The timing of the trip couldn't have been much better. I spent a few days on a container ship for work, learning more about how they actually operate when underway, which is designed to help me better understand what I'm doing on inspections. That combined with lingering stiffness from my Christmas Day mountain bike crash meant training had been a little light for a few weeks, and we aren't too far out from the first race of the season in Clermont. Also, the Polar Vortex Redux meant that Virginia was about to feel something that approaches winter, so I was happy to get out of there. The weather meant I made some crazy changes to my original itinerary, but fortunately I did not have to sit next to John Candy talking about his barking dogs. In anticipation of the storm, I was able to change my original itinerary to leave Tuesday afternoon, then I spent Tuesday night in a somewhat sketchy hotel near the Orlando airport before completing the journey down to Key West on that Wednesday. After navigating the ridiculously crowded, ridiculously tiny airport, I picked up my Hen House with no damage to my bike and not a dime paid to check it. A couple of other triathlete-types in the airport eyed it with jealousy.
Because my friends were all at work during the day, I started putting my bike together to go ride as soon as I got to their house. Key West itself is great and bike friendly for getting around because it's so small, the speed limits are low, and for the most part there are bike lanes or shoulders on all the roads. However, your options for actual rides are pretty much a variant of how far out U.S. 1 you want to go. That said, it's not like it's a bad view or anything:
|I'm convinced this place isn't real. Riding through the Keys reminded me a LOT of Bermuda|
Aside from training, the nice thing about a "traincation" is getting to actually recover from workouts. My normal routine involves something before work, quickly inhale breakfast smoothie and coffee while driving to work. After that I spend most of my days at work out on an inspection on a ship, walking up and down 10 flights of stairs on a ship, often sweating it out in the engine room while wearing heavy, heavy boots. I'm not trying to say my job is any worse or harder than others, but it's nowhere near ideal for recovery between a morning and an afternoon workout. Instead, I just got to sit around and do nothing.
|Ok, so not quite nothing. With the LSAT coming up (only the 28948th time I've mentioned it here/Twitter), logic game drills were my recovery activity of choice.|
It also has an impact on their outside-of-work lives too, as it just so happens that out of the house, there was a triathlete, runner, and swimmer all in the house. Out of all of them, the only one that's still fairly active in that area was Jonas, who has for the time being moved on to ultramarathons rather than triathlon, in part because it's a lot easier to train running while underway. One night, after freezing my Royal Rastafarian nay-nays off by swimming in the 65*F water in nothing but a speedo at the beach, I rode along and paced Jonas back towards the back end of one of his ultra training runs.
|I couldn't help but laugh that Jonas was wearing a jacket. All the guys who live down there were all complaining about how cold it was the first night, when it got below 60*F. I reminded them there was snow on the ground where I lived.|
|From a few days before I got into town: there was in fact a real circus in Key West that weekend, but I'm thinking my version was more apparent to most of the people on the island.|
|Most of everybody, as there were a few lingering around elsewhere and/or still out racing.|
All in all, it was a pretty spectacular trip. Over the course of 4 days, I got in 14,050 yds of swimming, 174.2 mi of biking, and 21.5 mi of running, and I was really happy with each and every workout. Now, some time later as I'm starting to really nail down the speed part of the equation, I'm really feeling how that solid base helped significantly. In addition to the training though, I was really happy to get to spend time with both USCGA friends whom I hadn't seen in almost 2 years, as well as get to know local Va Beach friends much better. Now it's only a couple more weeks before I go back to Florida again for Clermont!
|This was a big time bummer, boarding the plane. The airport is so tiny that you always have to walk across the runway though. Weird.|