Monday, June 23, 2008

(at least I'm moving) Forward

Well, I had a weekend of festivities planned to gauge all things post-cold; 56 miles on the bike followed by a 5 mile run, then a 10 mile run scheduled for Sunday. My week of training last week basically sucked, as you know, so I was curious what the weekend would bring.

Mostly, things went okay. Or if they didn't go okay, it wasn't because of the cold I think I'm officially over, so - shout out to everybody who was right, that the fitness was there and to just be patient. But in other news, I'm still yet to put it all together.

I started out strong Saturday morning, I think a little over-exuberant with returning to the long ride after a few weeks doing races, etc., and maybe with a bit of a chip on my shoulder about proving something to myself after such a craptacular week of training. I felt great that first hour...but I felt like I was racing. Several times I audibly told myself to settle down - I was attacking hills, pushing on straightaways, even getting out of my saddle to sprint ahead after stop signs or slowing to turn. My first third of the 56 mile total I averaged just under 20mph - and on my training course (actually Brazo's, I'm just borrowing it for the next couple years) that's just not sustainable. I settled in better on my second third, averaging 19.1 mph, but almost immediately at mile 40 I could feel the wall. I'd worked too hard, and was starting to pay for it.

I have super obvious "tells" for when things are going south. On the bike, I make a lot of noise. Groaning, grunting, gasping, noisy exhales. When these things start happening, they're mostly me complaining. And when I'm complaining, I've lost my mojo. So that last hour, I spent mostly being noisy. My speed slowed to an 18.1 average, and I finished my 56 mile ride in 2:57:32. On the surface that's a nice time, something to be excited about, but I'd exhausted my bank account doing it. Super stupid. You'd think I haven't made this exact same mistake 1200 times before. Just call me Sisyphus.

So, working so hard to go fast put my average heart rate at 137bpm, and the last hour I was having nutritional issues as well because of it. This is just so vintage me, spiraling just into the moment like that. When I got off my bike, I was so thrilled to just be off the thing. I sat on my front step "transition" and drank a cold water for 10 minutes and tried to justify why I didn't really have to run 5 miles now if I don't want to.

But I did, and it sucked, and I hobbled along at a 9:41/mile pace, walking for a quarter mile stretch halfway-in. Same thing on the run - all my "going south" tells were in play. My hips get loose, and my shoulders falter. I complain in my head about how hot it is. I focus only on the fountain a mile down the road so I can dunk my hat into it. All so typically me. I spiral into the moment.

So - the good news, and it is really, really good news - is that the cold has no lasting effects for the training, which I'm ecstatic about. The bad news is, I didn't have a great Saturday workout, because I was stupid. The good news is, it's a fixable stupid.

Slow down kid. That's all. Just settle down. Consider a few weeks ago, I rode my 56 miles "easy" in 3:11:04 with a low heart rage of 127 - then happily trotted off my bike and settled into a comfortable 6 mile run at 8:28/mi.

It ain't rocket science. Everything's about the bike with me. How the bike goes is how the run will go. Period. If I insist on going as fast as I can, then I can go home from Racine super proud of my sub 3:00 hour bike and just not tell anybody about my 3 hour half mary that followed. Or I can re-friggin-lax and have a solid run that will more than make up for any time I might give away for slowing down on the bike.

Sunday, then, was a 10 mile run, and it went almost according to schedule. 10 miles in 8:22/mi, mostly comfortable, mostly drama free. The only thing was at mile 9, when the heat just suddenly became oppressive for me, and I slowed to around a 9:00/mile. We've had such a weird summer that this is really the first time the heat came into play - and I have suspicions that Racine is going to be hot. I'm not good in heat, and have to take really proactive measures to cope with it. One of my strategies, which I will happily deploy in Racine if needed, is to walk as a matter of strategy - not as survival - every 3 or 4 miles, for .25 mile or so - just to take in extra electrolytes, get short rest, rehydrate and cool off. Anyway, it was okay with me for the heat to come into play and slow me down, and not have it be because of my stupid cold.

So where we are, and where we go: Actually, I'm feeling pretty good about things. It's okay with me to have blown up on the bike this weekend, because it was actually a really strong workout, and gave me definitive lines around some boundaries for me. You obviously want this stuff to happen in rehearsal, and not during the show, and if I can walk away and say, "okay, that sucked, and here's why", then there can only be a net gain from the experience. I was extremely relieved to find the cold had no significant effects and that my fitness was still there - I was really working myself into a lather about that. And finally the heat - I hope to have a few more hot days to train in, come what may, just to acclimate to some strategies. We'll see.

One thing I simply must address: HEED. Seriously, what in the hell with this stuff. This is what's on-course at Racine, so I started training with it this weekend. I've encountered it before in races, never loving it much. I bought the "unflavored" kind, which is actually quite flavored - like the inside of a goat's rectum. I actually dreaded having to sip it on my bike - like, mentally, I'd think, "ah crap, 2 more minutes until I have to drink this stuff", and then I'd try and do it quickly, without tasting it. Is it just me? Or is this stuff really, really horrible? And - am I reading the label wrong, or does one 24 oz. serving have about a third the sodium of Gatorade? So what the hell? I have to double up on electrolyte tablets to compensate for what my energy drink is missing? I'm seriously looking for some guidance on this stuff, because man. I find it just totally asstacular.

So - next weekend. This is it, full-on dress rehearsal. I'm not sure yet if my long ride will be with the WIBA crew (I know my long run will be), or if I'll do better for myself to train on this route I've been consistent on all season, to really have some accurate measures in place. I'll see how I feel during the week - I'm leaning right now towards a solo ride, I think. No more experimenting, no more stupid-ass mistake making, no more what-iffing. Saturday the goal is to put together a race-ready 56 mile ride and 7 mile run. Sunday is 13 miles, sub 8:30/pace. Should be interesting.


Team Brazo said...

Glad your feeling better. I remember the early days with the kids, I felt like I was always sick. I've been doing much more MTB riding then road bike -- I need to get back on that road bike!!

Have a nice week...

Erin said...

I'm not sure I get the Heed thing, either, but I don't find it nearly as offensive. Rather, it doesn't seem to have much taste at all as far as I'm concerned. But I haven't lined up the nutritional difference between that and Gatorade -- a third of the sodium? That's pretty darn significant. Ugh.

KodaFit said...

Thanks for the heads up on Heed... I was considering trying it. On Saturday I officially decided that I will never grow to like Accelerade - I'm sure it's good, but nutrition is only good if it stays down. They had Heed on the run course, and it wasn't too bad, but I was just grateful to have something other than my Accelerade, so perhaps I need to try it when I'm not as biased!

Steph Bachman said...

Glad you are feeling better!

Try the flavored Heed. I prefer the lemon-lime. It doesn't taste salty enough for me either, but my DH says that it has the same sodium per serving as the Cliff drink does.

Rebecca said...

I second the comment about the flavored HEED being better than the unflavored stuff. I like Lemon-Lime. I take Elete as my electrolyte replacement - its liquid so I can mix it in with the drink and not have to worry about carrying extra.