Monday, November 7, 2011

I'll See Your Brick, and Raise You a Brick!

Last week, I wrote about the long brick that my wife and I did. It was 80 miles on the bike and 16 on foot. That was small potatoes compared to yesterday's session: 2000y of swimming, 80 miles of cycling, and 20 miles of running. As if it wasn't hard enough, we decided to ride on a hilly course and to run on hilly trails. It was TOUGH.

It went really well, though! I managed to remain strong throughout the bike, and I even pushed it in the second half. I was about 25 watts higher on the return trip, and all of my bests from 2:00 up were in the second half of the ride. I also ran solidly--right around 7:00 pace, not including the pit stops. The only problem I had was not drinking enough on the bike. The store where I stopped around halfway was not very well-stocked. They said that they had gone deer hunting a couple of weeks ago and left someone else in charge, and that someone else had evidently not locked up or hosted a party or something. Their shelves were nearly empty.

What this meant was that I was a bit dehydrated on the run, which in turn meant that I drank a bit more than I should have at a couple of stops. Continuing on, that meant that I got some small cramps on the run. They weren't so bad that I had to slow down, but they were bad enough to keep me from pushing the pace (had I wanted to do that--I didn't, but I will want to in Cozumel, I'm sure). It's amazing how issues in long training days or ultra-distance races manifest themselves. The store where I stopped on my bike was empty, so I got cramps on the run about four hours later. Crazy.

Also, paradoxically, I had to use the bathroom more than I would have liked. Once the workout started, I stopped four times to go. All told, that's probably two to three minutes in stopped time. I'm hoping that since it will be a little warmer in Cozumel, that won't be an issue, but we'll see. I'd hate to see a KQ spot slip away because I had to wait in line at a port-a-potty.

Somewhere around 13 miles on the run, my body went into "auto-pilot mode." I didn't quite feel connected to it anymore. I wasn't pushing and I wasn't holding back; it was kinda doing it's own thing. I found myself imagining my brain as a captain on a ship: "All hands on deck! He's STILL running! Everyone focus on the run!" I felt as if all of my body's functions became dedicated to finishing this run. Anything else that might take energy--like thinking, for example--was put aside. Nonetheless, I didn't slow down. I took a split from 5-7 and from 15-17, and they were within ten seconds of each other, despite the fact that miles 7 and 17 were brutally uphill. I kept hearing the line from Rocky IV in my head where the trainer tells Rocky something like, "No stopping now! All your strength, all your love, all your power, everything you've got! No pain! No pain!" And then, of course, a battered Rocky goes out there and drops Ivan Drago. Here's the clip:

My wife and I will have to bring our Rocky movies with us to Cozumel.

Of course, this massive training day also helped me learn a few more good things ahead of Cozumel. There were small things--like to pack a paper towel in my T2 bag to clean my sunglasses--and big things--like my nutrition plan for the run. I feel like all of the details are falling into place.

We leave for Cozumel two weeks from tomorrow. That's hardly believable. Between now and then, I have a few more big workouts. I have four long swims of 4000-4500 yards this week and next. A run or ride of comparable distance would not bother me, but swimming takes a lot of physical and mental energy for me. And next weekend, I have a long swim/bike brick (that I asked for) on Saturday, and a twenty-two mile run on Sunday. One more swim lesson, two more massages, two more trips to the chiropractor, and that's it. The race is in sight.

Oh, yeah, and I have to defend my dissertation--the last step in an eight-year Ph.D. process. But let's not let that distract us from the important things.

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