Sunday, 20 July 2014

Running on Cape Cod

I'm in the U.S. for a few weeks this summer, combining a holiday with some teaching on a summer course at Woods Hole. This is a small, bustling town on the ocean, with ferry service to Martha's Vineyard.

My running in the past week has been sporadic, as I was visiting family in Cleveland and recovering from jet lag. Now, with two weeks in the Cape, I'm hoping to get back to more structure.

This morning I was up at 6, before any other members of the family. I wanted to squeeze in a 10-miler along the bike path from Woods Hole to the larger town Falmouth.

After coffee, toast, Facebook, and the New York Times, I dressed and headed out. I headed a bit up the road on which the Falmouth Road Race takes place, and then up onto the bike path. This path leads from Woods Hole to Falmouth (and perhaps more).

There were a surprising number of runners out! Young, older, and some very old. Lots of people were on bikes, too.

I followed the bike path through the woods, past salt marshes, and emerged at the beach. It was overcast, and there was a breeze. Parts of the beach were closed off for nesting birds.

The path took me into Falmouth, and here I peeled off to do a loop through town. I ran past the town green, and the many shops on the main street. I headed towards the beach, past trim, wood shingled houses.

It felt very much like summer in New England. I thought about how enjoyable it would be to relax with a thick Stephen King novel, or listen to the Red Sox on the radio in the evening.

As I headed back, the breeze gave me a boost, and my pace picked up.

And when I got back home, everyone was still in bed!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Swim, bike, run

This was my second sprint triathlon, and third triathlon overall.

I racked my bike early, and was impressed by the bikes of the other triathletes. My bike isn't anything special (aluminum frame, carbon forks), as I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a bike that would mostly hang in the garage.

I had a cup of coffee, and a bit of a pastry while waiting for the race to start. The swim was run in heats, so I watched the first swimmers. I checked out the transition areas to see where I'd be entering and leaving.

My heat assembled. There were five of us in my lane, and we did two lengths to warm up. The race started. I was second in line. Someone tapped my foot to signal that they wished to pass within a few lengths, and then we settled into our positions for the remaining laps.

In my first race, I'd gone out too fast, and was out of breath for much of the swim. This time, I relaxed, and tried to focus on taking big strokes. I'd been keeping up my swimming even while training for the London marathon this past winter, and had upped my training a bit in the six weeks betweem the marathon and this triathlon.

I finished in 16:37. This was one minute faster than my previous sprint.

The bike was fine. I tried to get up to speed right out of the start, and then settle into a steady pace. I was passed by some, and ultimately passed others. All in, the 20k bike took 45:39.

I had a good transition for the run (38 s.), and was off. The run was two laps, with a steepish hill at the start. It was sunny and warm. I passed more people here than passed me, and finished the 5k in 23:02.

All in, I was 1:27:56. This put me in the bottom half of the field, but I enjoyed the event.

And now my bike is back hanging in the garage.