First bike in SF

SF Bike Map

Routes with bike lanes in SF

Today, I did my first bike ride in SF since moving here.

The prep

I looked online for a list of good routes. Most pages I found seemed to be about good routes outside of the city, which wasn’t very helpful to me. I live near the center of the city, so I needed to know how to get out there. I found this map showing roads with bike lanes to be very useful, and I’m going to try to explore the main ones in the future to see which ones I like best.

The route

I eventually settled on commuting up and down Polk Street, a main N-S road in the city. The path unfortunately reminded me of Massachusetts Ave a bit — a road somewhat in need of paving with plenty traffic lights and stop-and-go traffic. You could easily spend 45 minutes getting across SF with this route, with a not inconsiderable amount of danger (there is a decent amount of hoping that people won’t open their car doors). However, all in all, things weren’t that bad — there is, in fact, a bike lane through the entire road, which you can’t say about many places.

The bike

Took my Specialized Allez out for the ride. This is my road bike, and the one of my two bikes that has been repaired — my Fuji tri bike needs some serious love, but I still haven’t decided what to do with it (maybe will sell it and get another tri bike that is higher quality/fits me better).

The fit of the bike was noticeably bad — I was putting nearly all my weight on my hands, rather than on the seat. That made it hard to control the bike and also to safely take my hands off the handlebars to signal turns, etc.

Was the fit always this bad? Possibly — during my half ironman, my hands started going numb. And I’ve always found it hard to balance on, and signal from, this bike. Possibly it’s simply too large for me, and so to reach the handlebars I have to move my center of gravity far too forward.

The plan

Biking during the work week is probably going to be too time-consuming, so I’ll keep it as a weekend activity.

I’ll also probably take the bike back to the shop to get it properly fitted, that is, if I can improve the fit much myself fooling around on my trainer.

Intervals August 30th

This summer, the university has been renovating the parking area near the track. While I was away from running, they planted new trees, but they yet haven’t filled the root areas with dirt.

trees

Is this a liability issue?

They’ve also started to sprinkler the “grass” (which seems like synthetic wood chips for now, likely surrounding seeds?) aggressively. I was not above getting sprinkled on the way back.

sprinkler

I did 2 miles of intervals today, my standard 0.25 mile intervals. My target pace for each quarter mile is 1:30; I’m still a bit above that. I was hitting max HR during the intervals, so I feel pretty good about that.hr

Overall, I spent about 24% of my time in interval mode, and 76% of my time in recovery:pace(This breakdown is by pace, rather than heart rate, which, due to lags, doesn’t correlate well with the actual amount of time I spent in each cycle.)

Morning Mile

After yesterday’s workout, which hit my heart rate max for a long period, I decided to do a short one today. A shorter run would help me recover, and also help me spread my mileage across the week. Ideally, I’ll run 7 miles this week. It wouldn’t do to ramp up too quickly and get injured.mile times

Today’s mile time of 7:16 was a bit slower than usual. The above plot shows basically no improvement in my mile times over the last two months, measured over a consistent course. Hopefully I’ll be able to break out of this rut, which to some extent was created by my Ironman training/getting distracted by work.

Back to running

runAug27Map

After a week of post-Ironman sunburn recovery, I reintroduced myself to running. My performance was pretty bad: I did 3 miles at a 10-minute pace. (This compares to, for example, a recent run of 4 miles at an 8:31 pace.)

I’m not too worried about this blip in underperformance. It’s sufficiently bad that it was probably just an off day for me. Maybe I was dehydrated, hungry, etc., various reasons for randomly bad performance.

I also know I pushed myself just the amount I wanted to, actually even more. I originally set out with the goal of doing an easy three-mile run, but as I wasn’t running too fast, an otherwise-easy pace actually ended up hitting my heart rate max of 180 for most of the run. (My watch tells me not to work out for another 3.5 days!)
runAug27

Note that my pace is usually faster than 10″-mile in the above diagram, and pretty steady, but the average pace over the run is lower because of the times I stopped at traffic lights.

Speaking of traffic lights, I find that they provide one of the most interesting physiological sensations in running, and not in a good way. Somehow it is possible to hit my heart rate max and temporarily “tune out” my suffering. But if I stop short, I suddenly start feeling just how hot it is outside. A terrible feeling passes through my circulatory system like I’ve just floored the gas in a car with its emergency brake on. And my legs start freezing into a standing position, motionless. If  possible, it seems preferable to slow down gradually rather than stop short.

I also felt another interesting but unpleasant feeling I haven’t felt for a long time, whose source I’m still trying to understand. When getting out of breath, my face starts feeling awfully painful, like my teeth are being extracted. Is this because of a lack of blood to the face? Or maybe too much blood (blood pressure?). Actually, this feeling has become quite rare for me, and I associate it with the days before I started working out.

The current plan is to train toward two things:

  1. Running a 6-minute mile. (My record now is 6:41, so I still have a ways to go.)
  2. Doing a 5k. I’m not going to train toward this explicitly, but since most of my workouts will be in the 2 to 3 mile range, I expect to have decent prep toward that. My goal is 24 minutes.

Base Miles

Ran 2 miles this morning, not too fast, just to build up my weekly mileage. After taking a brief stop to add stadiums to my routine, I’m ready to get back to expanding mileage, slowly.

Low running volume and slow increases in that volume seem to be working well in preventing the running injuries I had before. I’m gonna stick to that plan for the foreseeable future.

Intervals tomorrow, possibly stadiums on Thursday, and perhaps a swim sometime on the weekend.