Mini-Marathon

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get to this point! But I did it, I organised and completed a mini-marathon!

I set up my gear so that I could have TK ready to go and hop from rower to horse. Here’s how my place looked:

Rowing machine and horse gear near back door
My “kayak” in the lounge room

Bike, helmet, shoes, fluro safety vest at back door.
I went for my run, 5km loop in 29:56. Nothing interesting to report.
The transition from run to kayak wasn’t all that impressive. Drink, stretch hamstrings, take off shoes, sit down and start paddling. However, it did still take almost 1.5 minutes. I have decided that I definitely want to take my running shoes off and go into something like a water shoe. Something I can move my toes in.
I paddled for 30:15 and found three things:
1) I wanted a towel to wipe my hands. The wet sweaty palms from running made getting a good grip on the paddle difficult and I kept wiping on my already moist clothing. Hand towel added to gear list!
2) My calves got really tight and flexing my toes helped make this more bearable, thus the desire to have shoes on that will allow me to move my feet
3) My right forearm got quite sore a few times, so not sure if I need to do more strengthening here or if technique is the problem.
Next step for this discipline: actually doing it on water!!

It took me 18 minutes to do the next change over. I was feeling quite good so only ate half a light museli bar, saving the other half for before the bike ride. I also washed my hands and I think this will make me feel more comfortable if I can do this on the day of the race. My hands really felt gross. I drank quite a bit of water, put on my bike shorts, caught and dressed the horse. 
My view from the rowing machine.

I could watch TK quite well from this spot, and I could see that being saddled and locked in the round yard started out fine for him, but his tension level built up as the minutes ticked over.

I rowed for my swim. I went 1km in 14 minutes on the dot, and then zipped out to do my ride on TK. 
This transition is quite challenging. My heart rate was racing, I was wobbly all over. I had a drink and tried to settle, but I was really coming at this with a lot of energy. I put on my pants and boots, and dashed out to put the reins on TKs bridle and tighten the girth one more notch. 
TK knew something was up. He was harder to get to stand to mount, and he went out in a very vigorous trot. He had a lot of energy and had a lot of fight for me today! We cantered and several times he gave me every indication that he was not going to stop, and I felt that if I had pulled on him we would have been positively flying. Transitions down from canter to trot took ages and they weren’t pretty. But I remained calm, didn’t pull (mostly) and worked on soft pulsing and even alternating see-sawing actions with lots of calm  “…aand woaah…”   statements. I gave him HUGE rubs when he’d come back to the trot or walk eventually
About halfway round the big outside track I decided that canter to trot transitions were not progressing well, and we would be galloping, and I was aware that I hadn’t established the brakes in TK well enough to feel confident with bringing him back down to a canter or trot out of a gallop. I needed to take a step back, so worked just trot to walk transitions. This went a lot better, but transitions were still slow slow slow. I need to really work on dropping into my seat and stop riding when I am asking for a stop. I so frequently ask for a stop by rising out of the saddle and pushing me weight into my heels. This is the opposite of what I should be doing, as rising out of the saddle is a jockeys way of saying “time to go!” We rode for only 20 minutes, with one stop to re-tighten the girth, and we still came back VERY sweaty!
Hey, where’s my rub down?
Honestly, TK stared blankly after me when I pulled the saddle off and let him go, and dragged all that gear back into the house. When I came back out with the bike he was still looking at me. But then headed off to scratch and roll.
In total, I spent 30 minutes with the horse, 20 of them riding.
The transition between horse and bike wasn’t bad, fairly brief, but didn’t get a time on it, approximately 2 minutes. Pull off boots, pants, change helmets, put on shoes and vest. Note to self: helmet should go on last, because you might have to pull something on over your head at a race.
Hopped on the bike and starting heading up the highway. Originally, I had thought 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back, but the head wind was quite strong and I wasn’t making great progress on the hills, so I decided to try for 20 out and 10 back. I did alright, though did find a few of the new hills particularly challenging (I normally turn onto Trimmer, but just kept going down the highway today). I slowed to as little as 12kph, and managed to work up just over 30kph on one of the downhills. 20 minutes out I turned around … and it was right at the bottom of a hill, so I had to climb back up from a dead stop. I didn’t make it back in in only 10 minutes, it took me 16, but I did managed to get up to 48kph up on my big ring and screaming down one of the hills towards town. The tail wind certainly helped, but really, the main difference between out and back was mental! This will be an important thing for me to work on – the mental part of the ride! Although it was indeed physically challenging – I was labouring and breathing hard and my legs were really working hard – I think that because I believed it was going to be a difficult ride, it turned itself into a very difficult ride.
My bike ride was a total of 13.87km, 36:27 minutes, 22.7 ave.
Things to note for the bike:
1) I will need another water bottle holder
2) I also need a better water bottle! (Or two) The only one I have left is a flip top, and hard to manage one handed, on a bike, with the flip top lid blocking a portion of my vision while riding. VERY BAD! Where the heck are all my simple squirt top water bottles? You get enough free ones… where did they all go!?
Things weren’t pretty after this mini-marathon. My house was quite littered with gear.

And then there was me! It’s funny, I don’t feel any fitter!
A shower and a meal afterwards made all the difference! I feel pretty good.
The most sore thing on me: my neck, upper back and shoulders! Until my shoulder heals I can’t do a lot of moves that would be strengthening for my upper body. No pushups, lat raises, rear delt raises, etc. So I am going to have to come up with a few other upper body and shoulder strengthening exercises to help build resilience in these muscles, because they are really uncomfortable right now!
Anyway, in total I did this mini event in 2 hours 41 minutes and change.
It was challenging but doable. 
Next steps:
  • I will focus on doing a few full-length block sections: 12km run and 1.5 hour paddle. Ride TK followed by hill ride.
  • I will also organise to get out on the water and paddle this weekend!
  • I would like to call Chris and talk to her about some suggestions for improving our ‘stop’ command.
  • I should call Steve & Jan and speak to them about using their place as a launching pad for the day of the race.
  • And I want to find out of Lauren will strap for me on the day of the race.
  • I will work on upper body strengthening exercises, and think I should consider doing squats and lunges to build muscle strength for the bike ride.
  • Oh, and it’s already time again for the farrier to come out and make the boys feet look pretty! They are growing really fast now, I guess the feed is too good!

Time for a nanna nap, and if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll learn the new Balance warm up before heading to work.
Have a great day!
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