This weekend, I realized just how different my training is this summer as compared to last summer. Last year, I was focused on 70.3 training, which meant much higher mileage, especially on my bike. A 60+ mile weekend ride was the norm, and that was easily 4-5 hours, including a stop at the gas station for snacks, a bathroom break, and refilling water.
This weekend, I did have a 9 mile run on the schedule, so not so terribly different from last summer, but my bike ride was only 2.5 hours. I didn’t have to start at the crack of dawn and I still had a good amount of my day left. I have to admit, I really enjoyed it.
I got out around 7:30 and rode 17 miles, then joined up with the group at Princeton Sports and rode the same 17 mile course a second time. Somehow, I swear those hills grew between the two rides. It really was the perfect way to do the ride. I had to push myself through the first part to ensure that I made it back to join the group ride, and the presence of other cyclists kept me moving through the second part. I was still slower on the second loop, but some of that is likely also due to the warmth of the day.
(And no, I didn’t quite hit 2.5 hours – I was off my 8 minutes.)
I finished the ride not feeling completely drained, did a quick 2 mile run, went to the grocery store (sorry, fellow shoppers), managed to not buy all the food in the place, and by the time I was home and showered, still had plenty of time left in the day.
That’s not to say that I won’t ever race a 70.3 again, but I’m really enjoying the balance that I get focusing on the olympic distance. I still worked out over 8 hours this week, and that’s with missing a workout due to work commitments. So it’s not like I’m being lazy this summer, but I feel like I have decent balance.
Given what I have planned in my life for next year (a northern European cruise in August), I’m not sure a 70.3 fits next year, due to scheduling, vacation hours, and funds, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I definitely don’t want it to be a one-and-done type of thing, but I also think I may be an olympic distance athlete. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I think in running and triathlon, there’s this push to do the next thing. If you run 10ks, you get asked when you’re doing your first half marathon. Once you do a half, people ask you when you’re going to do a full marathon. And don’t get me started on ultras. I did two marathons. I don’t have any desire to do another, not because I didn’t like them, but because I just didn’t want to be spending that much time training. I still get prodded about doing a 140.6 triathlon. I’m completely uninterested. I need balance in my life.