Clermont Training Camp Day 4
The Road to Tokyo Journal
PRs For Breakfast
Today started out with a 7:30 AM track session. The workout?, 1 mile all out followed by 6×200 at 1 mile pace. I’d never done an all out 1 mile time trial on the track before, Zack and I were pretty sure my best mile time came in a duathlon we’d done at some point in the last couple of years. According to my watch I’d set my best mile time ever on Monday during the 3K, so who really knows. I knew that whatever happened this morning it would probably be a new personal record for me unless I really spectacularly blew up.
I had a yogurt, muffin, coffee and ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast and filled my bottle with lemon lime gatorade to bring down to the track. I put on my warm up jacket and pants for the walk down to the track. When we got to the track though it was decently warm so I shed the layers immediately. We did an easy 14-15min warm up before opening up with a few strides. I like to run a hard 100 meters on two curves, then run a hard two 100s on the straight aways just to get my footing and feel out how the legs are turning over on curves and straights. There was some moisture on the track so that was slightly concerning and maybe affected my confidence a bit. There is also a metal rail along the inside of lane one so I had to trust that Zack would keep me away from tripping on that. He’d done a great job on Monday so now we just had to do it again a little faster.
Yesterday I chatted with Derick about a strategy for the mile. He encouraged me to go for a 5:30. Open with a 1:24 400 and try to descend from there. That was certainly my intention.
Derick gave us the countdown from five. Then we were off. I heard Eric running ahead of me and I tried to stay focused on my form, using my arms to drive my leg turn over. I tried to keep my stride long. I took a little bit of gas in the turns so that I wouldn’t waste too much energy pin balling off of Zack and trying to reaccelerate on the straight aways. I knew my toughest 400 was going to be the 3rd 400. I heard Derick yell out my first 400 split at 1:19. I was definitely going at a sub 5:30 pace, but this was probably a bit too hot of a start. Typical Kyle MO.
I blew through the 800 in 2:42 and that’s when I really started hurting. My left shin which had been bothering me before heading home for a week started to tighten up a bit. I tried pushing it from my mind. I tried trusting my form and footing. My feet hadn’t slid out from under me yet. Don’t give into the pain, stay on it. Keep driving. Keep pushing.
I came through the 1200 in 4:11, a massive slowdown. I’d have to close with a blistering last 400. I pushed myself as hard as I dared. Zack kept encouraging me. “200 meters, 100 meters, open it up!”
I hit the line in 5:37. Definitely a mile PR by a long way. My lungs were burning and my legs screamed in protest. While I was happy with the overall time, I was disappointed in my pacing. On the other hand though I took a risk which is what Derick also wanted me to do.
I’m pretty sure all of us on the track this morning set mile PRs… well except for Zack. His best is a 4:38. He briefly thought about doing his own mile TT, but decided against it.
After a 10min easy recovery jog, we lined up for 6x200m at the pace we’d just run our mile in. I had to run 200s in 42sec. We’d then jog easy for 200 and repeat. My first was a little hot at 40.7, but then we settled in for the next 4 between 41.5 and 41.9. We closed with a 40.4 before doing an easy cool down jog. Then it was back to the hotel for coffee and a second small breakfast. I grabbed a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and a small container of coco crisps with milk, as well as a cup of coffee. Then it was time to gear up for the swim.
Coach Chris Palmquist led the swim today. It was 10min choice warm up mixing in freestyle and paddles/pulling. Or as Hailey called it “IOa,” meaning “Illusion of Autonomy.” I did 200 swim, 200 with paddles, 100 swim. After which coach Chris had us do what she calls the locomotive 500. This means every 25yd you take one more harder stroke building up to race effort. So on the first 25 you take 1 hard stroke then cruise the remainder of the 25, then you take 2 hard strokes on the second 25 and easy cruise the rest of the 25, then 3 hard strokes, and so on and so forth until you get to 20 hard strokes on the 20th 25. When I hit the wall I felt good and warm and like I’d built into the 500 very nicely. Hailey, in the lane next to me, echoed my thoughts and Derick made a note to add that into our warm up routines for certain swims when we’re back at the training center.
We then did 5×100 as 50 drill, 50 build to race pace. Then it was time for the main set.
The main set was 3×300 working on starting fast and settling into race pace. The goal was to go out hard for 25-50yd activating our various energy systems. Between each 300 we’d cruise for 100 and get plenty of rest so we could replicate our effort for each 300. I went out strong on the first 25 and then tried settling down into race pace. I hit the wall in 4:20 for the first 300. Then tried pressing for 50 on the second 300 but fell off a little bit coming in at 4:24. On the third and final 300 I pressed for 25, then pressed a little more but not for the whole 50. Then I settled into race pace, but tried to not drop my race effort too much. Additionally, I tried closing a little faster which resulted in me swimming 4:17. I then did 200 easy and 200 with paddles to round out for a nice 300yd swim. I felt good, and returned to the hotel for a lunch of a chicken sandwich with cheese, ham and spinach. I also snacked on some pita chips and hummus, and some watermelon. Then it was time to gear up for the afternoon ride.
Munching On Sugarloaf
When ever Mike and I would come to Clermont to do a long ride during my first couple years figuring out how to be a triathlete, Sugarloaf Mountain was my nemesis. This short punchy little climb only gains about 190 ft in elevation and kicks up to about 8.5% grade. The last time I’d ridden Sugarloaf was my birthday 2015. I didn’t even have a GPS watch yet, but fortunately Mike had recorded our ride that day and I was able to track down our time up Sugarloaf thanks to Strava. I knew I was a significantly stronger athlete now and was curious to see how challenging Sugarloaf would be for me now.
We casually pedaled from the hotel as a team and cruised out to the backside of Sugarloaf. We rode to the top, congregated and then Derick led us down to our starting point down the steep side. Our goal today was just to do two repeats of Sugarloaf as openers for our hard bike ride tomorrow. So Zack and I set off ready to rip up Sugarloaf, but barely part way up we had a bad shift and the chain seemed to come off the rocky wheels. So we pulled over to doublecheck it. Then we cruised up the remainder of the climb. First rep fail, but even with the stop we climbed the hill in 3:59, only 31sec short of my PR.
We cruised back down the steep side hitting better than 54mph without pedaling. Then it was right back up. We chose better gearing this time and cruised up catching and passing several of our teammates who’d started ahead of us. After we returned to the hotel from the ride and I had the chance to upload the ride to Strava I got the good news that I’d obliterated my PR by over 1min. According to my Strava I climbed Sugarloaf in 2:19. According to Zack’s we climbed it in 2:17. All around, pretty solid. It certainly was nostalgic to ride up a hill that had given me so many fits as a beginner triathlete so long ago.
We finished off the evening having a socially distanced team dinner on the patio. Hailey found an Asian/Sushi restaurant that looked delicious so many of us ordered from it. It was nice to enjoy a meal with teammates, cracking jokes, trading insults, and laughing like old times.
Finally it was back to the room and off to bed for one more big training day tomorrow.