Monday, March 14, 2011

Back in the IMTX Training Wagon

Ok, so after 2 weeks of un-intentional (but sadly not predicted or preventable) not doing much, I am full ON with IMTX training. Last week was a “big week”, to quote my coach. Funny, I didn’t think the week day stuff was too terrible (although with my sinus infection and 2 weeks with little to no sleep, I was NOT complaining). The weekend was big stuff though.

What’s fun about the big weekends is that my thought process is usually like this:

  • Sunday night: open Training Peaks to get my schedule for the week. Think to myself “OMG, Carole is trying to kill me.”
  • Monday: print out my schedule to post at my desk. Stare at it in somewhat of a fearful state. 
  • Tuesday-Thursday: obsession about the upcoming weekend and gradual acceptance  
  • Friday: planning for the weekend. Plotting rides, routes, etc. 
  • Saturday: Finish the workout feeling good but a bit sore and tired. Do an ice bath and hope I for a repeat performance the next day 
  • Sunday: getting to business and being excited that I not only finished, but I finished strong. Ice bath and roll my legs out with my Stick to prevent soreness.
This past weekend, I had a 5 hour brick and a 6 hr ride. One of my friends offered to ride with me in Boulder Saturday, as she had yet to properly test out her new road bike, so that took care of planning out Saturday. Sunday I just decided to map out a course in Erie similar to what I’ve done twice previously.


Schedule had a 4 hr ride / 70 min run brick. Met up at Marshall Mesa in Boulder and did what my friend called the “backroad cycling tour of Boulder”. What I noticed when riding with my friend was that on the decents and flats, I am actually pretty fast. It’s the climbs where I suck. I really hate being in my last gear and seeing 5 mph on my Garmin. Its just sad. Anyways, we did 40 miles in ~2:40. That’s all my friend had planned, so I was left to my own devices for the remainder of the 4 hours. I basically just did some out and backs along Eldorado Springs Road, then Cherryvale to Baseline and back. Nothing too hard – the goal was a zone 2 ride with time in the saddle.

We met at Marshall Mesa because my friend thought that would be good running for my brick. Ummmmmmm. I’m still getting used to this whole “running in Colorado” thing. Hills, trails, rocks. I’m not in Texas anymore! So, for the first 10 min of my run, I had to stay in HR z3. Not a problem, as the trail was mostly uphill with VERY uneven terrain. It was actually a bit scary – I really thought I was going to twist my ankle. Then (fortunately) after my 10 min mad dash up the hill, I came to this really steep section that I just couldn’t run up, so I walked. Then more slow jogging up up up until the trail leveled out to something a bit more practical. Still, it was a funky trail, since the place is used mostly for mountain biking and the trail is single-track. There were several times I’d have to stop to get off the trail to avoid mountain bikers, and a few times where I had to open/close cattle gates. It was hard, but definitely very pretty.

View of Flatirons from Baseline Road in Boulder

Marshall Mesa Trail Running

more trail running
part of the running "trail"
me, after 5:10 hrs of exercise
Stats: 61 miles in 3:57; 5.75 miles in 70 min

Nutrition: all EFS drink mix in grape, with 2 hammer gels. I had probably ~3/4 of a bottle left, which meant that I’m still not drinking enough. The EFS was fine on the bike, but on the run it just made my throat burn, like it was too strong, but I’m pretty sure I mixed it to the right strength. Also, I had a hell of a time putting my rings back on from water retention, which tells me the EFS has too many electrolytes for me.

And then I hit up Sports Authority for some more KT tape and a new shin split wrap (I have one, I just haven’t seen it since we moved). Turns out I let my running shoes die without knowing it, and my shin splits in my left leg are back. I think a few days with KT tape/wrap and some NSAIDs and I should be ok. I also got a moderately “puffy” jacket on clearance for more than 50% off. Score.

Boulder backroad tour
elevation profile

Goal today was a 5:40-6:00 hour ride with some z3 intervals thrown in there. This ride was all by myself and I wanted to do this in one loop with a stop halfway for water, to simulate the IMTX bike. For whatever reason, I feel comfortable out northwest of Denver (Erie), so that’s where I mapped my route. I’ve ridden there 2x before and the area is fairly straight forward – the country roads go pretty much in a n-s-e-w grid, pretty decent asphalt surface, and low traffic. There are some hills, but its not as hilly as other Denver rides, and there’s plenty of wind. When I’ve ridden out here before, I usually start from the park and ride in Northglenn, but that means you start and finish in Northglenn, which has traffic. So to avoid that, I started in Erie. I intended to leave my truck at this gas station, but as I was setting up, the gas station attendant actually walked out and told me that I wasn’t allowed to park there. Even though the lot was huge. I guess I won’t be filling up there anytime soon. So I moved a mile down the road and parked by a park, and was on my way.
The interesting thing with creating my route from a map on the computer is that you’re never quite sure if all the roads are paved. Sure enough, 5 miles into my 95 mile journey, I ran out of pavement. Ugh. So I backtracked and changed my route up slightly, hoping I’d still capture my mileage. An hour goes by and my bladder is threatening to explode, even though I made a stop before starting out. Fortunately, I was near a truck stop off of I-25, so I pulled over to a McDonalds. Its always fun going into places in your cycling gear. I managed to finally get east of I-25 and pick up my route where I left off. My speed was actually faster than anticipated. Last Sunday, doing nearly the same route, I averaged 15 mph. For this ride, I was holding 16+ mph, even with decent cross and head winds. I stopped WAY too many times for map checks – not sure what to do about that but I really didn’t want to get lost. Stopped halfway in Milliken (as planned) to get water. I had concentrated my Infinit 3x then added water for another 3 hrs of nutrition. Riding-time-wise I was ahead of pace (54 miles in 3:13 – 16.78 mph) but actual time, I was really slow. I started at 10:16 AM and it was 2:00 when I hit Milliken (3 hrs, 45 min). But, that included 2 bathroom breaks, re-filling my water, and several map checks. Still – 30 min of being stopped…. Gotta work on that. Heading back to my truck was fairly uneventful, as I’d ridden a good portion of those rodes before and knew my way. I made it back to my truck at 5:45 hrs and 95 miles logged. I thought about going for an even 100 miles, but my right hamstring was getting tweaky and my right quad was acting like the muscle was getting pulled. As cool as it would have been to log 100 miles, it would have sucked much worse to get injured in that last 5 miles.
Stats: 5:45 hrs, 95 miles

Nutrition: 1 bottle in the first hour of EFS, then switched to my Infinit protein mix. At the 3 hr mark, I had probably ~1/2 to 3/4 of a bottle left untouched (as in I’m still not drinking enough), but when the ride was done, the same amount remained, meaning I drank the right amount during the back half of the ride. I think Carole may have been onto something about my Infinit mix, though. A few weeks back I had side-stitches and she thought it was from the protein. I protested, saying I did two HIMs with this mix and didn’t think it caused me any issues. She had me talk to one of her nutrition gurus, and he suggested that diabetics/hypoglycemic don’t actually need protein during endurance sports. He sent me some EFS to try out, to see if I noticed a difference. The EFS was ok (except for the burning during my run on Saturday). When I switched to my Infinit, my stomach felt heavier and very slightly crampy within minutes of taking a slug. So, there may be something to that….. I dunno. What I do know is that I need to figure this out pretty quickly – time is running out.
I also had 4 hammer gels and a few bites of a protein bar (for the stomach grumblies). I had good energy for the whole ride.

Effort: This ride had me do 1 x 30 min at Z3 and 1 x 40 min at Z3. This was early on in the ride and the rest of the ride was “as you feel”. I added on an extra 1 x 30 min Z3. The great part was that I felt STRONG for the whole ride - stronger than I remember feeling ever before. I also really focused on keeping my chain on my big ring as much as possible – I think I dropped down to my small ring only 4 times, which is awesome. At about 4:30 my saddle region got sore but otherwise, everything else was fine.

 I finished the ride with a huge boost of confidence, knowing that I’d just ridden a hilly, windy 95 miles solo.

 The ride was followed up by a trip to Starbucks (whole milk latte and a choc chip cookie). Then home for an ice bath. Impressively enough, I’m barely even sore today. Pretty cool weekend – makes me feel like I’m getting ready for IMTX.

95 miles of fun!

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