Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I survived peak weekend

It wasn't exactly fun or pretty, but I got it done and that's what counts.  I always need to remind myself that the training needs to be very hard so race day, by comparison, is "easy".  Soul crushing is kinda required for training.  And yet, I keep signing up for these things...  Last week was my biggest volume ever, at 21:15.  Fri-Sat-Sun was huge, with nearly 16 hours of exercising.  (and yes, I know that's ridiculous)

so here's a rundown on the weekend:


4,000 m pool swim.  I was nice to myself and "slept in" to 5:30 AM and was in the pool by 6:10.

3.5 hr bike ride.  Coach said hilly, I asked if my neighborhood was good enough and she said Deer Creek. Against my better judgement, I loaded up my crap and drove to DC to ride.  I did a warmup loop around Chatfield and felt pretty good.  I started up DC and immediately felt blah.  My heart rate was soaring (165+) and I wasn't anywhere close to the hard stuff.  Finally after stopping twice, I pulled the plug 30 min into the climb (usually 1:40) and drove back home to finish my ride.  2 hours of riding around my neighborhood (with a few big hills) and I was feeling fine.  No idea.  It was hot and I wasn't in a happy headspace.  I was also cranky because if I would have just ridden from home, I would have been done with my workouts ~2 hours earlier in the day.  But I had to give DC a try.  I pulled the plug because my HR was just too high and I didn't want to put myself in a hole on day 1 of a really hard 3 day training weekend.

This day was capped off my a 45 min run.  Fortunately it had started to sprinkle and the temps went down.  My run was actually ok and I saw a tiny baby deer.  Very cool.

Will was really awesome and went to the store for dinner supplies while I was out training.  He made dinner (grilled elk/beef burgers, sweet potatoes, zucchini) and never once said anything about how I killed his 4th of July.  He is amazing and I will keep him.  I started getting ready for bed around 9:30 and was greeted with the local firework show outside my bedroom window.  So I got to see some fireworks, all while sitting on the arm of a couch.  Not too shabby.


1:15 swim at the Gravel Pond.  I got up at 6:30 (pretty late for a weekend anymore... sigh), made sure I was out there at 7:15 to wrestle into my wetsuit and be one of the first swimmers in the water at 7:30.  I started out at a good pace but got tired 45 min in.  And I kept getting lost.  I know, its a POND.  But sighting is really hard,  They have a few buoys to the halfway point and then you're on your own.  I try to use rock formations up on the foothills as a reference point, but that only works until the trees block them out of sight.  And using trees is challenging, since most trees look the same when you're glancing at them through foggy goggles for a half a second every 10 strokes or so.  Still, I got it done and the pace was ok.  Practice OWS are always slower than race day anyways, mainly because of the poor sighting conditions and because I have to swim by myself.

Immediately after the swim I had a 2:30 run.  I originally wanted to run early to avoid the heat, but I was specifically told to run after to run in the heat.  Great.  Also: blech.  A few days prior, out of the blue a friend sent me a text offering to run with me.  I immediately took her up on that offer and I am so thankful to her.  I tired brain couldn't properly calculate the time I was supposed to arrive at the Waterton parking lot to meet her (I told her 9 AM when it should have been 9:30).  She's so nice that this wasn't a problem, she just did an out and back and found me in the canyon.  And no surprise, it was hot.  I think I did about as much running as I did walking.  I didn't let my HR get above 155-160 and took a ton of walking breaks to get it down to 140-145.  I kept apologizing the whole time because this wasn't really running, and Amy was just so nice and was happy to get out of the house and have some adult time (she's got a 1.5 yr old).  I was just thankful because she talked my ear off and distracted me from my cranky thoughts.  If I was by myself, I know I would have been beating myself the whole time about all the walking and thinking about how Boulder was going to be a shit show with the heat.  Instead, we had a nice conversation and ran across 3 groups of bighorn sheep:

On the negative side, I ran farther last weekend in ~20 min less time (I also started 3 hours earlier and it was probably 20 deg cooler).  On the plus side, my hydration was just right and my legs felt good.  It took me 2:38 to go 11.7 miles, which is SLOW.  But in all honestly, if I could hold that pace in Boulder in 85 degree temps, I would be ecstatic.  That would be a 6 hr marathon, which isn't super fast, but I would take it in hot conditions.

I got home, got cleaned up, and Will took me for pie milkshakes.  Yes.  There's a place by our house that will take a slice of pie (you pick the kind of pie) and blend it with vanilla ice cream to make a milkshake.  I'd been wanting to go there for a year but couldn't justify the calorie-bomb.  This was my weekend.  It was delicious.
cherry for me, pecan for Will.  I don't know what Will did to justify the calories (or his 2 naps that day) but I wasn't going
to question it.


This was my 6 hr bike ride.  The forecast was a high of 95.  Yay?  Torture is always better with friends, and I had a nice little group with me.  Thank goodness.  We did 2 loops of Harvest Moon, which is a local 70.3 course.  Its all exposed, which means sun, heat, and wind.  With hills!  This ride isn't exactly fun, but the nice part is that you come back to your car after 45 miles and can re-stock supplies.  And you can take a dip in the Res afterwards if you need a cool down.

We started at 7 AM and it was already windy.  The first 20 miles are a nice, gradual downhill which makes for a nice warmup.  My legs didn't really want to play, my adductor kept getting tight and I had to stretch it 3 times in the first 50 miles.  It was also pretty windy on the first loop, with a headwind on the way back to the cars, which also has all the hill climbing.  I didn't want to blow my legs out on the first loop of a long day so I took the hills super easy.  Like e-a-s-y easy.  I never do that.  But I also didn't want to make my adductor worse.  For another fun feature, at mile 25 I started to literally dry heave on my nutrition (Bonk Breakers peanut butter chocolate chip).  Not cool, especially 1/4 of the way through a long day and when most of your ride nutrition is Bonk Breakers.  I really don't know what the deal was.  I made myself nibble on the bar for the way back (a little over an hour).  Back at my truck I ate some Tums (randomly in my gear bag) and swapped out my nutrition to other stuff.  I barely had enough honey stinger chews and SunRype bars to get me through the 2nd half of the ride.  I tried to eat more of the pb-cc flavor bars and each time resulted in gagging.  I think they're too sweet when its hot out.  The PB&J ones were a bit easier to get down.  This was my planned race nutrition, so I really don't know if this was a fluke or if this will keep happening.  What I do know is that I have Tums in my special needs bag (or in a pocket), as that saved my ass.  And I need to have back-up nutrition if things go south.  I get tired of eating HS chews all day, but they don't take much effort to get down and my stomach seems to like them.

The first loop was a big MEH (wind, nutrition, legs) but you just have to let go of that and keep moving.  The second loop, fortunately, was much better.  It was hotter (way hotter) but there's something nice about knowing its your last loop.  But holy crap, it was hot.  Thoughts on the last 25 miles of the 2nd loop were something like this:
ok its hot, but I'm drinking ok, and I'm still on my bike.  I've got this.
why am I riding in front of the other 2 people I'm with? (they were way ahead of me on loop 1)
really guys, you can pass me if you want
response: I couldn't pass you if I tried
hills are starting, legs actually feel decent.  Sweet!
and here's the heat.  Wow its hot.
whyyyyy do I keep signing up for hot races?  didn't I learn my lesson during IMTX?
I never want to do Kona, ever
I really don't want to do Boulder, either.  This is horrible
eat, drink, eat drink, pedal.
wow, its hot
I just want to go sit in the Res when this ride is done.
ok, last big hill, now its 5 miles to my truck.  I can do this
wow, I'm actually out of water.  I went through 4 hrs worth in less than 3 hours time.  crap its hot
oh yay, my truck.
oh crap, I've got another 45 min or at least 12 miles.  I guess I need to suck it up and just get it done.  It won't be easie
r on race day....

We finished the 2nd loop and got back to our cars.  Brian was totally out of water.  I had one bottle left.  Melanie had 2 ice cold cans of Coke and gave one to me and Brian to split.  It was magic.  I don't drink Coke anymore, but this was amazing.  And it made me think of coke slurpees for the rest of the ride.  I had another 12 miles, Brian had 9 miles (he did some looping to keep track of us earlier in the ride).  Both Brian and Melanie were out of water, so we rode into the Res to get more water.  At that point, Melanie started overheating and was having issues completing sentences, so she went to go sit in the Res and didn't finish the ride.  Brian and I decided to suck it up and get 100 miles done.  We rode to the traditional left turn at Watkins Road, and that easily got us to 100 miles.  We had some clouds on those last miles, and I swear, the temps dropped at least 10 degrees in the shadow.  It felt so good.

Then we were done for the day.  It was Brian's first century ride, it was my 2nd hottest century ride ever.  Overall time wasn't too bad, considering the heat.  I drank 8 bottles in 6 hours - normally I'd drink 5-6.  No slurpee on the way home, either.  I got Jamba Juice - I figured it had a bit more nutrition.

Random lessons from the ride:

  • I need back-up nutrition available.  I want to use real food but I just don't know if I can actually eat it.  I do know that I can get HS chews down and I have a bazillion SunRype fruit snacks that I can also eat.  (I actually raided my truck stash for loop 2 to ensure I had enough calories).  I'll have to be smart with Special Needs and maybe have extra nutrition stashed on my bike.
  • We all drank WAY more than we had planned.  Holy crap it was hot.
  • Osmo seemed to work.  I only had a slight heat headache.
  • Calories, while low, seemed to be ok.  I was a bit wobbly, but I think that was from the heat, not lack of calories.  I ended up eating 3-5 chews every 30 minutes (or maybe ever 15) and I tried to nibble on the PB&J Bonk Breakers in between to get some more "food" in.  The PB&J ones went down a bit better than the choc ones.  I may just have to play with flavors on the course during the race (they have 4 flavors) and see what works.
  • Legs actually felt pretty good.  We got done and it was hot, but my legs felt like they could do more.
  • Bike comfort was actually good on the 2nd lap.  Maybe I was distracted by the heat, but I really didn't have any "get me off my bike" thoughts.  I do love my bike.

Closing Thoughts

  • I am really thankful for my friends, who kept me company for most of this crazy weekend.  It really helped to keep the negative thoughts out of my head.
  • That pie milkshake was awesome.  I may have one again this coming weekend.
  • I may need to let go of any time goals for Boulder.  If its hot, I really can't have pace expectations. It becomes more of a "lets keep moving" situation.  I'd like to go under 14 hours but it all depends on the heat.  And I need to be ok with that.
  • On Monday, I slept in until 9 AM and took a 1 hour nap.  I wasn't sore, which is weird, but I was TUCKERED.
  • I have the most awesome husband ever.  Not once did he complain about how I ruined his holiday weekend.  Instead, he took care of me.  I don't know what I did to deserve someone so awesome but I am incredibly thankful for him.
  • I think I'm ready for one more hard week and then taper.  I can do this. :)

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