Monday, June 02, 2008

Taper, baby!

This weekend was my final big push. I am now officially in taper mode.

I was set to do a 90-mile ride Saturday. To avoid the afternoon heat, I hit the trail at 7:00am and started with a 1200 foot climb up San Gabriel Canyon Road and back down. Around 9:00, I ran into Stuart and Robert who were just starting out their ride. We stayed together for about 20 miles so that was cool. Unfortunately I miscalculated my turn-around point and wound up doing 96 miles. Those extra 6 miles make a big difference at the end.

During a race, you have plenty of support (Gatorade, water, etc.) When we ride along the Pacific Coast Highway, there are gas stations to grab snacks. Along the San Gabriel River Trail however, there is nothing but warm water fountains. We often see guys with coolers standing by the trail looking to sell drinks but I was sure they'd charge outrageous prices. I stopped at one of the warm fountains at mile 90, having finished off my Gatorade bottle many miles earlier. There was one of the cooler guys there, so I figured I'd ask how much for a Gatorade.

Two bucks.

TWO MEASLY DOLLARS? I would have gladly paid 4 dollars. It was ice cold and it was The Yummy. Maybe on hotter days the prices go up, but it was money well spent in my mind.

When I got back to my car, there was a message waiting for me. Apparently Ironmen-In-Training don't have time to wash our cars.

Sunday was the big 20-mile run. I saw the giant plume of black smoke from the fire at Universal Studios, but fortunately the wind blew all the ash and soot away from Griffith Park. I started off the run listening to a podcast of Michael Lovato interviewing a bunch of experts about Ironman pre-race advice. They were going on and on about how for every 350 mg of carbohyrates you want to take in 25 mg of sodium and 3% of your calories should be fat-based or whatever. When I'm on the bike, I'm thinking "That Mountain Dew will really go well with those peanut butter crackers." These so-called "experts" were really starting to stress me out and suck the energy out of me, so after 15 minutes or so I turned them off and listened to some Men Without Hats. Much better.

This next paragraph is for MEN ONLY. Ladies, skip ahead.

OK guys, we all know the deal. We don't like having to wear tri shorts but they're the best shorts for a race. When they fit properly they keep everything in place and can be very comfortable. But you do have to be careful. Around mile 16, I felt a little itch down there. I was alone on the trail, so I reached down to do a little bit of adjusting and YEEEOOOWW! Turns out, when I started running I hadn't pulled up my shorts all the way. So the twins were free to brush back and forth ever so gently against that fuzzy chamois padding. For 16 miles. They weren't happy. And if the twins ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Once they were secured in position the run went a little better. Let that be a lesson to us all.

OK ladies, you can come back now. I was pretty tired for he last 5 miles but I made it through and actually felt pretty good about the run. I wanted to do an 11-minute pace and I did 10.9. But then I went home and checked my past runs. The 20-mile run I did preparing for the Santa Clarita Marathon? 9.8 minute miles. 18 months of training and I'm over a minute-per-mile SLOWER??!!! I'm not feeling good about that at all. However, this blog helps me put a positive spin on things: check out this entry from that last 20-miler in 2006:

"When it was all over, I was in pain. A lot of pain...I was moaning out loud driving home because my legs were so sore. I don't want to know what my neighbors must think (I'm in condo) after hearing me still moaning as I lowered myself into an ice bath when I got home."

This time, I was tired when I got home (I fell asleep on the couch) but pain? Not really. In fact I went walking around the Glendale malls that afternoon. So I guess that's a pretty good sign. Here's a bad sign: I lost 7 pounds of water this weekend:

Note the ring of dirt around my left angle. That isn't a tan line.


Blogger SWTrigal said...

great last weekend of training. I confess I read the "ouch" part..

4:16 AM  
Blogger Bigun said...

oh great...ANOTHER guy at CdA I outweigh by over 100lbs. Jeesh!

6:47 PM  
Blogger monica said...

DUH!!! it says right there on the scale "THINNER SPORT."

and um, can you warn us next time you're gonna show your feet??

1:47 PM  
Blogger Wedgie said...

I'll have you know I have AWARD-WINNING FEET!

(That doesn't really help my argument much, does it?)

1:53 PM  

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