Sunday, July 6, 2008

Holiday wrap up

The past three days have been a little of everything. From crazy, to busy, to some of the hardest biking I have done, to just sitting around and doing nothing. All in all it has been an awesome holiday, just wish I could have run more.

Thursday night I got a grass fire call just as I got to sleep. Wednesday night was the same thing. Both ended up being wild goose chases, one where nothing was found and the other wasn't even in our district but in the City of Jacksonville.

The plan for Friday was to load the bikes and head over to watch the Firecracker 5k, then a bunch of us were going to the River Trail and bike 20-25 miles. The Firecracker is a big race with over 1000 people running and also elite runners, because the winner gets cash money. I raced this one last year and had a PR but with my foot hurting I didn't want to chance it, plus it's not going to get me anything but a t-shirt and probably some pain. So I hung around the finish line and took pictures. That was cool getting to watch the winners finish.

After the race was over Annette, Gary, Curtis, Bailey, Rock, and Jane all headed to meet up at the River Trail. Even if you want an easy ride, when you ride with Gary and Curtis, your going to get some work in. Today was no different. Gary had to leave early so he didn't get to ride much with us. Jane left a little later also. Later in the ride Curtis took us out by the soccer fields and up the big hill going to the main park area and across the freeway. This was a very hilly route, which seems to be the best way to train on the bike for strength and speed. The good thing about an up hill climb is that there is usually a nice downhill. It was a good ride and I ended up with 20.2 miles for the day and a 15mph + average which isn't bad for being on the River Trail. Its not a place you can maintain a steady speed because of all the runners, walkers and other bikers.

Annette had an 18 mile training run on her agenda for Saturday and my plan was to meet Gary, Curtis and some others at Lake Beaverfork for Ironman training. Several were going to swim and then we were all going to bike 1.5-5 hours depending on what you wanted. Both of us needed to get up like at 3:30am and drive to our training places. After the night I had with the guy running into the fire station I was tempted not to even go. In fact, I didn't even get home until 3am. So I set the clock for 3:40 and thought I might get an extra 30 minutes sleep. Well, I ended up with maybe 15 minutes, giving me a total sleep time for the night of maybe 2 hours. And I wanted to ride 75 miles???

Well, somehow I dragged myself to Lake Beaverfork. I got there earlier than I had wanted so I had to wait on the others to get done swimming. We had a great group which consisted of Gary, Curtis, Rock, James (Iron James), Lisa F.(Tri Lisa), Cindy C. and Russ. James and Lisa had both just completed Ironman CDA, with Gary training for Ironman Louisville. Everyone else except Rock and I have done Sprint Tri's. Well, I don't do good on the swim so I decided that I was sticking to what I do best and that is bike. And with this group, you better be able to do at least a 17mph average on the flats. Well, this route had no flats, but there were plenty of hard climbs.

We left Beverfork and headed north towards Wooster. Curtis and Gary led the charge with me in third position. James and Russ followed then the girls. We quickly lost the girls it seemed, it was very foggy and it was almost like riding in a mist. My sunglasses quickly became wet and almost unusable. I would have to wipe them off every few minutes with my glove or finger. This was not fun. We went out pretty fast. First 10 miles we averaged over 18mph and this was on hills. There were several that we would slow to about 9 mph on but none overly hard. After about 7 miles or so, Curtis turned back to check on the ladies. We continued pressing on. We passed a couple intersections and kept going straight. Then all of a sudden here comes Curtis, flying up to catch us. He said we were supposed to turn back at the last intersection and the girls had already turned. Now it was hammer time. We had to catch them. They probably had a 2 mile lead on us at least. And none of these girls were slow. In fact, they all could hang with any of us all day long.

The next 10 miles held more smaller climbs and one major downhill as we rolled into Greenbrier. The hill going up to this one was pretty long, maybe a mile climb. Then we hit the downhill. Oh my god......this was the perfect downhill. Nice smooth road. Small curve. I hit 41.6mph going down. I'd have to say it was a blast! Lisa said she hit 42mph and that was the fastest she had ever been on a bike. Well for her to say that really meant something because she has been biking and doing triathlons for the past 8+ years. It was the fastest I had ever been on the bike also. We took a quick break in Greenbrier to regroup. Everyone but Gary, Curtis and myself was going to call it quits once we got back to the lake. So we reversed our route and headed back the way we came. I was not looking forward to the uphill that I knew was coming.

When we started the climb I told myself just take your time, don't try to keep up with anyone, just keep moving forward and that's what I did. I knew that if you tried to push hard up it you would be using up all that energy that could be used later. Why waste it? Just to be first over the mountain? Well, if I hadn't planned on 75 miles I might have done it but I knew I had to stretch my energy. It took us a while to get up the hill. I never got winded or felt like I wanted to stop but it was extremely hard. My quads were burning like never before. This hill was not as bad as Degray but would compare to River Mountain but a little longer and harder. I think I was last over the top, but I didn't care. I probably felt better than some of the others. Then we had a downhill and I made up for lost ground. While some of the others were resting going down, I pedaled and flew past them. It felt pretty good at that point. The past 10 miles put me at an average pace of 15 mph with several of the miles being like 9mph due to the extreme hills.

The reverse route back seemed worse and the climbs seemed bigger going back. I guess we had more downhills going than I thought. We hammered pretty hard on the way back. I had a 17.2 mph average for the next 10 miles which put us back at the park. We said our goodbyes to the others and Gary, Curtis and I took off for more.

Curtis took us out a different route this time. We headed east on the north side of Beverfork with plans to ride to Vilonia. Curtis said this was pretty flat and not as many hills as the other. Ha....don't ever believe that! It was all rolling hills. Most were not as bad but we did have some good climbs. We slowed down a little at first. I think the boys were tired. Later they both admitted that they went out way too fast on the first part. I felt pretty good because I was hanging right with them. There was no drafting today either. We were using all muscle. We made it all the way to Hwy 36 before it being my turn around time. Curtis and Gary decided they would cut their ride short too. The hills had to count for extra miles. We did have one more major climb going back. It was one of those short and steep ones. I used the same climbing plan I had and it worked, even though the guys left me in the dust. It seems I can hang with them pretty easy in the flats but they take me on the hills. Watch out though because I am getting stronger!

After the last climb Gary and Curtis took off. I tried to catch them but they were really flying. I would look down and I would be going 22-23mph, maybe gaining a little but not much. I figured Curtis was trying to make Gary Those brothers do that to each other some times. This last leg of our ride I had right at a 16mph average.

When we got back to the park, all Curtis wanted to do was go sit in the lake. Gary still had to run. He said he was just going to run as long as he could. Evidently the bike really took it out of him as he only did 6 miles. It was pretty hot by that time. Probably close to 90 degrees. I was soaked from head to toe but felt good. I had drank probably 2 full bottles of accelerade mix and ate one gel and some pretzels. Probably not enough for the effort we put out. I ended up with 55 miles for the day with an average pace of 16 mph. 3168 calories were burnt and my average heart rate was 154 and a max of 176. Not a bad workout!! It was a great ride and great training. Best of all, I found out that I don't suck on the bike! Gary and Curtis kept saying how good I did keeping up with them so that meant a lot. Especially since Curtis is probably one of the top 20 bikers in the state. If you want to get faster, ride with fast people.

Sunday was my rest day sort of. Mainly trying to catch up on sleep so I slept till almost 9am. Wow, haven't done that in a while. Did some mowing then a storm came through messing up my other plans. I did get about a 40 minute swim/water running workout in the pool. Later I wanted to run so bad that I did an experiment. I ran without socks. Dumb move but it was interesting. I wore my Saucony Hurricane 9's that I haven't used in ages. My feet felt really good at first. I had NO heel pain at all. The saucony's felt like boat anchors though but I guess the extra stability and cushioning made a difference. I was about a mile into my run when I started feeling the shoes rubbing my heels. I knew it was time to quit. I did get 1.3 miles in and yes, I did get blisters on my heels. Dumb. But I wanted to see if my heel felt better not wearing socks and it did actually, if I didn't get the blisters. Not sure what that means. Maybe it was the shoes. Maybe it was not running all week. Either way, for 1.3 miles my heel felt great. I don't know how people run without socks though.


Cheryl said...

Great recap, you do a great job of telling about your training runs/biking, keeps the reader engaged. I always enjoy reading your blog!

Arland said...

Thanks Cheryl! Sometimes I think its too long, but most of the time I still can't get it all across.