For starters, I hate tapering. I find that before races I'm in my most motivated state and all the things necessary during a taper (short race effort practices/stretching/ AR eating habits) are all the things I hate about training. I much rather go out and just put in a good grind. At least I have more time on my hands and have completely caught up to all my Giro d'Italia watching! Di Luca is pretty awesome.
As a result, my tapers are usually shorter rather than long, and I typically don't actually scale down my workouts so much as shift them towards swimming which is much less impact so allows me to rest up my legs.
That being said, the past couple days I've had a couple solid swim workouts in the glorious sun at UBC and then tonight I led the run practice with UBCTC where we did a race prep run of 3/2/1km all at theoretical race pace. Since doing so at my half iron run pace was somewhat useless, I decided to run them at 4min/km pace. This brings me just outside comfort talking pace but still relaxed and not really hard on the muscles and joints.
One thing that tells me that race season is about to come and that I'm in the middle of a taper is that I'm feeling aches and pains everywhere. This always happens to me, I always become paranoid about everything hurting before a race.
I've been struggling with my IT band and hips, and this week it seems like they are 10X worse than ever before. Obviously they are not but that doesn't stop me from feeling it. One thing that actually has me quite worried is I'm getting the ticklish feeling of bruising in my shins. And as a veteran of shin splints I knew exactly what this is. So icing and stretching will ensue and hopefully I can nip this one in the butt. Its a little suspicious because I only started noticing it last night (an off day), and I hadn't run since last Thursday... Weird. I may even race in my training shoes to prevent the shock from racing flats. But thats a tentative suggestions. Come race day I may throw caution to the wind.
As far as the race is concerned I'm feeling pretty good. As I said, running is coming along smoothly, I haven't quite decided what my target pace will be yet but I know it should be much faster than last year.
On the bike I'm feeling very strong. I haven't put much time in TT position, however, that doesn't worry me too much, I know the strength is there and I'm still young and limber, my back rarely bothers me on the bike.
Unfortunately my bike is currently in the shop. Last weekend one of the rides I did was up Cypress. I went up at a pretty steady pace pushing hard but not killing myself (I still had 100km of riding to do after), about 9k up the climb my chain skipped up into my wheel dragging with it my derailer. Fortunately I was riding slowly and was able to stop quickly without causing much damage. Result being I stayed in my 19 cog or below, avoiding the 21 and 23. This meant I still had to climb the last 3.5km in my 19, YIKES! I reached the top in 53:58, and this didn't mean much to me at the time, but upon review when I got home turns out this was my fastest ascent by 50 seconds on a day where I just buried myself last year. This was a huge confidence builder since I felt I could have gone significantly faster and the technical issues I had with the gears. Hopefully when I pick up my bike tomorrow the derailer hanger will be fixed and this won't be a concern over the weekend. It shouldn't matter either way, I won't be going into my small gears, since there are no real hills.
In other news, I received my second helmet in the mail today. My old road helmet was getting a little worse for wear and probably shouldn't have been used for the past year. That being said I ordered a Giro Atmos and it fits and is super comfy, I snapped a few dorky pictures of me in it to show you all.
Front, Wow I look happy...
I tomorrow in my typical Friday procrastination will have a race preview with my expectations along with my competition. Stay tuned!