Since G and I both really enjoy being active, we wanted to go somewhere that we could have an active vacation yet still kick back and relax afterwards. We wanted to go somewhere that we knew had good riding and swimming. Early in the year we talked about doing a training weekend in Lake Placid so when it came time to plan our summer vacation, we figured it would be nice to go back there. We hadn't been back since we did Ironman in 2006 so we were long overdue for a visit.
We hit the road Saturday morning at around 10:00 am, which, on the Saturday of a long weekend, was a huge mistake. Normally when we have a long drive ahead of us, we get up really early and get going but because we wouldn't be able to check in until 3:00 pm, we figured we'd leave later. Seems like the rest of southern Ontario had the same idea. We sat in traffic along the 401 for what seemed like ages. Then we sat in traffic at the border for a good hour. At least it was sunny and warm enough to have the top down so I looked at it as a good opportunity to work on my tan.
We were staying at a new place right in the middle of town called The Haus. If you're ever planning on going to Lake Placid, I highly recommend looking into staying here. It was a great little one bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, living room and dining area as well as a great little deck that looked out over Mirror Lake. The only downside was the very steep set up stairs we had to take to get to our unit as we were on the top floor. Everything else was fantastic.
Sunday: Since we arrived late on Saturday, we took that as our day off. Sunday morning we were right back at it. We did a swim followed by a long run. My swim totally sucked but I had one of the best runs I've had in a long time that day. I felt like I was flying. Sunday workouts: 1500m swim, 17.54km run. Gotta ease into the week, ha ha.
Monday: Our plan was to try and ride the Ironman course loop but it would all depend on how I felt. My bike position had changed so I wasn't sure how comfortable or efficient I'd be or how much power I had lost and / or gained. I quickly found out once we started riding. Hills were a challenge. Not the best thing given we were riding in the mountains. But whatever, I sucked it up and did my best. I also think my 17km run the day before didn't help my legs much. The hills sucked but on the flats I found that I had more power and I felt like I was pedaling much more efficiently. When we did the climb into Wilmington my back started to spasm which was incredibly painful so I had to stop and stretch. Further evidence that I was using muscles that I don't normally use. On a tri bike, you are in a much more forward (aggressive) position so you generally use more of your quad muscles. The thought process here is that it makes it easier to transition to running afterwards as you haven't completely fatigued your hamstrings out. With my new fit, I was engaging a bit more of my hamstrings and lot more of my glutes. This resulted in a much more fluid pedal stroke all around but a loss of power on the climbs (I am very quad dominant). Normally I can power up hills but not anymore. In the long run, I think this will be a good change for me as it will force me to build strength in those muscles but for now, it's a bit frustrating. Because of the glute / hamstring engagement, my back was also doing more work that it was used to, thus the tight back muscles that went into spasm. By the time we made the climb into Wilmington my legs were not happy so we decided to skip doing the out and back which adds another 20km to the route. By the time we finished we had covered roughly 70km. I have to say even though the cycling is tough out there, you can't beat the scenery. It's stunning.
Monday Mileage: 69km bike
Tuesday: Triathlon day. G had wanted to go and do the reverse loop of the course but my legs were trashed so I opted to ride part of the run course instead. I knew it was going to be a really short ride but I couldn't face going back out again and killing my legs. Once again we started our day with a swim and once again I was having major panic issues. I could only get to about 600m or so before I started to feel really panicky. So I'd turn around and swim back and then spend my time swimming back and forth near the shore. Not what I had wanted to do but at least I was swimming. After the swim we grabbed a quick bite and then got on our bikes. We rode down to the bottom of the run course and I turned to go back to town and G went on his way to see how far he could get around the course before he caved. The end of the run course dumps you out on highway 86 just before you start climbing the 3 Bears. The Bears are the last 3 major climbs before you get back into Lake Placid. They don't seem to tough on the first loop but on the second, they suck big time. I did Papa Bear twice because I missed the shot the first time around, ha ha. By the time I got back to the apartment I had covered 23km. It was a nice little recovery ride.
|The 3 Bears|
Wednesday: Both of us were pretty punched by Wednesday so we opted to take an "easy day" and just swim so our legs would be recovered for our "Big Day" on Thursday. G being the crazy man that he is did 2 loops of the swim for a total of 4100m. I managed to do just over 2km. Still couldn't face going out to do the full loop so I did a whole bunch of smaller loops. I decided that it wasn't worth beating myself up over and I would just do whatever I could. I finally felt pretty good on this swim. We were going to do some stand up paddle boarding that afternoon but it got really windy so we opted to go to the top of Whiteface Mountain instead. Because that's what you do on a really windy day, ha. We had talked about doing the climb up here but once I saw the condition of the road, I was totally out. It was super bumpy. Going up wouldn't be too bad but descending would be a total nightmare. I'd only go up if someone drove me back down, ha ha.
Wednesday mileage: 2020m swim
Thursday: This was the day we were going to tackle the entire Ironman course loop. The day didn't start off well. G got a flat about 5km in. While he was changing it, it started to rain lightly. Not good. The first 1/3 of the course involves some climbing and a whole lot of descending. It seemed to let up just as we got back on the road. It stopped for a bit and started again. Of course it started to rain harder as we approached the insane 10km descent into Keene. I am a horrible descender at the best of times. Add rain into the mix and it gets ugly. I rode the brakes pretty much the entire way down. I never hit more than 45 kph going down this hill whereas G probably easily hit about 75 kph - that's how hard I was riding the brakes. My hands were so sore by the time I got to the bottom I had to stretch them out. And of course when I got to the bottom of the descent, it stopped raining. Or rather, I rode out of the rain cloud that was hovering over the descent. Because that's the way things work in the mountains. One minute you're in the rain, the next you're in the sun. We busted it through Jay and Upper Jay. My legs felt pretty good and I really noticed the difference in my new bike fit. I was averaging between 36-42 kph on the flats with minimal effort. I was loving it. Until we hit Wilmington. Once again that was a struggle. My back started to bother me again. Not as bad as that first day but enough that I had to stop and stretch before we hit the out and back. I had forgotten how nice the out and back portion of the loop was. First you ride through some rural houses and then you get into a forest. There are a couple of good little climbs in there too. I was doing ok until we hit about 70km, then my left foot started to bug me and my girlie bits just plain hurt. I couldn't get comfortable on my saddle anymore. I stuck it out for another 12km or so but then we had to stop. I had to take my shoe off to stretch my foot out and I wanted to get off my bike before I had a complete meltdown and opted to throw it into the river. The little break helped and I got through the last 10km without too much issue. As we pulled up to the apartment my Garmin registered just under 91km. Normally I will keep going to make it an even number but that was enough for me. That was my longest and most challenging ride this year. I was thankful that I had the foresight to buy a new foam roller the day before. After we ate, we headed off to the Olympic Centre to go watch the Canadian Juniors play. Yup, I went to a hockey game on my vacation in August. You don't get more Canadian than that!!
Thursday mileage: 90.86km in 3h:23 min and change.
Friday: Departure day. Our plan was to do a decent swim before we left but we woke up to a steady rain. We watched the lake for any sign of it letting up. Surprisingly there were a few hardy souls who opted to get their swim in. G and I couldn't face it so we packed everything up and made our way home. I was honestly really sad to be leaving. It was the perfect little vacation for us. We got some good solid training in, we had the time and energy to do a little shopping and sight seeing and we slept in every day! I don't think we'll be waiting another 7 years before we decide to head back to Lake Placid for another visit.
Total mileage for the week:
That's a pretty solid week of training. The smart thing to do would have been allow myself to have some rest on the weekend but instead, I raced. I don't recommend that at. all. But that's another blog post.
Have you ever done a "training vacation?"
When you go away on vacation do you stick with your routine or do you take a break?