Last weekend was one of the biggest yet, and it was the last big build block of 4 weeks before a little recovery. On tap was a 5:30 bike ride, intended to be harder, steady effort the whole time followed by a 40min run. Then, finish off the weekend and block with another 3hr/20mile run.
Well, things didn't go exactly as planned as we had quite the storm come in Friday. We woke up Saturday morning ready to roll, but looked outside to soaking wet streets and dark, dark clouds. It happened to just be 3 of us that morning, so the thought crossed our minds to switch and do our long runs first, and save the ride for Sunday. However, after checking the weather and realizing that the forecast was equally as gloomy (70% chance of rain and thunderstorms), we decided to HTFU and just get er done.
Within 2 minutes our legs and butts were soaked. The streets were so wet our bike tires were flinging water, mud, grit, rocks all over us. There would certainly be NO drafting today unless you wanted the spray of mud in your face. We had plans to just go until the sky looked rough, or dangerous with lightening and try to stay close to home. As the miles clicked off and we were already soaked & dirty we really just wanted to keep on going for an out and back course and get the ride done. We ended up doing a loop with about 80miles, but I still had almost an hour left to go, and Karen had 35 miles to get to her goal of 112. As we were making the last big climb before home the rain REALLY picked up. My tires felt slick and dangerous and I was just DONE. I pulled up next to Karen, said I was so over this. DONE.
You know sometimes how your friends can be your worst enemy? How your moods can bring each other down (negative thoughts, energy, complaints) and you can both end up sandbagging? Well, this was just the opposite. Karen had convinced herself to at least get to 100miles. I hadn't succumbed to this quite yet, but as I neared the turn to get back home, I just kept rolling passed it. I started thinking about the weeks left to Ironman, and with a race coming up in 2 weeks I really didn't have much opportunity to get the long miles on the bike in.
We pretty much rode in silence for the last 20miles, just trying to get the miles down. The rain got even worse, making it nearly impossible to ride really well (safely), but as we made the last turnaround with only 4 miles left to go, I already had a satisfied feeling that I had sucked it up enough to finish the ride.
And that's where it all changed. As I was making the last climb home, a hill about 3/4 mile long I realized my handling felt off. I couldn't see my tire because of the rain, but finally determined it was indeed, flat. I screamed to Karen who had pulled ahead when I stopped and she finally heard me. So, there we are, mile 97 in the pouring rain, wind. Soaked head to toe and muddy as all get out changing a tire on the side of the road.
Here I am, pretending to be happy about looking like a kid plaining in the rain. I assure you I am NOT. This picture does not even do justice to the conditions, or the amount of nasty black grime all over us from head to toe.
We main it home a few miles later 100.01miles EXACTLY (after looking at my tires later, I'm shocked I didn't get 5 flats) we put our bikes in the garage, stripped off the nasty clothes and headed straight up to the shower. My toes had been numb for about 3 hours and after the last hour when the storm picked up and I was barely able to to take my hands off the bars to eat or drink, and made the decision to bail on my brick. I took a 20min HOT shower scrubbing all the grime off and had to dig my fingernails into a bar of soap to get the mud and grease out of them.
Clothes were washed and soaked twice, but are still stained with mud. Bikes were completely trashed, and may need new chains. My once white bike saddle is now black and new tires will be replacing the completely trashed ones today.
It was one of those days where you remember Ironman is not easy. It reminded me of the freak storm climbing Yellow Lake at IMCA in 2010. The feeling of not being safe on the road, numb toes and wondering WTF you do this to yourself.
But in the end, it was a day of mental toughness. A day of just dealing with what is thrown at you. A day that made me stronger.
The best part of it all was following it up with my best 20mile run to date (no IT band pain, and negative split!), and ending the big training block feeling tired, yet completely satisfied with all of the hard work!
A little reminder, that