Against the wind (and the trains)

October 3, Day 234

Recent Personal Bests:

  1. Longest bike ride (6 hours, 103 miles)
  2. Longest workout (7 hours)
  3. Most mileage in a week: 163

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Into the dreaded taper we go.

Apparently it’s dreaded.  I’m sort of looking forward to not having to start a workout at 7:15am that I don’t finish until after 2:30pm.  Seems like a legit concern.  However, a lot of IM folks talk about an emotional rollercoaster between not exercising as much as you are used to and tension building up to the race.  I’ll see what it does for me.

Good week last week, although my leg still hasn’t healed fully.  It’s getting there.

Thursday’s 3 hour run was a little different, in that I started it after work.  That was actually a good thing because it got me out in the sunshine and afternoon heat like it will be during the actual event.  It was a 3 hour run which at the pace I am supposed to run at came in at 18.4 miles.  IM training has made everything slower, but that’s because this marathon is a little different than any other I’ve run.

Anyway, I was 14 miles in and headed on the home stretch when this happened:

That’s a train.  A train that is stopped and stretched as far as the eye can see.

Damn it.

I froze a few minutes wondering what the heck to do.  Climb under it?  Yeah, cause you know the moment I get there it will start moving.  Climb over the coupling?  Same issue.  Wait it out?  Every moment I do that cuts into the biggest run on my schedule.

Luckily I was able to run back another way and get picked up.  As far as I know, that train is still sitting there.

Friday night’s 4000m swim was great. Once again I felt fantastic other than the fact 77 minutes of swimming in a pool is mind-numbingly boring.  Physically though, I wasn’t even winded.

Of course, the big one was Sunday, a 6 hour bike ride with a 1 hour transition run.  It was the biggest workout on my schedule and my biggest one ever, really.  I was focused on doing a full century and still having legs to run 6 miles afterwards.  If I could do it, I knew I could do the IM.  See, that would basically account for the bike, I know I can crush the swim, and then if I still have energy to make a 10 minute mile?  Gold.  I  don’t even need to run the whole marathon.  If I have that much in the tank, I know I can cross the finish in 16 hours.

So, while I was nervous, I got out early with a little extra support from Scully:

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It had been threatening thunderstorms all week but happily those stayed away.  I enjoyed the cloud cover through most of the ride which kept it tolerable cool throughout.  All in all it was a perfect day for a ride.  Here are some shots of the Kansas hills I ride through.  You can kind of see the light level shift as I took short nutrition breaks throughout the ride.

Ah, nutrition.  Determined to follow advice and not get behind the calorie curve, and also to try things out before the race, I had an assortment of junk food to help me: gu energy gels, gatorade, honey stinger waffles, potato chips, cheetos, even a smuckers uncrustable.  Basically any calories I could get down and tolerate that would still be relatively portable.  I ate 2700 calories between breakfast, that stuff, and a recovery subway sandwich after I finished.

And I still needed another 2500 to break even.

The ride was tough because of only one factor: the wind.  It was 20-25 mph straight in my face coming back through the last 20 miles.  At one point it actually blew me over with a strong gust as I ate a snack.  Other than that I felt like I had plenty of energy.  I was able to plow through, which again gives me confidence for Louisville if I have to deal with wind.

When I got off the bike to run, I walked a good 100 feet then started to jog.  OMG that hurt for a bit.  My back was not happy after being on a bike that long to be upright and take the pounding of running.  Happily that worked itself out within a few minutes, otherwise I don’t think I could have run.

I had a route planned on a nice trail but ended up having to adjust that on the fly because of a downed tree.  What is up with blockages and me this week?  In any event, I ran the entire hour at my goal pace and could have continued.  I actually felt pretty OK afterwards although really tired.

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Riding home in the backseat with my legs out the window.

Now for the taper, and logistics to get my butt to Louisville.  I’ll try to blog more as I get closer, I’m sure I’ll have more to say as the event gets close.  But we are in the home stretch now.

Cheers!