Saturday, I hit one of the major milestones for the Ironman. I rode my bike for 100 (.3!) miles outdoors.
All the things that saved my life on Saturday and one that didn’t help.
It was windy as shit all day. It was cold. There we mishaps and tantrums and we didn’t exactly pick the path of least resistance and it took pretty much from sun up to sun down (7h16m of actual cycling), but we did it.
We started out just before 8am, and spent a few hours doing Shoal Creek loop intervals on the TT bikes (12-13 if I remember correctly). It was low 40s and windy, so I had a base layer, a short sleeve jersey and sleeves, a long sleeve jersey, and a jacket on, not to mention two pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves, and my fleece lined long bibs and I was still definitely not warm. No layers were shed in the 2h45m/42 miles we rode. However, the win here was that I rode this long on my TT bike outside, spent a lot of time in aero, and felt more comfortable on Death Star than I ever have. If we were smart, we would have just kept going for 58 more miles there, but as you will see, we are not intelligent individuals.
We quickly stopped at home, I lost the long sleeve jersey but that still left THREE layers, and I spent the entire time we were home in my big sweatshirt over everything, pretty sure I would never feel warm again. Cycling in the winter is weird. In the same weather as I would be in short sleeves within a mile or two running, I couldn’t put on enough jerseys. Freaky.
The next leg involved a commute north to meet up with a group ride. This particular journey takes about 30 minutes on my cruiser bike, and we left ~35 mins before the ride, so we figured we’d be just fine. Well, not when you’re biking directly into the wind. We approached the meetup spot, and saw the group take off the other way. We tried to catch up… and then I got a flat. Like a serious one where a piece of glass made a pretty decent gash in my tire. I was about to sit down on the side of the road and throw a tantrum but I found my big girl pants just in time. I helped Zliten patch and change it (one of these days I’ll do it myself but we didn’t want to wait 30 minutes on me bumbling through it) and we rolled on.
The group ride was a ~36 mile ride on Jollyville to 360 to Bee Cave to the BSS store and back. While this probably means nothing to most of you, this route is a) actually riding on a busy freaking highway for about 8 miles and b) while it’s not the absolutely hilliest 36 mile route you can take in Austin, it’s not far removed from it. Oh, and c) 10 of these miles were primarily uphill and directly into the wind, when we were at about ~60 miles already into the day. I couldn’t get myself to eat during that period (struggling with fatigue and the wind, I was swerving just trying to get at my bottle for hydration), and I was bonking a bit. Thoughts on this stretch:
- I can just drop to the other 70.3 in Texas in April and then I never have to ride this long ever again.
- I should take up knitting instead.
- That ditch looks nice, I think I want to go lie down there.
- That’s a pretty lake, I kind of want to drive my bike into it.
Flashback to the first day I ever tried to ride 100 miles. I made it to 70. I felt like this. Can’t say I felt much different at certain points on Saturday…
So, that’s how *I* was doing. Cheerful Mr. Zliten was like “pretend it’s a false flat!” to which I grumbled about all the other pretending he could do. We saw our group leave the store just about when we got there, but I needed to replace my busted tube and spent C02 canister, plus lay on the ground for a bit and eat Reeses Mix and revive myself from the dead, so we committed to the trip back solo as well instead of immediately turning around and rolling back with them.
Between the calories and the break and the wind at our backs and the elevation generally going downward in a roundabout way (still up and down but longer downs and shorter ups), I perked up on the way back. It was still rough, but I had a better attitude about it, even if sometimes I’d be riding up a hill and I’d think “I ran a whole half marathon 6 days ago at a faster pace than I’m climbing this hill”, but the closer we got back to civilization, the better I felt.
Zliten tried to say “hey, let’s stop really quick and say hi to the group and then just finish things up” to which I said “PIZZA” with a pouty face. So, at mile 86, we stopped for about 30 mins and had a quick sit and chatted with the group and inhaled a small cheese pizza and then got back on the road.
The food saved my life (can I get a cheese pizza delivered hot to Ironman Texas bike special needs?) but was not setting well in Zliten’s stomach, so I pulled a lot of the of the last 14 miles (it was totally my turn anyway). We got in some extra miles by doing one more Shoal Creek lap on the way home. We both marveled that we had been on our bikes in the same spot about 9 hours ago starting the day and it seemed totally fitting to end there. We pulled into our driveway at 100.3 miles and crashed HARD. I had 8-ish hours of sleep that night and over 5 of those were deep sleep, and then I still took a 2 hour nap the next day after the arduous task of eating lunch.
Reflecting on this ride both makes me feel proud, accomplished, and closer to the goal of Ironman, and also terrified. This was hard. I mean, there were mitigating factors as to why this ride was probably harder than the ride on race day will be, but it was still REALLY FUCKING HARD. We talked about running a mile off the bike because we’re idiot triathletes and when we got home we were both like…. NOPE. The siren song of a warm shower and the couch and beer was too strong. In 12 weeks I’ll have to still run a marathon after riding this plus 12 miles. It also took over 7 hours. I’m really hoping that my whole ride will take less than 7 hours total and I have to add 12 more miles.
However, I have to remember that my first metric century, it took me 5 hours and 15 minutes I collapsed in a heap on the curb for a bit before I could actually function again. Two years later I did it in 3 hours and 45 minutes and then ran a few miles after. I could barely walk for days after my first 20 mile run and now I’ve done probably more of them than I can count on my fingers and toes and I’m generally able to function, if not run easy, the next day if need be. I still have 12 weeks to make 100 miles closer to the comfort zone.
This will be the last week of the trainer like evvvvryday. So, perhaps, my Instagram pictures will get a little more interesting. Maybe.
This week was sort of a 6 days of rest week, 1 day of OMG, which pushed my totals to 11.75 hours of training. Kind of not a rest week in terms of hours, but every other day besides Saturday was short and easy, so I feel like I’m ready to get back to some intensity. We’ll see if that holds true through the week, but for right now, I’m just trying to feed the beast and let it rock.
Jan 23-29 training:
- One 20 minute 1200m swim
- 2 Oiselle Dozen sessions
- About 10 hours of bikes, bikes, and more bikes
- I’m getting pretty good at this, but worth mentioning – stretched, rolled, or used the legs daily. Usually rolling. I’ve got a good routine down.
This week we’ll be a little more balanced. I’m trying to frontload the week with the efforts so I can rest up because I have a 6 hour looped bike race/ride/thing on Saturday and I’d like to put as close to 100 miles into the day as possible.
- One long run (2 hours/10 miles or more if we can) and one hour run, maybe another short run somewhere in here if there’s time
- 6 hour ride, one endurance rides video, and some commutes/easy spinning.
- One long swim (1 hour/3000m or more), one lunchtime swim
- 2 Oiselle dozen sessions, or the gym if we can make that happen one day
- Stretch, roll, legs – pick at least one every day.
My bike streak ends tomorrow. I can’t begin to express how much I think it’s helped me, but I also think that my ass really could use a break from being smashed against a bike seat once every 12-36 hours, and I’d like to drop a little bit of the weekday bike volume and replace it with some running and swimming. I haven’t had a full day off since December and I don’t *really* feel like I need one yet, but it’s nice to have the option.
I’ll talk more about February goals and my next block’s intentions later, but I’m going to call January’s bike focus a success.
What, don’t you all wear your bike kits with boots? (Tuesday in the life…)
And in the normal goal/progress/stuff… last week:
I did Chapter 13. This week, it’s Chapter 14. This week is a little longer and more involved so the goal is to finish but I may need to split this one into two weeks. After this, there’s only two more sections and then I can prepare for my test!
I did some social media stuff but I was busy and it was not as much as I would have liked. This week, I’m prioritizing the triathlon chapter, but if I can finish that, I’ll carve out some time also search out more peeps to follow and like and interact with.
I tracked my calories for 2211 average each day with -784 deficit. My ratios were 119g protein, 69g fat, 23g fiber, and 261g carbs per day. Again, I need to eat a little less fat, a little more carbs, which is always a challenge for me. Also – oddly enough, I was low on fiber. That never happens! I’ll have to watch that this week.
My average weight was 189.1, which is a gain of .1 lb. It was looking good for a little while (I was down to 187 and falling), and then I’ve gone up 4 lbs after the ride with rehydration and inflammation and all that jazz. However, this last week, my body fat measurements have dropped about 2-3% from the weeks previous, so that’s something! Still 9lbs to go back to 70.3 race weight. It’s going to be a hard fight while training, but I’ll keep chipping away at it.
I drank 12 beers. Tomorrow ends my beer only embargo but I think I’ll still count my drinks through IM training season just to stay accountable. I can’t wait to have some nice whiskey on the rocks or some french red wine though…
Rest and recovery and sleep are going well. Oddly enough, when you don’t drink like a fish and stay up late and prioritize recovery and eat (mostly) good food, you actually feel good. Who knew?
We followed through on the eye appointments and bike fits last week. I’d like to say we cleaned out the cars, but we didn’t. We had post work appointments every day after work except for Thursday, and over the weekend, the bike ride wiped us out more than expected and we were lucky to get through the normal chores yesterday, let alone anything on top of that. I’ll be honest, I don’t see it happening this week. I think I may need this week just to get through normal life without an extra to do.
And that I shall. Off to get through the rest of my Monday!