Monday, June 04, 2012

Countdown to Ironman, Week 3: Race Rehearsal #2

It's almost Go-time here, and so far all is well. My knee seems to be better, though still sore. This week was a big one for training, with yesterday's 7-hour race rehearsal. Just like with RR #1, the idea was to try to nail things like pacing and nutrition so that on race day there's no surprises.

So how did it go? It sucked. It utterly and totally sucked. There were no major suckages - no bad falls, no flat tires, no snow storm. But there were so many minor suckages (see photo of pavement I was riding on, for instance!) that it added up to one big bad long day of Suck. Luckily, the motto of the day is "Embrace the Suck", so as I grumbled my way along, making deals with myself like "If you don't call Wayne to come pick you up right this instant, you can grab some ice cream on the way home" (I did neither, thankfully), I tried to believe that getting through this day would make me stronger in the Ironman to come.

So what went right? All the important stuff went right. Pacing was good. I rode 112 miles with 4800 feet of climbing. My intention was to nail the pacing on the climbs, keeping my heart rate in the Z1 to low-Z2 zone for most of it (for those of you not conversant with heart rate zones, for me that means keeping it under 143 beats per minute. That means going easier on the hills than I normally do, and it felt weird. Since I was wearing everything I'll wear in the race, that means I was all kitted out with my dorky Pointy Helmet of Speed on. So crawling along up the hills, I was really hoping I didn't get passed by the Granny Brigade on mountainbikes or something, it would just be too humiliating. Luck was with me (sort of), the day was too crappy and cold for anyone who is not totally Stoopid or Bat Shit Insane to be out on a bike. Obviously, I fall into one or both of those categories.

Nutrition was good for the most part. I worked my new drink bottle systems (Torhans and Speedfil) and took along a 6-hour mixture of Infinit, which is basically like sugary salty sludge, washing it down with water. I also used some Bonk Breaker bars, which they'll have on the course. The one thing I didn't have with me was anything with CAFFEINE, which as it turns out, I desperately needed. So I stopped at this little roadside store. I wish I'd thought to take a photo of the interior because the shelves were so empty that I thought they were going out of business. As it turns out, they're just on such tough times that they're having trouble ordering inventory. They literally did not have Coke. No Pepsi. Can you imagine a convenience store without these things? I felt so bad for them. They had one Dr. Pepper on the shelf and that was it! So I became a Pepper and glugged 10 oz. just for the caffeine.

Now, what went wrong? Did I mention the weather? How can this be June?? I am having the worst luck training for a June 24 Ironman in the crappiest spring that Oregon has ever brought forth. Actually, an 83 year old lady told me the other day that she had seen one worse spring, probably 50 years ago or so. But this is pretty bad. Rainy. Cold. Bleh. I got chilled down and couldn't seem to warm up much, even on the climbs, which were considerable.

Then there was the pavement. I haven't done this particular ride in several years, and boy howdy the pavement has gone downhill since then. Part of it, which used to be nice pavement, has now been chip-sealed with what looked to be 3/4- gravel. It's basically like riding down a gravel road with a thin layer of baked tar on top. And I remember a good bit of the road being through this lovely forest, but there's a lot of logging going on there right now, and most of it is now clearcuts and stumps. The same trucks that kindly took away the forest also took chunks out of the roads, leaving them looking like the photo above. Later in the ride, I was looking forward to a good chunk of miles on a rails-to-trails bike path, but again the pavement there was far worse than it has been in years past, with tree roots pushing up ridges of asphalt, some of which were big enough to launch me, BMX style, into the air. Kindly, someone had spray painted most of these so at least you could see them coming.

The bottom line was that for much of the ride, I couldn't get above 14 - 16 mph due to road surfaces, which made this ride SO MUCH LONGER than I thought it would be. Combined with the craptastic weather, and three days of poor sleep beforehand, it felt like one giant 7-hour bonkfest with constant vigilance for potholes and tree roots, and chatter from the bad pavement thrown in. By the time I got home, I was utterly and totally depleted. But... I did it. And I am stronger for it. At least that's what I'm telling myself.


juliejulie said...

You: bat shit crazy, for sure. But damn proud of ya just the same!

Marv said...

Your one tough Ironmom. Love the post. I don't wish these days on anyone but it is good to hear others have them beside myself.

Can't believe your weather. We are in the high 90's here. Chip seal? Texas is the chip seal state. Understand about the eat up roads...not good. Running shoes here don't last long on the road rasp.

I think you are just crazy enough to complete this journey and I am happy for you.

Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete said...

You know this since you have done one before, but this is exactly how you should be feeling!! You are at that point in your training. Now, hopefully, you are all set for the taper. I rode the course yesterday, and don't worry, you should be fine!! The road isn't bad at all, and it is getting a nice cleaning right before the race (according to the race director).

If you finish between 6 and 9, I might be catching you! Look for a chick in a Team Blaze hat!! ;)

Happy Tapering!!! You have earned it!

cherelli said...

Wow, training through all that terrible weather will make you one tough lady come race day; you'll be just fine. Now enjoy your taper, visualise a great race, and hopefully it'll all come together - including the weather!

Anonymous said...

I am really enjoying reading your Ironman is in Arizona in November so I want to read as much as I can about what to anticipate with training. Great workout despite the obstacles, by the way!!

Kathy said...

Every time I feel like barfing or head out for a workout and it is just awful, I think, "well this is good training incase i experience it during the IM" and that makes it easier to deal with. good workout!