday I’ll be racing the Evergreen Sprint Triathlon – a local(ish) race not far from Denver - which I’m sure will be a tough day.  So I played spectator for the day, watching over 1000 other athletes tackle the course.  Funnily enough, I was quite happy I wasn’t racing and was more concerned with getting my training done later in the afternoon.  I was there to support some friends who were racing and it was fun to cheer them on at different parts of the race.  After miserable weather the day before, race day morning was actually quite pleasant.

Once the professional race was over around midday, I ran 8 miles back home and got ready for an important bike session, which included 3x 20 minutes at threshold on a 3 minute rest interval.  After a 4:45am start and being on my feet for the last 8 hours or so, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the session or expecting much from it.  Sometimes you can surprise yourself though and I hit it far better than I expected.  Later in the evening I managed a short swim which rounded off a satisfying week of training, including over 17 hours of cycling, 53 miles of running and very negligible swim volume.