By: Abra Cranford
When I lace up my Airmax’s, puffs of dust rise into the sunshine. I
double knot them and take off running. I run to the Edgewood Park
trailhead from my house and start up the mountain. A guy passes me while
heading up the trail when I’m pulled over to adjust my ponytail. Not to
be discouraged, I chase him up the hill for a while. I catch him at the
halfway-up point where he is catching his breath. I feel very pleased
with myself as I run past him and continue up toward the summit…that is
until I see him bypassing the switchbacks I’m on and launching himself
straight up the spine of the hill. I make a mental note to try that
sometime. On my way down, I see a high school (or college? They all look
so young to me now) track team take off down a different trail. I know
I’m in the right place to train for a race.
To train for Alcatraz, I decided to focus on cross training and running. There are just not enough hours in the day for me to swim, bike, run plus, cross train. For me, the run portion is the most difficult part of a tri since my legs feel like bricks and I’m tired, so very, very tired. If I can just get those running legs up to par, maybe the last few miles will come a little easier? (Please?) The funny thing is, I’ve been running at Edgewood Park for 2 years now, and I’ve only just recently been able to continuously run the grueling 2 miles of uphill. For this I thank my cross training. Thank you cross-training!!
For the last few weeks my schedule has gone something like this:
Monday: Run or if I raced Sunday, rest. Or maybe still run. Depends on how hard the race was. I should not have admitted that.
Tuesday: Sculpt class. I think I should explain this class. It sounds like a lot of ladies with 1lb weights and yoga mats but be warned, there has been more than one occasion I’ve been close to tears in this class, but I was sweating so hard, no one would have noticed anyway.
Wednesday: TRX Boot Camp. Excellent interval training. It’s a strength set followed by cardio, strength, cardio, strength, cardio. You get the picture.
Friday: Swim then run.
Saturday: Long bike ride (or rest if I have a race)
Sunday: Rest or Race Day
So you can see my swimming/biking is a little lax these days while I
dedicate two days to strength training. I do bike an easy 10 miles to
work sometimes so my legs don’t forget how to ride but thanks to my
cross training, my legs are the strongest they’ve ever been and my
arms/shoulders are not too shabby either. Let’s hope they get me through
the bay, over those hills and up that sand ladder (eek)!
I always used to think it was stupid to skip a run in favor of squats, lunges and push ups. If I wanted to be better at running, the only way to get there is to run more, right? Wrong. Turns out my running strength (and biking too) has drastically improved, even though I only run a couple days a week. Being able to charge up a mountain that I used to have to power hike is proof enough for me!
When I signed up for the Alcatraz triathlon, I knew it was going to require me to be stronger, mentally and physically, than any other race to date. Race Day is approaching fast and if I’m not prepared, it will be my own darn fault. So I lace up my Airmax’s in a puff of dust and take off.