In the meantime, remember the USOC fitness challenge I took back in February? Well, at the time there was talk that the Developing/A/B list riders were going to have to redo the tests just before Rolex to measure their improvement, and I decided to commit myself to doing the same.
While there hasn't been any official re-test as far as I can tell, I decided to do mine in any case (a few days ago before I got sick! I've just been waiting to post about it until I was through Badminton stuff). I admit that I've been a little remiss lately in my prep, especially in the plank exercises (which I hadn't done since Spring Break - whoops!), but I was hoping that I could still show some improvement from all the work that I did up through the middle of April.
Previous - 1:00
Goal - 2:00
Actual - 1:30
Well, I didn't reach my goal, but I think a 50% improvement is also nothing to scoff at. I was surprised at how difficult I found this exercise, and it really made me think more seriously about my core strength (or lack thereof). I've never considered myself weak in my core, but I definitely realized how much stronger I could be! I found it hard to make appreciable improvement (I got stuck in the 1:10 zone for what felt like forever) but discovered that doing multiple sets of :45-1:00 in a row on one day and then giving myself rest days in between to recover (because I actually did get sore!) helped. I'm still no Tiana Coudray, who could go for 7:00 at her testing, but I'm getting better! I'd definitely like to keep trying to get to that 2:00 threshold by the end of the term.
Previous - 100
Goal - 150
Actual - 150
Score! 150 was pretty tiring but I think I could have done even more (if you'd really REALLY pressed me to!). I actually haven't been practicing these at all, but getting to do a lot of two point and riding over spring break, plus all the running I've been doing, I'm sure contributed. My legs are pretty impressive right now: they're the definition of thunder thighs, in that they're both very substantial and VERY strong. I've passingly always wished I could have naturally skinny legs like some girls (even when I was super slim in high school I still could never find pants that would accommodate my ass-kicking thighs), but I'm feeling pretty proud of these beauts at the moment. I'd be interested to do this again at the end of the marathon and see if I could get over 200!
Previous - 1.5 miles max
Goal - 3 miles max
Actual - 14 miles max, and getting further every week!
So the running ended up being the one goal I really focused on, for fairly obvious reasons given my marathon goals for the end of term. It's unbelievable how much my feelings toward running have changed over these past few months. If you had told me when I arrived in Oxford in January that I'd run 14 miles continuously at the end of April and find it FUN and not terribly difficult, I would have laughed. And laughed. And laughed. I've been having some foot pain problems that past few days which have been a huge bummer, but I couldn't be more excited to tackle the next few big weeks of training. Bring it on! ... Well, when I can actually get out of bed.