Monday, September 29, 2008

From deep inside the Ironman training abyss...

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
- Romans 5:3

Perseverance. Character. Hope.

Saturday, Sept. 20th - Character pushed me out the door to meet Tim for a 13 mile run. Had I not known that Tim would have been waiting in the parking lot for someone to run with on that morning, I cannot guarantee that I would have gotten this run done. Not to mention, after 7 miles I became nauseous and threatened to puke my guts out, and Tim every-so-slightly changed the subject and somehow, without ever saying so, convinced me to carry on.

Saturday night I erased all ideas of swimming, biking, and running as J.T. and I took the boys to the Opry, spent the night across from Centennial Park, and attended the Titans game the next morning. What did this cost me? Aside from the precious cash that I'm having a hard time letting go of these days, it cost me a 1600yd swim on Saturday and a 1:45 bike ride that I really never had any intention of doing anyways. Believe me, it was well worth the cost. There is a time to follow the plan, and there is a time to kick the plan to the curb and catch your breath and enjoy the most precious thing you've got - your family. We had a seriously good time.

So, following the weekend in NashVegas, here's how the long antipicated recovery week went:

Monday - 4 mile run at lunch. This was supposed to be a 7 mile run, but work got in the way. It was supposed to be hill repeats, but I talked myself out of that too, considering I had to be back in 50 minutes for a meeting, and needed to still be able to think clearly. Besides, for some reason, my legs insisted that 4 miles was enough on this day. What is wrong with me???

Tuesday - 20 mile ride at lunch. 3200 yd swim that evening. You can't beat the weather these matter how tired or how unmotivated I might find myself, riding 20 miles in 80 degrees with bright sunshine and an easy breeze is pure heaven. And the 3200 yds was my first swim IN 10 days due to the shoulder problems I've been having. The shoulder still hurt some, but I completed the swim set without much of a problem.

Wednesday - 6 mile run at lunch. Oh yeah, running 6 miles in those same weather conditions also qualifies as pure heaven.

Thursday - Rest.

Friday - 4500yd straight swim in 1:31:40. I had to do a double take on the watch when I finished. Then I had to contain myself to keep from dancing around the deck of the pool. The shoulder...well, it still hurt...but it hurts a lot less when I keep my stroke wide and long...which is what I'm suppose to be doing anyways. Following the swim, I rode 35 in a little over 2 hours. I'm feeling fast in the pool and slow on the do you explain that when I've barely swum lately, but I've been biking my ass off?? Little recovery, maybe? Low motivation, perhaps? I don't know, and I really don't care. If you only knew the convincing it took to even get me out there, you'd just be happy that I logged the miles/time.

Saturday - I got up to do my 2 hour bike/1:45 run around 6:30. I got dressed and sat down at the computer to check my plan and make sure I knew what I needed to do. Not a creature was stirring....then...footsteps...little ones...getting closer.

"Mom! Where are you going?"

It was Bo, rubbing his sleepy eyes...he caught me in time this time, and you could tell that he was proud of himself.

I said, "Goodmorning, Bo. I'm going to bike and run a little in a few minutes."

"No! No, you are not. You are staying here."

"I won't be gone all day this time, Bo."

"No, please, please, please stay here. Every time I wake up I look for you and you are gone biking or running."

Needless to say, I stayed. I had no idea what I would do or how I would possibly get the day's training in, but I felt like I was facing 4th and 20 in my own territory, and had no choice but to punt. Punt, I did, and we fixed pancakes, played with army men, played some Wii Bowling and some Power Pros Baseball. J.T., who is more nervous, I think, than I am about this Ironman thing, insisted that I had time to get it done in time for Briar's football game if I started at 11:00. Bo seemed to be tired of playing with me by then, anyways, so I took off. I rode for 2 hours, hopped off and ran 11.31 miles in 1:45. Nothing terribly fast, but my legs felt great.

Sunday - I took the opportunity to go see my grandmother that I haven't seen in way too long, and to finish up the mounds of laundry that were starting eat at my soul. In other words, I am doing what I need to do to stay sane right now, although I am buried in a sea of "I need to's" and "I should be's."

To sum it all up, I am still buried in this training plan and am having a hard time seeing the light at the end...but I know it's there...and I will perservere to the end. It will, although I wonder sometimes if it's worth it, build character. Character that I need to be complete. Character that generates hope in my soul. Hope that the limitations I have always put on myself are self-imposed piles of crap. Hope that the body is strong and the mind is stronger, and when you train them properly they will get you where you need to go. Hope that there is more to life than snooze buttons and chocolate cake. Hope that there are lessons in nature, lessons in suffering, and lessons in pain that God has still yet to teach me. Hope that my children will see that an ordinary person can be extraordinary with a little bit of dedication. Hope that on November 1st, I will take each and every mile of this training...each drop of sweat...each drop of blood...all of it, and it will carry me 2.4 miles in the ocean of perseverence, 112 miles of character on the bike, 26.2 miles of hope on the run...all the way to the finish line of Ironman Florida. Yeah.

Gone Country

Alan Jackson, Charlie Daniels, Little Big Town, and Darius Rucker make for a rockin' good time at the Grand Ole Opry!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another one bites the dust...

Wednesday I ran 13 miles. It went great; I felt good. Thursday I needed to swim, but I forgot that the rec center was closed for maintenance. So, my shoulder gets a couple more days to heal. That's probably for the best anyways. It almost feels well now, though. This morning was another 100 miles on the bike, followed by a 3 mile run. Here's how it went down:

I planned on starting at 4:00 in the dark, and riding with my lights in town until sunrise, then heading out to the country. I woke up at 3:30 sans alarm, and got on up and piddled around a bit. I didn't want to do this ride, to be honest. I am a little tired of riding 100 miles every weekend, plus, it was so dark outside, and this time I was alone. To make a long story short, I piddled around until 5:15, when the angel on one shoulder finally yelled louder than the devil on the other, and convinced me to just go ride.

Little Devil: You are sick of these 100 mile rides. They hurt your crotch, they take all day; do you really need to do one this weekend? Good greif, how many have you done already?

Little Angel: You know what the plan says...and this is a good time to ride since the boys are spending the night with friends. Just hop on and go!

Little Devil: But it's SO dark outside. You don't wanna do this. Think about just curling back up in the bed.

Little Angel: ~sigh~ Do we have to go through this again? You know what the right thing is, please spare me and just go do it.

Little Devil: You need arm warmers. It's cold outside. You're gonna be cold. And did I mention it was dark?

Little Angel: Look, lets do this the easy way. Just get on your bike and ride in town under the lights. You know the runners are out running long right now, go find them and chat with them for a minute, then ride in town until daylight. If you still want to go home after that, then fine.

That was enough to convince me. And I was fairly convinced that I would ride until daylight and then pack it up and go back home. But daylight came, and whattayaknow??? I decided it might be cool to head to the country. So that's what I did, and I rode until I was back home and my mileage said 101 miles. I did ride very slow, though. It was windy enough to make mention of it, and I just didn't have my heart into pushing the pace today. But the weather was beautiful, and I ran 3 miles, comfortably, following the 100 miles at an 8:49/pace. I was pretty glad to be done with it, and happy that I pressed on.

Tomorrow is a 12 mile run and possibly a swim if I can get it in before Briar's football game.

Lesson relearned: Things seem different at 5 a.m. before you take off than at 6:30 after you've been going a while. Don't listen to the little devil...just get out there and train.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Endurance Poop 101

If you've ever trained for a marathon, triathlon, or anything of the sort, you are more than likely familiar with a lot of the different types of poop that plague endurance athletes. Let's just get it out in the open. It happens. Inevitably, unless you're some kind of freak-of-nature with a perfectly functioning GI system and a flawless diet, you're gonna have to deal with poop in endurance sports. I always believe that education is the best way to deal with taboo subjects, so...sit back, take notes if you wish, and become an Endurance Poop Scholar - courtesy of The Fire Inside. Note: You're never gonna think of me the same again.

Nervous Poop – Occurs in the port-a-potty on race morning. It’s easily identifiable because everybody’s looks and smells the same. I won’t go into details – if you’ve ever raced, you know what I’m talking about.

TNT Poop – It’s one or two big explosions and then it’s over. Usually occurs while running long distance and is preceded by a sick feeling that you may not make it. Falls under the category of “runners’ trots.”

Teaser Poop – This one is hard to differentiate from the TNT Poop until you actually get to the toilet. It has all the same signs when you are still 3 miles from a restroom or port-a-potty, but once you finally reach the long awaited destination, the need to poop just disappears. Beware of this one about 2 hours after you finish your run, though. See TNT Poop, but multiply it by 2.

Bait and Switch Poop – Appears to be gas, until you finally decide to let it go…and then all the sudden you realize it was not just gas. This is a tricky little bastard, though, because if it occurs in the latter stages of a really long run or race, you may not realize what just happened. So when you start thinking that everyone who passes you smells badly - get a clue - it was the bait and switch poop. Get to the nearest port-a-potty immediately and spare us all.

It’s Been a Long Time Coming Poop – If you take too much Immodium before your race, you may not have to visit the port-a-potty, but it’s likely that you’ll suffer from this poop about 4 or 5 days later. At least you hope it’s just 4 or 5 days later, or else people will start asking when the baby is due. You can identify this poop because you’ll hear angels singing The Hallelujah Chorus as it finally surfaces.

Good Old Fashioned Dump Poop – This poop occurs when you eat too much dinner the night before a long workout. It’s not explosive, like the TNT poop, it is just a good old fashioned dump that needs to happen. It makes for a very uncomfortable run, and beware – if you hold this one in too long and too often, it can cause internal hemorrhoids that result in the very disturbing Bloody Poop.

Bloody Poop – No need to describe this one. It is normally caused from torturing yourself by holding in the Good Old Fashioned Dump Poop for too long, but never assume that is the cause. It could also be a sign of very dangerous health conditions, so I’d advise you to see a doctor if you experience this one. Seriously.

Submitted by Benson:

Running Interval Poop - Could also be known as the runs, squirts, trots, raspberries etc. This poop(s) runs the intervals, not you. This poop occurs at regular (or irregular) intervals throughout the day. You have to plan your race/workday around never being more than a fartlek away from a toilet.

Submitted by Jill:

False Alarm Poop - The FA poop is where you go once after breakfast, head out the door for the Garmin to pick up a signal and RUN inside before it's too late...and then low and behold...holding your breath in the first mile because you gotta go again. And this just sets the tone for the rest of day. You spend most of the day within sprint distance of the toilet...for fear you'll go in your pants.

Submitted by Bigun:

Holy Poop - where you thank God and all the Angels that you actually made it to the bowl without messing yourself.

Now...I know that's not all of them. Comment with your own, and I'll add them to this list.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blurred Vision

In my wise, old age of 31 years, I have learned a thing or two about setting and meeting goals. One of them that stands out right now is that "The goal I am aiming for my not always be clearly visible, but keep moving forward, it is still there." It always starts out crystal clear, ya know. Kind of like how you knew exactly what you were going to study when you filled out that college application. But then somewhere in the midst of classes, tests, parties, the opposite sex, parties, and, well you get the picture...the view of the goal seems to get distorted a little. It doesn't look as clear as it once did, and the path leading to it looks a little tougher than you had originally planned.

Translate this as:

It was crystal clear when I pulled that slip at IMFL '07. Yeah, buddy. I mean, how hard could it be? Train for Gulf Coast Half, scale back for a few weeks, pick up the 20 week Ironman plan and buckle down during those 10-12 tough weeks in Aug, Sept, and Oct. Before I know it, I'll be an Ironman.

Crystal Clear. Right?

Well, it was. But right now it's a little blurry.

Blurry as in " am I going to run 26.2 miles after biking 112 miles...when I find it difficult to run 1 mile after biking 94 miles?"

Blurry as in I can't see straight after dealing with a nasty little stomach bug Sunday night, and I missed my bike on Monday.

Blurry as in my schedule says I need to do another 5,000yd swim/100mile bike this Friday...but, ummmm....Friday is Fair Day (or FAR Day, Shelby)...and in these parts they let the schools out for the County Fair (heaven help us all). That kinda sorta went over looked when putting together my perfect training plan. Some switching around is definitely in order.

Blurry as in my shoulder is still hurting. It wasn't the 5,000yd swim that did it, but rather the 5,000 (yes, an exaggeration) pop flies I threw to Bo on Sunday in his quest to catch fly balls like Coco Crisp. I've got to get back in the pool, but I'm giving it until Thursday.

Blurry as in I've let the weight training slip by the way side....No!!! I didn't want to let this happen. I've got to get back at it. I look better and feel stronger....but pray-tell me where can I find the time.

Blurry as in the diet is slipping along side of the weight training...No!!! Can't let this one happen either!

Ok, so it's long and hard right now. There's a few bumps and bruises. There's also this thing called life. But I know, because I know myself better than anyone else, that the goal is still there. I might not be able to see it as clearly as I once did, but I trust that it is there.

It is there just like the college degree was.

It is there just like the post-baby weight-loss was.

It is there just like the marathon was.

It is there just like the sub-4 marathon was.

Ironman is there. And we gonna keep on movin' forward 'til we can see it clearly again...
24 mile bike w/Holly today to clear the cobwebs

Monday, September 15, 2008

Payin' the Piper

I rested with no guilty feelings on Thursday, as I knew I had a tough weekend ahead of me. I took my rest day on Thursday, and I tried to prepare mentally for the 5000yd swim/100 mile ride planned for Friday and the 1hr ride/1:45 run planned for Saturday.

According to Wikipedia, "Self-discipline refers to the training that one gives one's self to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behavior, even though one would really rather be doing something else. For example, denying oneself of an extravagant pleasure in order to accomplish a more demanding charitable deed. Thus, self-discipline is the assertion of willpower over more base desires, and is usually understood to be a synonym of 'self control'. Self-discipline is to some extent a substitute for motivation, when one uses reason to determine a best course of action that opposes one's desires."

Although there aren't many times when you would find me saying "I'd rather be cleaning my house," Friday was one of those rare exceptions. I needed to be cleaning, folding laundry, and painting while my kiddos were at school. However, none of those things will make me stronger in the Gulf of Mexico, or on a windy bike course, or for 26.2 miles on foot come November 1st. This is one of those times when I just have to rely on my head vs. my heart. Self-discipline. The heart is not always strong enough, but the head almost always knows what's best. So when the alarm went off at 5 a.m., I suited up in my swim suit, grabbed my back pack, and headed to the pool with my bike in my car. I followed the swim workout that BT had prescribed, and I knocked out the 5,000yds in a little less than 2 hours. I was a little nervous about my ability to stay focused for a 5,000yd workout, but I concentrated only on the set at hand, and slowly, but surely, chipped away the whole thing.

After finishing the swim, I air-dried (because I forgot my towel-ha!) and then put on my cycling clothes. I halfway panicked that I didn't have enough food, so I drove to the gas station and bought some Fig Newtons and Nutter Butters. I met Michele when I got back, and we took off for 100 miles around 8:30 a.m. You know, century rides are cool when you do one or two a year, but when you're doing one every time you turn around, you just have to trust in your own self-discipline. Although, I can't help but think that something is a wee bit strange about starting your workout at 5:30 a.m., and then having to rush to get finished in time to pick your kids up from school during a normal school day. I'll admit to being a little off-my-rocker at times...but even I find that a little strange. Be it strange or just down-right crazy, though; I have a goal, and I intend to do what it takes to reach it. That being said, we grinded out the miles through Normandy, Wartrace, Bell Buckle, Beech Grove, Summitville, Matt's Hollow, and Fredonia...and we arrived back at the rec center at 94.27, and called it quits. I was completely out of fluid for the last 10 miles, and I was beginnging to feel it. I got off my bike and the thoughts immediatly started swarming, "How...tell me plan on running a marathon after this?" I really didn't have an answer, or an idea, so I just loaded up my bike and went into the rec center and bought a Power Aide. I drank the Power Aide, and I decided to change into my running shoes. I didn't have time for a 3 mile run, but I could get away with 1 mile.
  • 1 mile to remind my legs that they have to run even when they are toast.
  • 1 mile to prove to myself that my legs can run even when they are toast.
  • 1 mile because this time, even though my legs were toast, I did not feel like I did the last time. Toasted legs don't feel good, but they feel better than death, and that is progress. Little bits of progress, over time, is how I've gotten to where I am, and how I intend to become an Ironman.
So I took off down the greenway, with shaky legs, and ran 1 mile. Money in the bank for Ironman. Then I rushed home, showered, picked up the kids, took them to M'boro for Briar's checkup, then rushed back to Tullahoma for the High School Football game they wanted to see.

Saturday morning, I woke up and got started at 6:30 a.m. on my bi-Ouch-bike. It seems as if all that Chamois Butt'r and Body Glide I've been using really was helping, because I had forgotten to apply it on Friday, and I paid the price on Saturday. It was painful, the whole 18 mile ride was, and that's all I've got to say about that. I got off the bike, changed into running shoes, and ran 11.25 miles. It was hot and humid, my water bottle got overtaken by slugs when I left it in the ditch, and my pace was rather slow (9:44), but I was pretty happy with getting it all done. During the last mile of my run, I imagined running the last mile of IMFL, and I had a hard time holding back the emotion. Nothing good in this world comes easy...this training may be long and hard right now, but it's changing me in ways that I need to change. It's holding my feet to the fire. There's no faking it, there's no wishing it, there's only bearing down and getting it done. Pay the Piper, or do without.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Yep, now we're rollin'. I got 6 miles of hill repeats done at lunch on Monday. Had a bit of a feeling like I was short of breath near the end, though, almost like asthma or something. I couldn't get a deep breath. This reminded me that this happens to me during the last 20 miles of a 100 mile ride, too. My lungs hurt, and I can't seem to get a deep breath. I don't know if this is all a part of the training and adaptation process, or if I need to go see doctor. I do feel like if I could just get a couple puffs of some albuterol that it would make me feel better. But I don't know. I probably should just go for good measure...I like to put my health insurance to good use, anyways. It makes me feel better about that outrageous premium I pay.

Tuesday was a bike day. The plan just called for an hour ride, so Don, Tim, Lee and I met up at 5:15 a.m. at the rec center. It's awfully dark that early these days, but thankfully I had my NiteRider MiNewt Dual shining brightly, and Terri told me that she thought I was a motorcycle! So the thing works well, obviously. The four of us take off out of the parking lot and down Hwy 41. We decided it would be in our best interest to stay in town most of the way since it was so dark. We rode up Jail Hill and came to the first red light. Keep in mind that it's like 5:20 a.m. in Manchester - so there's no traffic really, other than a cop here and there. Don and Tim slow down and roll through the red light since no cars were in sight. I hesitated a little, because I saw the county cop sitting there, but I rolled on through, too, and Lee came on right behind me. We got on up the road a ways, though, and I noticed blue lights. We all got way over on the shoulder to let this cop pass us and go get whoever he might be after...but he never would pass us!! Then he turned on the siren and blew the horn at us!!! Finally, after a few of us saying "Is he pulling us over?", we pulled over. We sat there, and he sat in his car for a minutes, just like the real thing. Then he got out, walked over to us, and said, "Now you guys have to follow the rules of the road. You ran that red light back there, and you can't do that." We were all like, "Uh, okay, we're sorry." And I asked, "Well, do we not fall under the motorcycle law in TN, where you can stop and go at a red light?" He paused, looked kinda funny, and then said, "I don't believe that has been addressed yet. So you all follow the rules like everyone else." We nodded our heads, said, "Alrightly, then," and he let us go. I'm still cracking up about it. I mean, the guy was nice and all, so I am thankful that we didn't have to deal with an Officer McBreakfast Taco like Greyhound...and technically I guess we were at fault in running the light...but geez. It was 5:20 a.m. in Manchester - it wasn't like we darted out in front of anyone or tried to beat a yellow light at the main intersection. Anyways...I'm just sayin'.

I need to lift weights that evening while Bo was at swim team, but unfortunately there was a swim team parents meeting that took most of that time. I did sneak out in time to get my leg work in, but no core or upper body. And by the time dinner was cooked, then cleaned up, homework was done and the kids were in bed, I was in no mood to do anything but crash in the bed. I hate that I missed the weights, but I had a good night's sleep.

I knew that it was worth it when I woke up at 2 a.m. thinking it must be time to get up and run, and I was happy to see that I still had 2 more hours to sleep!! It's a good thing I got it, too, because I ran 8 miles with Tim, Lee, Holly J., John, and Jonathon - and they ran my legs off. 8 miles in 1:05 and change. I was seriously cussin' them during the last few miles, but then thanking them when it was done. That's the best run I've had in a long time. Afterwards, Tim and I hit the pool for a 2350yd swim. I did a 300 yd warmup, then 10x200yds on 4 min, then a 50yd cooldown. My first 5 200s were right at 3:30, my last 5 were between 3:30 and 3:40. I am very pleased with that.

So....the momentum is rollin'...and hopefully will carry me on into an iron weekend. Tomorrow is rest...and I'll be needing it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lost Momentum

My best-laid plans went awry this weekend.

There was one thing I did not factor into my grand scheme of training and wrapping up my third "hard week" and my first "200 mile bike week." That thing would be an ear infection. Not of my own, but of Briar. It was an infection in the middle ear, and swimmers ear in the canal, and it got so bad Thursday and Friday that he couldn't sit still, much less sleep. The meds we got Thursday just weren't strong enough, and it resulted in a trip back to the doctor on Saturday morning.

I only got to ride 20 miles on Friday. I got zero training on Saturday. By Sunday, I was able to go get in a great lake swim early in the morning, but plans to go to the Titans game meant that was all that I would be doing. So I missed out on 140 miles of biking and 6 miles of running, but the ear infection is now better. Priorities.

It's not that big of a deal, really. I have most definitely lost momentum - I was going long and strong, but if you can't deal with a setback here and there, you don't need to be training for an ironman. My plan is to go on with this week in the way I was going to, except that instead of the easier weekend plans that I had, I'll substitute a 100 mile ride/3 mile run in one way or another.

Next week will be a hard one, too, then the next will be a recovery week.

The main problem with this is that momentum thing...I've lost training, sleep, and motivation. So much so that I couldn't pull myself out of bed this morning for my hill repeats. It'll be done at lunch. That should jump start the momentum, and we'll get back in route.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Gearing up for another big weekend

The past three weeks of training have been very important to me. I put them together using's Ironman-distance plan, Bigun's expert advice, and my own gut feelings about what I can do and what I should do to prepare myself physically, mentally, and emotionally for Ironman Florida. The mid-week load was more than I am used to, but it wasn't anything that I couldn't do with a little discipline and determination. The weekend stuff is the meat of the plan. I am coming upon the 3rd weekend of out these 3 hard back-to-back-to-back weeks, and if I pull it all off, I'll get my first ever 200 mile bike week.

Let's take inventory:

Physical: I can tell that I am tired, but I am not falling asleep every time sit still, either. I have plenty of energy. I can tell that my body is changing and that my muscles are working hard. I can see the difference, and I can feel the difference. I am craving protein instead of carbs, believe it or not, and chocolate milk and peach-banana protein smoothies have been my friend. I have somehow fought off a hip-flexor strain that was coming on strong a couple of weeks ago, and I am pretty sure that I am 100% injury-free right now. I am taking my kids' Flintstones vitatmins religiously, in addition to Vitamin-B-Complex, Fish Oil, and Glucosemine. I have been kind to myself in the early mornings this week, and slept in a few days - getting in my workouts bikes and runs at lunch and my swims in the evenings. Since Bo has swimteam and Briar has football on Tuesdays and Thursdays, this has not caused me to sacrifice any time with them, which is important to me.

I did miss an hour long recovery run this week on Labor Day, but oh well. We were camping and it was worth it. I've had two hour long rides with Holly at lunch this week, and 2 swims. I ran 7.23 miles worth of "Jail Hill" repeats yesterday. Tomorrow (Friday), I'll ride 60 miles and then do a 30 minute run. Saturday, I'll ride the Elk River 100 miles also followed by a 30 minute run. And then I'll have a cold Michelobe Ultra...provided they save one for me. The next week will be a recovery week.

Mental: Mentally, I am way better than I thought I would be. I am enjoying this. I'm loving it, actually. I'm not dreading these 100 miles, I'm looking forward to them. I enjoy the "journey" type of feeling I get from it. Like, it's not just an all out, ride as hard as you can for 20 miles kinda thing. It's like, pack up all the food you can find, fill up all your bottles, and bring along some extra money because you're gonna need more. Set out for a different county, or three, and enjoy the beauty that you are riding through. Push the pace here and there, hammer up a hill here and there, and imagine what it's going to feel like on Nov.1st. The good thing is that so far, these 100 milers have not really interfered with my family affairs, other than getting to wake up my boys on Saturday morning and fix them breakfast. Yeah, they're kinda giving me a hard time about it, but I promise to make it up to them. I think it's okay to give Mommy her way for a few weeks for something like this. Some may disagree...but then that's why opinions are like assholes, right?

Emotional: Right on target. I am calm, cool and collected about this thing. I am not letting the fact that I was totally spent after last Friday's 100 mile ride and couldn't have run a step bother me. I did get up the next morning run 18 miles, and felt surprisingly well. So I figure it's all got a purpose in what I am doing right now...I don't need to be able to take off and run a marathon right now after a 100 mile ride because the race is still 57 days out (according to Ryan, my counter-downer). Come Nov.1st, I'll run that marathon...after my 112 mile bike. I will. Emotionally, I am fine. It's funny to me how I can really buckle down and reign myself in when I need to. Despite all that's going on around me, and things that ordinarily might send my head a spinnin', I know that's not an option right now...and I'm keeping my feet firmly on the ground. And on the pedals. The swim...well, I'm enjoying my swims lately, and that's serious progress for me. I feel good in the water, and I feel confident that I can swim 1.2 miles, run back down the beach to the start, and then swim another 1.2 miles. All the fighting and kicking in between doesn't concern me...I'm a better fighter than swimmer anyways.

So, there you have step at a mile at a time...we're on the road to Ironman.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

I'm going to start with last Wednesday. I swapped it for Thursday and made it a rest day due to scheduling conflicts (husband outta town, work, pick up kids, hair appointment). Thursday I ran 6 miles at lunch, but totally missed my 4000yd swim due to more scheduling conflicts. So that night, the boys and I spent the night with my parents, and I was able to get up and out at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning for a 4500yd swim and then a 100 mile bike. The swim went great. The bike was interesting.

Here's the bike story:

I loaded up 2 24oz bottles of Gatorade Endurance and 1 bottle of water, 6 fig newtons, and two packs of Cliff Shot Blocks. I took off from my house and road down Fredonia Rd., over to Maple Springs, and then through Pocahontas and Jacksboro to reach McMinnville. I had not ridden this route on my bike before, but it was beautiful and I loved it. Nice smooth road, no dogs, courteous motorists. It also allowed me to arrive at my mother's & father's in-law house to fill up two of my empty bottles. I felt great at that point, just short of 2 hours, and I was averaging around 18.3 mph. I took Hwy 55 back towards Manchester, but then took a left on Ramsey Rd, which eventually led me over to Rock Rd., and then to Hillsboro-Viola Rd. This also was a great route. So my nutrition plan was to eat 2 fig newtons and drink 1 bottle of Gatorade per hour. According to my calculations that would get me around 240 calories/hour. This worked fine, for the first couple of hours. I refilled my bottles with water at my mother-in-law's, and supplemented Cliff Shot Blocks for the calories I would be missing in Gatorade. This worked for about another hour, and then I got hungry. I found out that there is a difference in setting for a 100 mile bike ride with a pre-ride breakfast in my tummy, and in swimming 2.5 miles, eating a fig newton, and then taking off for a 100 mile ride. I needed more solid food, but felt too squeamish to eat any at this point. I could tell that I was starting to fade as I approached Hillsboro, around mile 65, and I was out of fluids. So I stopped at the store and bought a bottle of Gatorade and a bottle of water, and for a little while, I felt refreshed. From there, took the AEDC access road out to the recreation center at the Air Force Base, circled around UTSI Rd, and then headed back for the final 20 mile stretch. I tried to eat Cliff Shot Blocks, but they just didn't go down easily like they did for the Half Iron, or for 60 and 70 mile rides. I kept my composure, though, and kept pedaling strong until I got back into town, with about 7 miles to go. At that point, I was really weak and sick to my stomach, and I just wanted to get home. I got back to my house at 99 miles, and I almost turned in, but at the last second I decided it wasn't worth it. I rode another half mile and back to get 100 miles in 5hrs 33 min. That is an 18mph average, but the bad part is that until mile 92, I was averaging 18.3. The last 8 miles I was barely moving, even though I was doing all that I could do. It was the classic "out of fuel" type of feeling. Or bonk, I guess I should say. So...I finished the ride and learned some good lessons. I also realized that there are a few things that it's time for me to purchase and quit just talking about purchasing them.

They are:

CarboPro - I need more calories for long rides than I'm getting in the Gatorade Endurance. Momo advised me of this a while back, and I probably should have taken her advice instead of finding out for myself.
Gel pads for my aerobars - those little cheap pads that came on my Profile carbon aerobars are a joke. I need some better padding there.
Aerobottle - mine fell apart at the Gulf Coast Half Iron. It's time to replace it.
Decent Flat Pack - I'm having a tough time finding a flat pack that will work with my aqua rack on the back of my bike. The one I have is just jerry-rigged between the seat and the rack, and it protrudes way out to the left. That sets off the internal lost-aerodynamics alarm in me, and has to be fixed.

...and...I need to actually use my sunscreen instead of just carrying it around. 5.5 hrs with my back to the sun = sunburn, regardless of how easily I tan.

So, a few lessons learned, and another 100 miler down. Which leads to the 18 mile run I had set for Saturday morning. This 18 mile run, combined with the 100 mile ride of the day before, knocked me out of doing the local Star Triathlon that I won last year. But congrats to Michele who took the 1st place honors this year, and kept the crown in Manchester! Congrats to all my other peeps, too, who represented Manchester well at this event - Tim (1st AG), Eric (3rd AG), Amy (1st AG), Will (1st AG-on a MTB Bike of all things!), Justin (4th AG), and Tony (4th AG)!

I set out for my 18 miler at 5:30 a.m. My legs felt a little bit dead at first, but came around after a few miles. I really didn't push the pace in this run. I loaded up my iPod and listened to some TacBoy and Bigun podcasts - old and new - and then switched over to some tunes when I got too tired to be laughing at TacBoy and Bigun and my incredibly, over-the-edge, backwoods, southern accent while trying to decipher "tri-terms" from Tac-n-Bigun. Good grief, I need to go spend a few weeks in California or New York or something. I didn't realize it was that bad. Anyways, I ran the 18 miles in 2:55 with my fuel belt, which ran out after 16 miles. I had to swing by Old Stone Fort and grab a drink from the water fountain, and that gave me enough to get me home. I showered quickly and Bo and I drove up to watch the end of the triathlon and congratulated all our friends.

We camped out for the rest of the weekend, and I ate too much, laid around too much, and it enjoyed it all way too much. Back to the grind today...

Totals for week-
Swim: 8300yds
Bike: 126 miles
Run: 29.5 miles

One more hard week to go, and then I get a recovery week!