Another love note from Liz to her athletes.
I'm not tireless, but I won't quit when I'm tired.
Unstoppable-Rascal Flatts (The 2010 Olympics version)
I can only describe this weekend as EPIC. I was ready for it.
On Saturday, I had a 45 minute swim, followed by 1:30 trainer ride. We'd been feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Dolly, getting a lot of rain and wind. I thought if I got to the lake early, I could beat any storm coming in that day.
And for the first 900m, I did. Then, the wind came in and current was horrible. I had to use all my strength to move forward. The swim was supposed to be easy, but this was far from easy. I had been keeping my eye on a guy who was on my right. He was wearing an MHM swim cap. He was my partner in pain. I kept my eye on him.
We both head back at the same time. A 1:50 pace never felt so hard. Let me put this in perspective. My normal swim pace for this distance is 1:20. The 1:50? It was everything I had, and I felt like I was barely moving forward. I saw MHM on my right. Then he stopped for a second. I realized he was catching his breath. Every time, we looked up, we were getting smacked in the face with water. The sky was dark. I knew it was going to start raining at any minute.
I thought to myself, "You're going to have to do more than that to stop me. I'm on a mission. I am NOT stopping."
MHM and I got back to shore, and we both had to take a minute, looked at each other and just shook our heads. I just wanted to lay down on the beach. A 45 minute swim, turned into 53 minutes and covered 1.8 miles. Was I tired because of how hard the swim was? Was I tired because of that really hard masters swim the day before? More than likely, it was the combination. All I kept thinking was, I can't believe how much stronger I am, stronger in every way.
I was starving. I had to get home to do my trainer ride.
As I was leaving, the winds were getting stronger. I saw things flying past me. Then, I saw two cyclists. All I could think was, the swim was hard....but being on a bike right now....that's 10 times harder. Those guys on the bikes....damn....just damn.
I got home and ate. Crazy. Hungry.
Fortunately, the ride was easy. That meant, I could pretty much eat anything before it.
When I finished the days workouts, I started eating. I had big workouts the next day: a 3:45 ride and a :45 minute run.
On Saturday night, I was debating if I should go to Boulder the next morning. I was tired. I really wanted to sleep in.
I remembered (two weeks ago) when I did Venus. I was going to skip it, and I had such a great time.
Without giving it anymore thought, I packed up my beep beep.
Sunday morning, I got up and head to Boulder.
After the swim and ride the day before, I felt really good. Surprisingly good. We've been hammering my legs this week with rides and runs. They didn't feel "fresh", but hell, I felt good.
I had my training plan loaded into my garmin. My goal was to follow my fueling plan, not take anything from aid stations. Follow my plan.
This week, I started experimenting with the Carbo Pro Meta Salt tablets. They have +100mg MORE of sodium than SaltStick in each tablet. Since I need alot of sodium (especially right now), that means I can take fewer tablets. I LOVE the Meta Salt Tablets. They are slightly more expensive, but for me....I'd rather keep things simple. And, if I can take 1 tablet instead of 2....I'm game.
We started the ride. I wasn't even at mile 4 when I heard a noise. The last time my tire blew, it was like a gunshot. This time, it wasn't like that. I can't explain the sound. Initially, I thought I had something stuck in my brakes. I pull over and saw the shredded side wall.
~3.5 miles from the start. I thought my day was done. I thought it I could change the tube...and use Bill A's little DIY fix a tire cheat, I might be able to ride back to the start, which would be better than walking in cycling shoes.
The other cyclists were awesome. They were all asking if I needed help. And well, you know, if you have a 700x23 tire on you....you could probably help. One by one, everyone was passing me. Eventually, all the 50 milers were gone.
I changed the tube. Got on the bike. Within 30 seconds, I heard the old familiar sound. Just then, the SAG wagon pulled up.
I explained what happened. He left to make a phone call and came back. He told me there's a bike shop up the way. They'll probably give me a tire.
I said, "What? I don't have any money."
He said, "Don't worry about it. You did everything possible to make that flat work. I'm going to do everything possible to make sure you finish this ride."
He loaded up my bike.
45 minutes later.....I have a new tube and tire.
And I'm dead last. One of the reason I love these rides is because I get to ride with people. Now, I'm riding alone. I really needed to focus on where I was going because I'm not really familiar with the roads.
I look up and I see a rider in front of me. The temptation is so strong to start riding hard to catch the group, but I'm going to follow my plan.
I realized that I hadn't eaten or drank anything in an hour. I have enough fuel for 4 hours, but with the 45 minute delay, I'm going to be on the roads for 5 hours now.
At the next aid station, I'm going to eat like I'm at a buffet to get my calorie count back up to where it needs to be.
You'd think I'd be upset, but this ride was getting done no matter what. I was just out to have a fun day on my bike.
When I hit aid station 2, I caught up to a bunch of riders....a welcome sight.
The rest of the ride was pretty awesome. I rode with some great people, and we talked about all kinds of crazy stuff. I met one guy who was doing the Epic ride....which I think was 120 miles. We rode together for awhile, then he went up toward Carter Lake, and it was my time to turnaround.
Around mile 40, the rain hit. It wasn't torrential with strong winds, but it was a downpour. I could feel the mud/dirt hitting me. I had a few miles to the next aid station. If it was still raining, I'd take cover there for a little bit. I've done a lot of races in storms. That's a race. No reason for me to take unnecessary risks on a training day.
I pulled into the next aid station with about 20 other riders. There were already a bunch of people under the tents, and we all stayed there for a little while until it looked like the storm had pretty much passed.
I started up again. I realized the ground was completely dry about a mile up the road. I guess the storm only hit on that one stretch of road?
The rest of the ride was fantastic. I was now on my cooldown, which was an easy spin all zone 1. I took it easy the last 45 minutes. It was a beautiful day. My legs felt pretty darn good given what I had done the last few days.
Now, I was mentally prepping for the run.
Did I make up enough lost calories? Did I drink enough? Did I take in the sodium I needed?
I crossed the finish line. Someone asked if they could take my bike, so I could enjoy the party. I said, "No thanks".
I had to ride back to my car and get ready to run.
Again, race day fueling. Race day everything. I loaded my bike. Normally, I run without socks in my racing flats. I decided that for the half marathon, I'd wear my normal running shoes with socks. A few extra minutes in T2 will save me down the road.
I took a gel, drank water. Grabbed my fuelbelt and took off running.
I've been running 15 minutes, walk 1 minute. This is how I handle races. Run to each aid station. At the aid station, take 1 minute to have a gel and water and start running again.
So, Liz set up my run plan as: 4 min easy, 6 min mod, 4 min easy, walk 1 minute. Do that 3 times.
I don't know my way around the CU boulder campus....and I definitely could have found an easier run, maybe one closer to Soma's course. But, I just wanted to get done. So, I ran out and back....out back a different direction...out and back again.
And I knocked out the 45 min run. Now that I understand how running off the bike should feel, I don't even think of how my legs feel....because that's NORMAL.
The big thing for me has been that I stopped running with music 2 weeks ago. I told Coach that I'd been trying to figure out why I don't perform as well as I could on the run. I realized that it's because I can't "hear my own struggle" when I run with music.
For the past weeks, I've been becoming familiar with the sounds of discomfort: how my own breathing sounds when I run normally and how it sounds as I run faster.
In a race, I'd hear my breathing and think "I'm going so hard!" And I'd back off, but I wasn't really going hard at all.
I'm now matching the exertion to the performance. It's made a huge difference for me personally.
I took a gel every 15 minutes.
I finished the run.
I felt great.
I sat down on the grass on the CU campus for a bit. I watched the students walking by.
I enjoyed the feeling of feeling good.
I went back to the car and decided against going into Boulder for something to eat. I brought a recovery shake and some snacks. I wanted to go home and relax.
This process has been absolutely amazing. I never thought 70.3 training could be so much fun.
This is the best thing I've done in a long time.