Sunday, April 10, 2011

Is a 50 mile ride ever embarassing?

I'm not sure-- All I know is that I'm not particularly proud of today's ride but I'm not exactly sure why I'm not proud of it. . . To start at the beginning. . . its been a long week. Last Saturday we did a 7 sisters ride-- and let me tell you something-- 7 sisters is at least 1 too many. . . We started about 9 am; I was riding sweep so I had to be the last one out on the course; there were multiple (and I mean multiple) bike problems out there on the road that I needed to stop for -- from the girl who had somehow bent her fork and her wheel was rubbing at mile 1 to the girl who had managed to have her spare tire fall out of her saddle bag and lodge in her back tire at mile 10 to the girl who took a nasty spill on a flat about mile 29. All of that coupled with the 32 miles of riding and 3200 feet of climbing made for a really long day. . . so long, in fact, that when I got off the bike at 1:00 after 5 hours on the bike and headed out to sweep the 6 mile run I was a wreck. I couldn't believe that I'd been on that bike for 5 hours. . . 5 hours. I got to the water stop and headed out onto the trail. When the last participants passed me going down the hill I actually turned around. I was so late, given that the ride had taken 2 hours longer than I'd expected. I got back into town. Grabbed my recovery drink and headed home. Just about then was when I figured out that the ride hadn't taken me 5 hours. . . it had been 4 hours. Including the stopping time to try, unsuccessfully, to fix the fork. . . to remove the back wheel and gearing, successfully, and get that girl moving again. . . and to make sure that the face planter was OK and ready to ride. Suddenly my ride felt more respectable AND I wished I'd done the full 6 miles instead of the 4 that I did instead. After having to take Sunday off. . . I was back to it on Monday with my usual 5:45 am spin class and 9 am run. Not so bad as days go. Tuesday I was back in spin class. . . and Wednesday it was time for spin class (5:45 again) and then a trail run. I headed down to Tennessee Valley after dropping off the kids at school and headed out. A quick and easy trot down to the beach before I headed up on the hills. Up to the top of the Coastal Fire Road. . . over the hill to Muir Beach and back followed by the rest of the climb to the top of the Ridge and then back down the mountain. Total run distance is about 9 miles. Total climb-- about 2500 feet. Does anyone else treat the trail breaks like moguls? I tend to. . . there is something so amazing about coming back down off the ridge. I find myself jumping into the air trying to "clear" as much air as possible before coming back to earth. . . OK-- so I realize that this is probably not the smartest thing in the world-- and one of these days I'm going to lose an ankle-- but it is so much fun. Friday dawned with the prospect of a good hard swim. I've been blowing off swimming for the last 3 months-- I'm not sure why but I can't seem to get myself into the pool. I had a good swim at WF weekend but that is really about it. So, into the pool I went for as long as I could stand. I ended up doing pretty well. . . 500 yards warm up; 600 yards of drills; 400 yards swim; 5 sets of 50 hard 100 slow; 5 sets of 100 slow, 50 hard; and 200 yards cool down. By far the hardest swim of the year for me. . . And then we were on the weekend. Saturday's scheduled workout was a 13.1 mile run (also known as a half marathon). Because I wanted to go on Sunday's scheduled workout (and we didn't have CCD), I negotiated with John to run the 13.1 on my own. It was the first long run from the new house so I was a little curious where I was going to go. I headed out along Strawberry Hill and had my first surprise in my second mile-- I ran right by my friend Judith-- as I turned around to say Hi I felt guilty-- I don't usually recognize people when I run-- now that I live so close to all of my friends I will need to pay more attention. Out to Blackie's Pasture and along the water down into the Belevedere Peninsula. Here the road takes a sharp turn to the left and you start up the hill-- up about 400 feet in about .3 miles. At the top of this hill, however, lives "the other half." As in "oh. . . so this is how the other half lives." The houses are the most amazing things you will find in California-- they are huge. . . they have yards. . . they have views out into San Francisco Bay and of the Golden Gate Bridge. They also have some pretty big price tags. . . but they sure are fun to run by. Coming into Downtown Tiburon I was at mile 9 and I was feeling really really strong. The I-pod was in full force-- And if I may digress for a moment-- is anyone else embarrassed to tell people what is on their IPod? What I listen to when I run is just not anything I would want to acknowledge in front of an audience. By the time I got to mile 10 I was starting to get a bit tired. I had 3 to go and wasn't exactly sure if I had enough real estate left to get them. I had a choice-- either retrace my steps back around Strawberry Hill -- and probably hit 15 miles-- OR come up the huge hill on Ricardo and risk going slightly less than 13.1. . . I went with the hill-- but I did a lap around the rec center first-- this got me to 12.78 miles. Or. . . CLOSE ENOUGH-- I hope. Sunday's ride was going to be a 65 miler. Now, I've never been on a team where we've done "over distance" rides (or runs) before-- so I'm not sure whether this was part of my problem going into the ride or not. . . We met at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus in Novato at 830-- and it was immediately into the pool. Because the workout wasn't written down, I'm not sure how far I went-- although I think it was about 2300 yards and it included a 10 minute time trial-- something I'd not done before. After the swim, which didn't feel so great, it was off on the bike. Or it should have been-- one of the things that has annoyed me all season this time is the amount of time that it takes to get moving. . . So 40 minutes later we were finally starting on the bike. Good grief. The first part of the ride was though Novato-- no really, downtown Novato. Must have stopped at 5 traffic lights AND 4 stop signs before finally reaching some open road. The clock was ticking. I had promised John that I would be home by 230 since 1) he'd let me run a 1/2 marathon the day before AND 2) he had to get some work done. It was already about 11 when I pulled up to the water stop and filled up my aero bottle. I've got to admit-- up to this point I was both feeling great and feeling terrible. There was a huge headwind, so I was taking serious advantage of my aero position. I was riding pretty strong-- not the last person out on the course and my legs felt pretty good too. Where then was the problem? I HAD TO PEE. Not just a little. . . A LOT! and let me tell you, there is no more uncomfortable position than the aero position when you have a full bladder. Each pedal stroke jostles your bladder. . . each bump-- excruciating. So, I was pretty uncomfortable. There was no where-- Sandy, not even you would have been able to find a place-- to pull over and squat. Even when I reached the water stop there was no where to find relief. I was so uncomfortable I started ignoring my "nutrition" bells on my Garmin. (probably not a good idea). So, when I finally found a somewhat secluded spot I basically dropped my bike and found sweet relief. . . . After that I was basically rocking and rolling. Legs felt good. . . body was starting to recover. . . I was starting to get rolling again. It was, however, getting late. I was getting worried that I wasn't going to make it home in time. Then I hit the bottom of the hill. Now, after 3 TNT season, countless triathlons, and the Tour of the East Bay Alps, I figured I'd seen them all-- but today they threw a new one at me. . . Marshall Wall-- yes, Wall. I had started up when I realized I had, yet another, problem. My right bar shifter was wobbly. It was turning left and right as I rode and, as it turned left and right, it stopped working until I could get it in line again. This made shifting up this hill a bit more complicated. Once I found granny (my favorite gear), I was good to go on the climb and started to make up some time on my teammates AND some nutrition. I was thinking about turning around at the top of the wall to make sure that I was home in time for my husband, and I bent down to grab a drink out of my bottle. There I met the factor that made up my mind for me. When I'd stopped to potty and unceremoniously dropped my bike on the ground, my entire water supply had spilled out as well. So, no water, no time, and a wonky shifter? I got to the top of Marshall Wall and turned myself around. I was 24 miles into the ride. The way home went pretty quickly. Feeling guilty for not doing the whole 65, I made myself stay in the big ring and hammer the hills. No GRANNY GEAR. My quads burned. My freight train breath made a reappearance but it was good. I hurt. I pushed hard. I felt really guilty. Cutting workouts short is not something I usually do. Was I making excuses? Could I have finished? (sure) Could I have finished in time to be home (or a reasonable closeness there to?) Was my bar shifter really that bad? (it rattled like crazy the entire way home. . . ) Am I a bad person for stopping early? Is ONLY riding 50 mile something to be ashamed of? The short answer is I don't know. I feel bad that I didn't do the whole 65. I am proud, however, that I hammered the final 25 and didn't take it easy. I'm not sure. Generally I'd say NO-- but it feels like I made a lot of excuses today for not finishing the workout and that really isn't like me. . . Anyone have any thoughts?

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