Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tales of the Seagull Century (100 mile bike ride)

First of all, let me just say that I have completed 1 century ride and that is really not necessary to do again, unless it will help me to get ready for a Half or Full Ironman. We did all of that and didn't even get a medal at the end? Why? Oh Why??

I really made an effort to do things with my supporters this year. Robin and Gladys have been very supportive of me in my Triathlons, so when they mentioned that they were doing running races, I signed up to run with them. The folks at the Cycling Club, BMWCC warmly welcomed me, Lisa, Rian and Maddy in to ride with them in order to help our cycling skills for our Triathlons, so when they told us about the Seagull Century that they were doing,we signed up to ride with them. I think that Lisa and I cussed and blamed Tania from BWMCC at least 10 times today for talking us into signing up!

Here is the breakdown of the hellish day:

Mile 1-23.5: Pace lines!
This was the fun part of the ride. I was really trying to ride in the pace line with the group, as it is much easier to draft off of someone in a pace line (each cyclist ride very close on the wheel of the cyclist in front of them and the first person takes all the wind for the group) than to ride alone. It was a challenge to keep up with them and not let our other folks fall too far behind. Rian and I stuck together and before we knew it, we were at the first rest stop.

Mile 23.5-43.3: Side winds
I started out riding with this guy from Fleet Feet and his crew until we turned a corner and the fierce side winds slowed me down. I lost that group, met a lady from a cycling club on the Eastern Shore, rode with her for a while and then jumped on a pace line with Black Ski, as the winds were getting harder to cycle through. They got me to the second rest stop. I felt no pain and wasn't tired at all, but was just tired of the winds. We were fair warned that the winds were going to pick up in the second half.

Mile 43.3-63.4: Cramps & Wild horses
We got both head and side winds, which made it harder to keep a decent pace. By mile 50, I got the worst cramp in my side. I pushed through, because it wasn't debilitating, but it posed as a challenge while battling the winds. I was starting to get tired by mile 60, as I had not been on my bike for any longer than that. Close to the rest stop, I looked up and saw the very steep Verranzano Bride that was going to bring us to Assateague Island. At this point all I could say was, "WHATEVER!" and just power up it. It was very pretty, but I didn't stop until I saw the horses. They were so calm and I took a great pic, although I was scared as hell. There was a sign that read that the horses bite and may charge you and all I could think about was the guy that got charged by an antelope. When I got to the rest stop, I ate some stuff and then I just laid on the ground in the parking lot!

Mile 63.4-84.6: Pimped slapped by the wind / Eat the pie Annie Mae!
This was the toughest stretch for us all! It was so, SO very hard! I had to pull over to take advil for my knees (which have never hurt before) and I was very whiny and asking Lisa why in the hell were we doing this?! I was really about  to cry when out of nowhere, this chic, Ruth, rode up and started talking to me. She had music, was very nice and interesting and 5 miles later I was all better! The winds were just BRUTAL. They were even stronger from the front and sometimes so strong from the side that it felt like we would be pushed off of our bikes! I was pedaling sooo slowly due to fatigue from all of the winds. It felt like I was constantly pedaling up a hill! I caught up with Maddy and we suffered through the last 15 miles together. We waited for everyone and before long, we were all laying in the grass after eating apple and cherry pie. We seriously contemplated getting on the "Quitters wagon" for a ride to the finish line, but somehow, we worked up the mental energy to keep going.

Mile 83.6-101: Only the strong survive
I was just so sick of the winds by this point that I was just mad as hell! I decided to just power through the last 16.4 miles, as the winds were not going away. I drafted off a few folks and just got it done. I met Delores Simmons from Tri Unify in the last 5 miles and we brought it to the finish line together. I have never been so happy to see a finish line!

Here is a pretty cool video that Lisa made. That was me laying on the ground at about 5:23 in the video.

Lessons of the day: #1. Get bike shorts with padding in the front #2. The wind is really not your friend #3. There is no sense in me doing another ride like that unless it will help me to prepare for something bigger that will produce a medal at the end

Monday, October 10, 2011

Navy 5/Army 10

I signed up for a few running races, to actually make myself get out and run. Truth be told, I really don't run a lot to prepare for my Triathlons, which must change. Although, I am completely over training for any event due to burn out, I am sticking with my race schedule (minus the 1/2 marathon in New Orleans). Since my last Triathlon 4 weeks ago, I have completed the Navy 5 miler and Army 10 miler. I can say that I am consistently slow, but my endurance has improved. 

On September 25th, I completed the Navy 5 miler in 1 hour and 5 minutes. I really surprised myself by running the entire race, minus one water stop. My legs hurt in the first mile and a half, but by mile 2, I was in my groove. I ran a 13 minute mile, but I finished and felt really good that I could go the distance without all of the walk breaks that I usually take.

I ran a few times before the Army 10 miler race today, but quite honestly, I am just burned out. I want to do this stuff because it is what I WANT to do, not because I HAVE to get ready for a race; I want to exercise, not train. The thought of being ready by a date on the calendar stresses me out and takes the joy out it for me right now. I really had no IDEA how I was going to complete the 10 mile race today. I have never run further than 6 miles, which is usually hard for me. My plan was to take it 2 miles at a time, stop for water and repeat 5 times. I found myself rejoicing at every mile marker sign, but I only stopped for water every 2 miles. I am extremely proud of myself for running the first 8 miles with only stops for water, but after that... the story changed. Man, the 14th Street bridge/ I-395 broke me! It was uphill and UN ENDING...! I saw Lisa about 500 feet in front of me and it was my goal to just catch up to her. When I finally did, I am sure that I mean mugged her and she said, "I don't have anything left". We walked in silence together for a little while and then did a run/walk/shuffle-like thing for the last 2 miles. I was so happy to see Pier and Gladys there cheering us on!! They gave me the extra push that I needed to get to the finish line. I finished in 2 hours and 13 minutes, which equates to another slow 13+ minute mile run. Slow but steady, and finishing is all that counts for me.
I really have the desire to keep this running thing up and get faster. I joined a running club and will meet for track workouts this fall and winter. I plan to keep my running endurance and build upon it. Wish me luck!

Next up: Seagull Century (100 mile bike ride) on Saturday. And then, nothing scheduled until March 17th! :)