Monday, August 02, 2010

"Going Long" AND a "Blast from the Past"

This weekend was the beginning of high-mileage territory: I had a 90-mile bike ride on Saturday and a 15-mile run Sunday.

The bike ride was all about the mental game. I've been doing short mid-week rides and after 30 minutes or so I've been getting bored out of mind thinking "man, this is taking forever!" So I needed to recalibrate what it means to go for a long ride. I met up with Steve, Teresa, Gary and Chris in Duarte and we hit the river trail.

We started off with the 10-mile climb up to East Fork Road. Gary, bless his heart, was being very helpful and giving me good advice about the bike. (He qualified and raced in Kona in 2005.) But for some reason I thought it was very funny HOW he was giving me advice. I honestly don't remember the numbers, but at one point as I was charging up the hill he told me something like this: "OK, I'll do an Ironman bike in about 5 hours, and right now I'm putting out 250 watts. So if you're passing me, you may be overexerting yourself." My counter-argument was basically "maybe, but my way we get to top sooner." Point: Wedgie.

Of course, Gary was right. We went back down the hill and then continued along the slight-downhill all the way to Seal Beach. And all the time, I KNEW I was going too fast and that I was going to pay for it later. Sure enough, around mile 57 when it was time to turn around and do a 35-mile slight incline back to the cars, I wasn't too happy.

I remember the exact moment when my ride fell apart: I glanced down at my odometer and it said 64 miles. And it immediately clicked in my head that I was just past the halfway point of the 112-mile Ironman ride. (Yes, I didn't realize until the NEXT DAY that the halfway point of Ironman is at 56 miles, but I guess I was getting loopy and in my mind 62 was one-half of 112.) ANYWAY, that's when the demons hit. "Oh my god, I could never do what I just did twice. I hate this wind. My shoulder hurts." And once I stop caring, then I start to slow down, which makes me feel worse because I can't believe how slow I'm going, so I care even less... It was just a very long ride back.

Now here's the odd part: I thought the 90-mile ride would take me 6 hours. That's slower than what my race pace should be, but I thought at this point in my training 6 hours would be good. I finished in 6:02:00, and it was actually 92.5 miles. So that should have been a great result, but I was just so - not depressed, but something one step less severe - during the last 90 minutes of the ride it just left a bad feeling inside. But, the entire purpose of the ride was to start getting used to long rides so mission accomplished.

Sunday's 15-mile run was mostly uneventful. I felt no noticeable fatigue or soreness in my legs from the ride the day before. Last week I had a bad 15-mile run because of a pretzel hangover, and this time I was only about 8 minutes faster. I thought I should have been faster, but when the run was over I didn't feel sore or dead. Could I have gone another 11 miles? I don't know, but I certainly felt I had 5 more miles in me. With a bit over two months to go, I'm comfortable with that.

I said the run was MOSTLY uneventful; there was one very cool moment: I ran into Iron Monica! Without giving away all of her personal secrets, she has a cool new job in the fitness industry which will either further ignite her passion for endurance sports or burn her out completely. I suspect it's the former. She's still under the impression that we Disney Tri Team folks are cool so hopefully we'll be seeing her again soon.


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