Had an interesting conversation with Booher and Lapuente while we were on our 17-mile journey around and around Town Lake (or Lady Bird Lake for the perfectionists) yesterday...It was all about motivation as the training hours get longer and longer while the temperatures get hotter and hotter.
Even though we've been officially training for Ironman Coeur D'Alene since January, this was the first of many "you gotta be kidding me" training weekends complete with an 80+ mile ride on Saturday with a brick off the bike followed by a 17 mile run on Sunday.
This was the first of many weekends that finds many people, particularly those who are training for their first Ironman, to wonder, "What the hell was I thinking when I gave Active.com $550 of my hard-earned money for this torture?!"
Even I continually ask myself, "Why am I doing this again?!"
100 Mile Bike Ride/4 Mile Run
I asked myself that on Saturday as Shawn and I headed out to Johnson City for our 100 mile bike ride. Yep, we were overachievers this weekend and did out first century ride because we'll be out of town next weekend in California. (Just call us "The Toppers.") I absolutely love this 36.5 mile loop that starts and ends at the LBJ Ranch...country roads, very little traffic, scenic, hilly and perfect for a long training ride. My first loop was pathetic...legs not firing...gotta figure out the leg pain issue. Seriously wanted to quit. Shawn was up ahead having a good ride. I was not...had to consult the map a couple of times just to make sure I was turning the right way. My second loop was much better after taking some Endurolyte salt tabs...Ah--perhaps I operate on a sodium deficiency and I need more salt intake (mental note #1: explore this possibility). I really don't eat or crave a lot of salty foods, but I felt 100 times better on that second loop and was finally getting some legitimate leg turnover with no cramping. The third loop is a minor variation of the first two and once that odometer hit 100 miles, I pretty much stopped pedaling...Took an assessment of my body and mind. I was feeling about 80%. I had packed enough Perpetuum, but didn't drink it all. (mental note #2: finish your allotted calories) However, I was so happy for my endurance level on this ride and lack of mental fatigue. We first rode this course about 3 years ago and barely...and I mean...BARELY finished one loop. It was all we could do...and here I had just finished the loop virtually 3 times and still had some gas in the tank. Granted, I only averaged like 16 mph, but I'm training at an Ironman pace right now. I had some pickups above race pace and some hill climbs well below race pace. Overall, if I can average close to 17 mph at CDA, I'll be thrilled because it will give me the energy for a good marathon. (and I know my strengths). Plus, I had to stop and take some pictures along the way, because that's what life is really about...stopping to appreciate the moment.
I have a secret obsession with old cemeteries
The gates to one of the many ranches along the course
The beautiful Pedernales River along the way
I quickly packed the bike in the car and started my 4 mile run. As I was running, Shawn was coming in from his ride and we were both so happy to be done that we each gave a big, "WOO HOO" to each other. My run stride felt great and solid...quick turnover...ended at an 8:20 pace for the four miles.
We celebrated our major accomplishment by heading down to Becker Vineyards and opening a bottle of wine with our late afternoon picnic we had packed. Ironically, a wedding was taking place so we toasted to the new couple...
Wedding Ceremony in the background with a much-deserved glass of vino
17 Mile Run
Met up with the T3 run group on Sunday morning after very little sleep the night before. Believe it or not, Shawn and I showered when we got home and then headed out about 10pm that night to go to the Perez Hilton.com SXSW Music Showcase. It was our one moment to feel "normal," although our version of feeling "normal" was drinking water and secretly bragging that we're probably the only two people at this party who had cycled 100 miles that day and had to be up early to run 17. (Again, just call us "The Toppers") Even Kanye West and the Indigo Girls (who were there) couldn't lay claim to that.
My goal was to pace with "the boys" and, by "the boys," I meant hanging with Booher and Logan as long as possible. They had said earlier in the week that they wanted to average around 8:00s to 8:15s and I thought that was doable for me. Lapuente and I started with the group and Booher was kind enough to hold back even though I'm sure he could've easily been with all of the other testosterone. Logan shot out of the cannon, but he hung with us on the second 7-miles after making a trip to the can... First 7 miles averaged 8:09, a little faster than we had promised (as usual). I hung back a bit with Michelle on the second 7 miles and just tried to keep her (and myself perhaps) positive. We all know that the body will perform for days, but when the mind shuts down and the negative talk starts, it's all over. I tried to pick it up for the last 3 mile loop and averaged 8:07s for the 17 mile run...I felt great cardio-wise, but I'm having serious issues with my right leg...pain followed by numbness when I run hills or try to pick up the pace. That long run was the worst it's been even though I hung in with the pace (mental note #3: get that checked out ASAP).
So, there it was...my first really long training weekend of this season and it was solid and successful. So why am I doing this again?? You know...I'm not sure really because there is no black and white, well-defined trophy at the end. There's no money earned or accolades from adoring fans. My reasons are endless and few all at the same time. I'm doing it because at the end of a long day (even when I've bitched and moaned about being tired and sore and cranky), I'm just plain HAPPY. (mental note #4: If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad).
FYI--meeting my old idol Debbie Gibson last week at SXSW also makes me happy