MICHAEL LOVATO | Professional Triathlete





Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Saturday morning came very early for me. I had decided to part from what had become my norm, and to join a group for a masters swim. The venue was the gorgeous Texas Swim Center, and the Tx Aquatics coach that morning was my favorite, Whitney Hedgepeth. I joined Andrea and Jamie (ok, I was too tired to really join them, but I tried) for my first 5000-yrd workout of the year. I’m really taking a different approach to swimming this year. I’ve been focusing on correcting a few inefficiencies in my stroke, so I’ve not really pounded out the big, hard sets. This was a struggle for me, but after about an hour, I found myself warming up a bit.

We then went to the Whole Foods flagship. For fear of spending three hours describing this amazing store, I’ll just suggest that anyone in the Austin area make the trip over to 5th and Lamar to see it themselves. I had such a great time eating breakie there that I decided to have lunch, dinner, and several desserts there as well: very delicious.

I then made my way over to Cassie’s place to join her for a run workout. The plan down in Texas was to make use of all that extra oxygen by running a bit higher on the intensity. Her workout was twice over the Stratford loop (four miles with the first two being very steep hills, and the second two being flat). Her goal: to push the hills and the flat with recovery on all downs. We notched a very fun, and challenging ten miles, satisfied with our times and efforts; it’s really a great run, and the venue for the semi-world-famous Fools’ Run!

Next up was, of course, lunch at Whole Foods. Yum.

Finally I got out for the same bike ride as Friday: easy yet hilly. This was just right for my tired legs. Todd and Beth were preparing for an early moring at the Austin Marathon and Half, so I headed over to Whole Foods for one final meal, and lots of chocolate!
Friday brought the wind and cold, but it didn’t stop us too much. Fortunately, this was to be an easier day for me. I slept in a bit before meeting with Ritchie Cunningham and Luke Dragstra for a short and easy spin. The wind and cooler temps slowed us down a bit, and forced us to choose a more sheltered route up north. We made our way through some nice neighborhoods, and picked up an old route past where Scott and Kathleen used to live (in case the Woods are reading). Hitting 360 we enjoyed a tailwind for the second half of the ride, although we were still freezing our buns off.

Next up for me was a bit of lounging around. I couldn’t seem to drag myself off the couch!

I finally dragged myself out for a run: an easy 40 minutes. Although it was getting late by this point, I still managed to jump in for a nice 4000 at Stacy pool. It’s really amazing how few people are there on a cold Friday evening. I pretty much had the whole pool to myself.

I capped the day off with a really nice dinner at Curra’s with my good friends Doug and Besty, as well as Todd and Beth (my generous hosts). We really enjoyed pounding back the chips, salsa, some tamales and beer, as well as one or two World Famous Enchiladas!

Day 10 of my training trip arrived with some chilly temps. This is about as cold as it gets in Austin: 33 degrees with drizzle, fog and wind. Hmmm… I chose to sleep in rather than join T and B for the start of the half.

I dragged myself out of bed at 8:00am for a 9:00am start to my long run. My goal was to trek down to the course, follow it in reverse (not backwards!) to see as much of the action as I could.

I quickly realized that a lot of dreams and goals were not to be accomplished that morning. I saw many a runner–from elite to back-of-the-packer–suffering through these tough conditions. I was thankful that I was just training that morning.

I found an athlete that I coach around the mile 17 mark, and she was in the process of freezing her way off pace. She just missed her goal of qualifying for Boston, but finished despite the nasty morning temps.

I finished up a really nice long run: 21 miles with enough roads and trails, and ups and downs to keep my happy. It felt very good to get that final bit of sea level mileage in the legs.

I fueled up with about a gallon of Ultragen (best recovery drink ever!) and headed out for day three of the same ride. I somehow found myself in an enjoyable little rut/ patttern, and the ride suited me just fine. I did have to wait a little bit for Todd this time (he had notched a solid 20miler that moring as well). Ah well, it was great to have his company, except on the hills. Come on. Ha!

The trip was nearing its end, and I was pretty much done. I had met all of my training goals, in fact, had exceeded many of them. I had eaten at all my favorite restaurants, and visited with all my good friends. All that was left was one final visit to Jack and Adam’s Austin bikes: really the best tri shop I’ve seen.

We capped the day off with a trip out to Jon and Nancy’s place, also known as Casa Hill, or Rancho de Hill. (At least I know it this way.) We pounded back a few glasses of red wine, ate way too much, and laughed quite a bit. It was really a nice end to a great trip.

Bright and early Monday morning, Todd dropped me at the Austin airport where I boarded a flight for Colorado. I’m now back in Boulder, planning my next block of training to ramp myself up for Ironman Arizona.

Check in for more later…

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