Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hot, Windy, Hard, Perfect

I dont like to suffer, I just like the endorphin fueled sense of accomplishment that I feel after.

Midland has no hills, my elevation chart is consistanly flat as a pancake, the only bump when I go to "The Hill" (more like a speed bump) in Midland and power up it.  The closest thing we have is wind, now since there is a canyon involved in IMBS 70.3, I was hoping for a whole lot of wind this morning.  Last year it was in the triple digits for the race as well, heat we have.  I usually start out earlier, but wanted to run in the heat of the day to simulate race day if conditions are like last year.

So today was 20-25mph winds, starting temp of 75, up to 88 at the end of the run.  That'll work.

The workout was intervals at 95-100% of lactic threshold heart rate (the point where your legs and lungs burn, only sustainable for an hour at 100%).  Over a 2:45 ride, followed by a 3 mile run to complete the brick. 

I was determined to go out there and push, I was excited about it, I want to see what I can do.  4 mile warm up where I was already mashing gears into the wind, and it was time to go.  The IMBS course starts with a huge hill, so into the wind I went into a gear that I could just push.  My legs were burning, it was 20 minutes into the ride.  After a 2 min recovery, back hard on the pedals.  I spent the first 12 miles in my first gear, just barely able to keep my candence above 70 rpm.  HR averaging near 100% of LTHR, it burned.  Looking at the road ahead was rough, barely keeping 12mph it felt like I was in slow motion and the next overpass never got any closer. 

This is exaclty what I need, easy doesnt do me any good, hard will make my quads respond, become solid and strong. 

I fell into a rhythm, focussing on the 4 corners of my pedal stroke, the pressure of my feet on the pedals.  Feeling the muscles in my legs and glutes contracting and releasing working in unsion. 

An out and back route rewarded me with the wind at my back, speed felt effortless, so I had to go faster until my HR creeped back into max.  The hard part was turning around back into the wind for another loop.  It really started heating up and I ditched my top to finish in a sports bra, fyi drivers notice you more and give you more room if you're in a sports bra.  I'm sure you would get even more regard if your a guy in a sports bra :p

I ended up getting a little turned around on the way back, I ran out of water about a half hour before the end which came back to get me later.  I had planned on looping near home to get a planted water bottle because I knew I would be low by then.

The run:

Running off the bike is bizarre, my legs want to keep going faster with what felt like no effort...but my lungs couldnt keep up.  I had to keep slowing myself down, legs itching to increase their turnover but the cardio system wasnt ready to perform at the same level.  After having my heartrate so high for so long it didnt have it left to give.  I chugged some water before I started running, but I dont think it was enough.  I started to feel punch drunk, forgetting to focus on my legs to discover I was going a minute per mile faster than I should be, realizing it too late when my breath started coming in gasps. 

The first lap hurt, I had two more.  Gasping, HR soaring, legs were the only thing that wanted to keep going.  It was exactly what I needed. 

Lesson learned, stay hydrated, keep pace on target, dont speed up no matter how good legs feel.  Thankfully there was no ill effect from all that I ate on the bike, and my legs obviously had tons to go on.

Now I know the idea that 3 miles was so hard after, when I would have an additional 10 in the race should be a negative.  The difference is I wont be racing at over 95% of LTHR on the bike, and I wont have had a 14.5 hour week of built up fatigue.   

This was the hardest thing I have done so far, I was suffering.  Usually after my workouts I bounce into the house still brimming with energy.  This time I was dripping in sweat, I couldnt talk because I was still gasping, I felt drunk, I felt nauseous, I had nothing left, but I was right where I need to be.

My body amazes me, I felt broken down physically (mentally I was soaring), but 10 minutes later I was back.  I felt great, I felt as if I hadnt done the workout.  I have never worked so hard, yet minutes later I was having trouble sitting still.  I got this.

What I discovered on this brick:

1) That rhythm is golden, falling out of it makes everything feel hard.  While connecting with the sensation of the movment of my muscles to complete the pedal stroke makes the hard feel strong.

2) Keep my head down, even though I will be missing the exciting west texas view of tumbleweeds and red dirt, sacrifices must be made.  I had trouble with that racing motorcycles too.

3) Sunscreen is your friend.  My back is now near purple red it is so sunburned...the plight of a redhead.  I put on sunscreen before I ran but the damage was done

4) I can eat a lot on the bike, I ended up averaging 275 calories per hour on the bike and I was starting to get hungry near the end.  I will keep trying to see what my calorie limit is before it negatively affects the run.

5) Make sure you know where your going before you run out of water.  It makes running hard later.  HYDRATE! 

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