The muscle memory came back into my legs about 4days after the race. I wasn't able to run with the comfort and what is considered finesse (for me) that I usually do, however, it was running and I was thrilled! I have logged three runs since then, with today being the best so far. I finally feel fast again. :) Woohoo!
Knowing that I have a full marathon base to go off of for the 1/2 Ironman next month my focus has now shifted to cycling. I love to ride & it gives those running muscles some more time to repair.
So, yesterday morning I set out on an adventure to tackle 50miles of very hilly country roads w/ Tangerine. Since I am relatively new to this type of cycling it was the longest distance I had set out to cover. Just the idea of it was exciting.
Leaving Fargo the weather was perfect, the temps were sitting comfortably in the 60's and the wind was a gentle 8mph. It is a 35mile car ride to the site I park & unload the bike so for those 35miles I had my usual moments of zoning out, going through my mental checklist of what gear to put on & what to put into my jersey pockets followed by checking the speedometer. It wasn't until I was just about to take my exit off of interstate that I realize the wind had started to pull the car.
Unless you are one of those beautifully ambitious people that desire to train in harsh winds, this is not a good sign. In order for my car to get tugged at as it was I knew the wind had to be a steady 25-30mph with a few 35ish mph gusts. Joy.
While this inevitably put a damper on my desire to meet a time goal, it did not snuff out the drive to embrace this adventure. Yes, the wind might kick my arse, but I was still going to try it.
Fueling for a HIM is very much uncharted territory. I had ideas of how I thought I would fuel on the bike, but such ideals had not been tested as my cycling mileage up until this point was split between commutes to the gym, time on the trainer w/ a swim in between & the commuting home again. Not exactly optimal testing grounds, but I had managed to grow quite fond of HEED. Yesterday was my chance to test these ideals out.
Perhaps it's the fact that I'm polish, left-handed and somewhat dyslexic that I have difficulties with two bottle cages being mounted on my bicycle or perhaps it's my noob status as a cyclist. Either way, I had a plan. One bottle of HEED on the bike, one bottle of Perpetuem in the jersey pocket. Also in the jersey pockets were a Hammer bar, Gel flask, Cellphone & $5 in case I needed more water at the only gas station along the loop.
Fargo tends to be fairly windy, but the amount of wind blocked by office buildings & homes is notable when you realize the lack of it on country roads lined with empty fields and endowed with a tumultuous crosswind. I had many conversations with My God yesterday, this section of road was just the start, "Lord, please help me stay upright."
With a watch mounted on my bicycle I kept a mental note not of the total time, but of each 15min lapsed. The plan was to fuel every 15-20 minutes. And I'm stoked to say the plan was spot on & worked wonderfully.
There are times when the weather conditions I train in seem so obnoxious it's funny. As I turned into the one portion of the route that was directly into the wind it was one of those. If I didn't know any better I would have thought I could have been blown backward had I stopped pedaling at any point. It was so tiring, but the idea of how fast I would be going on the way back kept me going.
Eventually I got myself out of the headwind & onto the part of the route I love/hate. A slight downhill before Everest. Trying to savor every once of momentum of that slight downhill & getting into the proper gear for the climb ahead is always a huge challenge. Everything was going great until *tink, clunk, ching* and zero resistance in my pedals. These are sounds I do not long to hear. What do they mean? Your chain has just derailed.
I heard this sound twice yesterday, both at the most inopportune times. But each time I was able to flip the bike over, put the chain back on & continue riding. And each time, even with the kerfuffles I was able to climb Everest.
The rest of the ride was a blast, well fueled, well geared. There were sections of downhill I was going so fast it actually made me a little nervous, the first loop I tapped the brake a little bit & the second I just enjoyed it for all it was worth.
We as people live so much of our lives driven by fear. Yes, there is always that tipping point where a lack of fear becomes reckless, but for me half of an adventure is the fear of what lies ahead, what could happen & what you feel when you have concurred.
I concurred those 50mi. yesterday. Moments of it were beautiful & moments of it were ugly, but I made it and have an itch to push myself further and faster. Just hopefully with less wind and no chain derailments next time! :)
T-minus 23days now until 70.3 I bounce back and forth between feeling prepared or not. Now I know what I'll need for gear & fuel on the bike. It's just a matter of testing my legs to see how the swim/bike/run all fit together. I see more bricks in the near future. It should be good.