Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Tortoise and ...the Bear


Last weekend was all about pushing the distances and getting comfortable with the fact that yes, I can complete the distance.

I was supposed to do my long run on Friday to give my legs one day off to rest before the long bike, but unfortunately work doesn't always cooperate with my training plan and I had two legal briefs that needed to be finalized and filed on Friday. That meant no morning run unless I wanted to get up and start around 4:30 am, and, I didn't. So I mistakenly thought I'd try the run post work. Nope, that didn't work either. By the time my day ended, I was beat, not mentally ready to tackle my longest distance other than a previous marathon itself and dreading the heat. So, Bart (who had just returned from the West Coast) and I decided dinner at Kona Grill was more appropriate. Their GF salmon, roasted vegetable salad and amazing cocktail were well worth it. Plus it gave Bart and I some time to dream about relocating to Hawaii or the West Coast.

Saturday morning's run was long and tough. We ran at West Creek out of convenience and started early. I did two 10 mile loops and then a little extra to finish. Mentally, I'm not great at loops because when I come back to the car, I want to be done, not just headed out again. The first loop felt hot, but my legs felt pretty good. Thankfully the sun wasn't blazing so temperatures weren't as hot as they could have potentially been. I made the loop with my four fuel belt bottles and a 1/2 gu every 2 miles. By the second loop, I was getting thirstier and I could definitely feel the miles on my right foot. I decided that I had enough liquids to go the Cap One loop and headed off. After crossing through the gates, I realized it might not have been a smart move. I don't always estimate my liquids well and I started to feel whoozy and get chill bumps right at mile 16. I stopped a cyclist and asked for salt tabs, but she didn't have any. At this point, I didn't want to turn back but wanted to just finish the loop. So I drank everything I had on me and prayed that the bathrooms by the tennis courts would be open. After some walk/run time to get there, they were. I downed a bunch more water, refilled my bottles and dumped a bunch over my head. It seemed to work, and I was able to run back up to the car for mile 20. At that point, I was feeling the joy of being almost done. I reloaded, picked some good tunes, and headed out to power out the last mile. Post run, per coach's orders, I headed straight to the ice bath to ice down my foot and hip. After getting out of the tub, the hare (Bart) pointed out my mascot (the tortoise) in the front yard. I laughed! He must have stopped by to pay homage to my long run of the day. While I'm getting faster, my long runs are still pretty slow. Considering the dehydration incident though, I was pretty pleased to come in averaging 10:30 pace for the run. If I can hang somewhere even close to that on race day, I'll be thrilled.


Sunday, I started my day much like the Bear. Grizzley and grumpy. I was tired and had no desire to ride the 115 miles on my plan. But, they were there and I had made plans with DB and the Schnupp group so I headed to WC to start my pre-ride miles. I'm glad I started early. My legs were not happy to be having to work again and my first few laps of WC were horrible. At this point I doubted that I would be able to ride 50 let alone 115. Amazingly, they started to warm up and soon it was time to meet DB and Ann and the Schnupp group. 20 miles in and 95 to go. The Schnupp group ride was advertised as a leisurely 28 mile Sunday social ride. My goal was to draft as much as possible and enjoy myself and my company for this loop. We headed out Patterson (up my favorite hill) and onto Manakin. I stayed in the back or in the middle of the pack and just relaxed. It was great to ride with the crew and definitely the highlight of the day. Someone's legs must have been feeling good though, because our leisurely ride turned not so leisurely as we turned onto Hermitage to head back into WC. As Richard put it, who decided to add a time trial down Hermitage today? At this point my legs felt okay though so I grabbed a wheel and hung on as we rode at a good clip back through WC and out to Patterson. Schnupp who is not afraid of traffic, then routed us down Patterson and up the rollers of Lauderdale. I was worried about the traffic, but actually the rollers were fun and soon we were back at Schnupp's house. DB, Ann and I chatted for a few and then headed back to WC to finish our miles. Ann had 40 on her schedule so DB and I looped WC a few times to keep her company while she finished up. We reloaded at the cars and DB and I headed out for Ride part 3 - the EF loop. Other than the newly chipped road in one section and the massive truck that passed us on Three Chopt, this part of the ride was fun and much easier than it used to be when DB and I first rode it 2 winters ago. The best part was on the Manakin stretch north of Broad where the wind was behind us and mid to upper 20s seemed like a piece of cake. I was praying that the rest of my miles could only go that well. When we got back to the car, I was at 85 miles - only 30 to go. DB agreed to go one 10 mile loop with me before calling it quits. This was where I started to really struggle again for the day. Bart caught up with us mid loop and was surprised with my slow pace. As I took inventory, I wasn't feeling so great. I did a great job on nutrition though so I knew it wasn't calories. But yep, nausea = lack of water. So I started drinking up again. As we headed up the Capital One hill, we saw a cyclist pointing towards the woods and saying something. Unfortunately DB had already started the descent, but Bart said, "Look at the bear!" A Bear? Yep, on our right hand side, in the meadow area and headed back to the woods was a pretty good sized black bear. WOW! Pretty crazy for West Creek. I struggled through the end of the Cap One loop and Bart rode with me 6 more miles while I desperately tried to drink more and more water. Must have been the key though because despite my angst at having to sit on the darn bike seat for another 15 miles, and the burning sensation in my left foot, my pace increased again over the last few miles and the nausea disappeared.

Finally back at the car and done with my 115 miles, I was ready to pack it in for the day and skip my transition run all together. But, for some reason I decided to check out how long it was and my instructions. Training peaks read as follows:

You are not going to want to do this but it is so important. Only a few more weeks of this Bethany - stay strong!

I laughed. Coach knows me well. I laced up my shoes, put on my ipod, and headed out for my 30 minute run. My legs surprised me. They didn't feel too bad, and by now, there was a good bit of shade on the road to cool the temperatures off. I finished the long day with a strong T run and then promptly sat in my car at WC and cried. I think I was just totally drained -- emotionally and physically. And, training for this event has been harder and more challenging than I ever expected. At the same time, I think I also cried because I was proud of my accomplishment of the weekend and was just emotionally overwhelmed. After collecting myself (and crying a few tears on the phone with my dad), I headed home for my second ice bath of the weekend. Still feeling a bit like the grizzly and ready to scavenge whatever non-sweet, healthy food I could find in the house.


SusieQ said...

Just a few more weeks 'til the taper..hang in there - you're doing great.