Saturday morning brought warm (turning to hot) humid temperatures as Lisa and I headed out for our sweat-fest. This run would push me up over 50 run miles on the week, and I lost some sleep due to a sick Caitlyn, so I knew it was probably going to require some digging deep to get this one done. Luckily I was running with someone who's the best at doubling a therapy session with a training session!
Lisa had graciously set out water at miles 10 and 15 (thank you!), so we wouldn't run out of fuel. At the mile 10 stop to refuel, I had to sit down. The heat had gotten to us, and I started feeling dizzy. Knowing we were only halfway there made me want to just sit and cry. The goal then became to just make it to the mile 15 water stop. Lots of gels, water, and a Gatorade powered us to mile 15, where I realized I needed something sugary and bubbly to settle my stomach. We happened to be running through a school campus, and I flagged down a girl on a bike (who's name happened to be Lisa - what are the odds?!?). $1.25 later, and bottles filled with sugary goodness, and we gutted out the last 5 miles. We finished nauseous, dizzy, and hot - but with the reward of a Garmin which read "20".
Time to switch gears - I had to take my beaten down body and start to rest/recover/fuel for my Sunday ride, which would be the longest ride of my (short) cycling life. Trying to get down food is always a struggle for me post long runs, but I put in whatever my body would accept. I drank tons of water, and also managed an hour power nap in the afternoon. To bed early, I had a 530am alarm Sunday morning.
Small tangent here - holy crap does it take a lot of preparation for a long ride!!! I'm used to lacing up my shoes, grabbing some gels, and heading out. Notsomuch. One of the benefits of having a cyclist boyfriend is the knowledge of every last thing I needed, so that made it all more manageable (thanks Phil!). He had also pimped out my bike with a new saddle, aero bottle, a bento box, and another little thinger to hold stuff in the event I flatted on the ride. Yikes. My head was spinning before I even got ON my bike!
I was fortunate enough Sunday to be riding with Sara, who has been racing triathlon for 10+ years, and is a very knowledgeable cyclist. She proved to be a lifesaver, providing me tips and tricks throughout the ride. We set out (another hot/humid day of course!) with our bikes full of Gatorade, Clif/Powerbars, and salt tablets, ready to tackle the Pumpkinman course. The goal was clear - prove that I could make it 56 miles. My longest ride to date was 50 miles.
Holy hills. Call me a skirt, a sally, a wuss - I'm really okay with it. The course was beautiful, and cars were sparse, but it was NOT easy. We had our directions written on an index card, saw other cyclists out on the course, and cruised along for awhile. Sara kept reminding me when/how much to take nutrition, on my gearing, and how to make the ride as manageable as possible. My legs were feeling the 20-miler the day before, but I was focused on the goal. There was a job to be done.
Coming into the last 10 mile stretch, I was feeling so proud of myself. Rockstar status actually. Then we (unknowingly) took a wrong turn. We saw a woman down the road who had flatted, and asked her where we were. She mentioned we had about 10 miles to go, but gave us directions back to the start. Mostly uphill. Awesome. Then as we're about to get going again, Sara flats out. We're hot, tired, sore, and we had passed 56 miles on the Garmin a few miles back. We look at each other, and without saying a word, got on our bikes and started to pedal. No words exchanged, just the sound of our bikes and the road. We were digging deep. And I stopped looking at the Garmin. Just get me home.
As we pulled up next to the car, I stop my watch. 72.35 miles. On top of my 20 miler yesterday. Man, I'm awes....wait a second.. Sara, WHY ARE YOU PUTTING ON RUNNING SHOES?? No, no, no - I am NOT running. No, I will not. My quads, calves, IT bands all threaten to blow up if I so much as LOOK at my running shoes. And then as if I couldn't control myself, I did it. Like ripping off a band-aid. Helmet and shoes (gingerly) off, visor and running shoes on.
Now, I hesitate to classify what I did as a "run", but I moved in the forward direction for 1 mile, and then turned around and came back. Suffice it to say, it was not pretty. And I chose not to think about the other 11 miles I'd have to cover on race day. Wise decision. We hopped in the car, reveled in our accomplishments, and headed back home. You better believe that I topped off that training weekend with sangria and a piece of cheesecake last night. It was glorious.
So here I am, one day after my own weekend of 94.35 miles. I learned a lot about myself this weekend. I am so incredibly thankful for the ability to train hard - I know not everyone is afforded this opportunity, and I never ever take it for granted.