Monday, July 13, 2009

Growing Stronger or the Start of a Coup?

Ahhh, rest day. That's what today (Monday) was for me, and boy did I need it. I did get a couple of miles of running in, but they were easy and with my Soldiers during unit PT. It's a good thing it was just easy, because my body needed the rest and didn't feel like doing much else. This past weekend was probably my biggest training weekend EVER. I had a decent swim on Friday night, and then was up bright and early on Saturday for my first, all road miles 100 mile bike ride. I met Tanya at Ft. Hood around 6AM and we got started as soon as there was enough light to head out. We did the same 50 mile loop from the Tour d' Hood about 2 months ago. Coincidentally, all of the hills that were there two months ago were STILL THERE. Amazing isn't it. They still kicked my butt as well!! I told Tanya she won the polka dot jersey for the day (in the Tour 'de France that indicates the rider considered the "King of the Mountain") as she easily beat me up each hill. It was a tough 50 miles, but thankfully not incredibly hot. In fact, one of the biggest elements of nature that we had to deal with during those first 50 miles were COWS. Ft. Hood allows ranchers to allow cows to roam, and there were several times we had to stop to let them pass and several times we prayed one of the larger, more bull looking types wouldn't chase us! Thankfully, we were safe and didn't have any negative bovine experiences except for having to slow for them. After those first 50 miles we refilled our water bottles and then headed out towards Belton Lake. We had some wind and more heat by then, but it was somewhat of a tailwind on the way out and my legs actually felt pretty incredible and I was pushing some very good speed (21+mph) on the way out. Of course, that simply meant on the way back that we would hit more wind, and we did, but without the massive hills we were still feeling well. We got back to the car for another refill and Tanya headed out on her run while I headed back out to knock out 21 more miles of riding. I ended up getting 22+ more in and finished with 101.32 miles in 5 hours 43 mins for a 17.7 mph average. It took 3 hours to do the first 50 miles, and only 2:43 to do the last 50 miles! That's what hills will do!! I named my ride the "Hood Hot and Hilly Hundred." That evening I headed to Austin where I had to say goodbye (for now) to one of my dearest friends and recent Ironman, Blythe, as she heads out to a couple of Navy schools and then to the West Coast for her new assignment. Blythe is the reason I got into this crazy sport. Some days I'm not so sure whether I should thank her or rebuke her! (haha, just kidding--all thanks). She is a phenomenal Naval Officer and incredible friend. I will miss having her just an hour away. Thankfully, it's not the first time we've done the friendship from afar piece as the Army and Navy make sure we become trained on how to do that. However, going to Austin that night for the good-bye party meant I didn't get to bed early and therefore did not wake up early on Sunday. The church service on Sunday was going to be all kid focused, so I was a bad person and skipped to sleep in and run. I didn't start running until about 9AM, and that is not the best idea in Texas summers!! To make it worse, yours truly, decided she was tired of the same routes in the neighborhood and so she headed out onto the long run route, the long HILLY run. I'm a bright one, I know. So, off I went--feeling pretty decent, though definitely somewhat fatigued. I knocked out the first 7 miles on the hilly route and then stopped by the house to grab new bottles of water and spray myself down with the water hose. The last 7 miles were definitely more difficult, not in terrain, but simply because it is hot. I attempted to rationalize finishing the run short of the scheduled 14 miles, but thankfully I pushed through it and finished the run with an 8:53 min/mile average. Given the huge ride the day before, the late night bed time, the heat, and the hills, I'm pretty happy with the run. I had a 2200 meter swim later that evening, but it was nothing that beat me up too much--I don't think I had too much left in me to be beat! So, that was my weekend--nearly 8.5 hours of training, all as part of the Ironman journey.

One would think that after a weekend like this that sleep on Sunday night would be easy. I wanted to sleep, I needed to sleep, but I think my body has decided to stage a coup. I tossed and turned all night long, and definitely have some soreness today. When I initially started the run with Soldiers this morning, I was not sure my legs were going to work properly. However, they eventually got there...slowly, but functioning! The strength is growing, and that's important. The mental toughness is growing, and that's really important. Of course, Tanya and I are becoming better friends as we beat through Ironman training together--friends are REALLY necessary in this sport! Thanks Tanya!

Next weekend I'm riding another 100 miles, but this one is the Katy FLATLANDS Century. Is it insane that I'm HUGELY excited to ride 100 miles simply because they will be FLAT miles?!?! :)

This week's totals:
Swim: 8300.00 M 2h 55m 45s
Bike: 166.95 Mi 9h 16m 23s
Run: 33.65 Mi 4h 53m 05s