It’s four weeks to IronMan Florida and I am ready. It won’t be fast or pretty, I will struggle especially in the marathon, but I am ready even for that. And though I still have one more crazy training weekend focused on the run, I am done with the long bike rides. This past weekend took care of that: 80 miles on Friday, and 120 on Saturday.
Given my time constraints, rampant fears, and lack of company, I doubted I would get it done. But low and behold I did.
I rode the first 80 miles (well, in truth it was 75.15) at the Ultrabikex Computrainer Studio where I started with plenty of company, but after two hours I was on my own. It was a Zone Two ride with a high cadence and low power. I had to spare my legs for Saturday.
I rode the 120 miles with Joey, my alfa wolf who leads the Wolfpack team. I told him I was having issues finding someone to ride the whole distance with me and he volunteered. I was very touched given that he has no need to be doing that workout, and has a family that waits for him to get home. I was also nervous because he is one of the strongest riders I know and well, though not a beginner, I am nowhere near his ability.
Before starting I sent him this post, so he knew who he was dealing with. We had agreed that if we needed to turn around before 60 miles were complete because of timing we would. We also agreed we stop at every stop sign, red light, and follow my pace whatever that was. I don’t think I ever had a ride with anyone as agreeable; but I was still nervous because it was Joey after all, and his definition of “easy pace” is entirely different.
I was concerned about riding in the dark, so we decided to leave later than he would’ve liked. After five minutes of riding and chatting, I was already afraid I was going too hard on the warm-up! Fortunately we found a strategy that worked. He volunteered to pace me at 18 – 20mph and I would be drafting behind. It’s still a great workout for me, but I would be able to go faster than I would on my own. He rode in front, on his small ring, the THE ENTIRE 120 miles while I clung to the back of his wheel for dear life. It was the fastest century split I’ve ever had!
But the ride wasn’t without trouble. At mile 43 we passed the last Starbucks in civilization before we headed into the Everglades. In my mind we weren’t going to do 120 so I thought we could keep going 7 miles to 50, turnaround and stop there on the way back. The 50-mile mark came right at the entrance of the Everglades National Park which was closed due to the government shutdown (don’t get me started). We decided to ride inside; no one was there to stop us anyway!
The park was beautiful and desolate, and I even told Joey “the chances of our riding again in the Everglades without one car or person is sight ever again is slim to none. Enjoy it.”
Soon after reason started settling in. The road got very bumpy, I realized I was almost out of water, the few spots I knew existed to refuel were closed, and it started getting to me. When we stopped to take this picture at mile 60, I told Joey we should probably get out of there … if there were crocodiles, panthers or anything else, no one was there to help us.
And that is when I began to fade. I took a gel but it was not kicking in. Joey gave me one of his water bottles (which had some electrolyte/salt mixture that made me even thirstier), but by mile 70 we were moving at snail’s pace. Joey was very patient and encouraging. My legs didn’t hurt, but they just wouldn’t move. Starbucks was still another 10 miles and my thoughts focused on guilt. I was keeping Joey from his family because I couldn’t keep up the pace. I devised a plan to free Joey from my burden so when we reached Starbucks and Joey went inside to buy food, I called my hubby and asked him if he could pick me up when we got closer to Miami at around the 100 mile mark. I figured, without having to pace me, Joey could be his normal speed demon and get home quicker.
I didn’t count on Joey not being sold on the plan. He told me to eat, hydrate, and re-evaluate at the next landmark: Blackpoint Marina. I said okay, but I was NOT going to go past mile 100, and that is what got me on that bike again.
We hit the road, and miraculously my legs moved and I was able to keep up. It felt like we flew to Blackpoint where I refilled my water and listened to Joey when he said: “why don’t you call your hubby and tell him you will make it home. We’re going to do this.” And so I did.
There were three other landmarks between Blackpoint and my house, I begged myself to make it to the next one thinking if it got too bad, I could say F*** it and just stay there. I rode through each one, right on Joey’s wheel, all the way home.
Without a shadow of a doubt, there is NO WAY I would have done the workout without Joey. And for that I am truly grateful.
The week leading up to that epic ride was a bit off as I was fighting a cold and wanted to keep my energy. This is how it went:
Monday: SWIM One hour steady swim.
Tuesday: Double whammy: RUN 5 miles with 3 at tempo pace. STRENGTH: a lot of core work at Fitness Together
Wednesday: REST: My runny nose and sniffling got worst so I took the day off.
Thursday: STRENGTH: I told a very patient Andrea from Fitness Together absolutely no legs and nothing that will leave me too sore. Had a fantastic back and core workout that was just right.
Friday: BIKE – 80 miles at the Ultrabikex Computrainer Studio. Rode two loops of the IronMan Arizona course. RUN: 3 miles which felt remarkably good.
Saturday: BIKE – 120 miles with Wolfpack fearless leader Joey. EPIC.
Sunday: Funday around Coconut Grove with the family.
4 weeks to go …. How about you? How was your training week?