This past weekend with the team was a monster one. And, last week at work was kind of a monster too. Not good leading up to a big weekend of training. Basically the week was super hectic and busy culminating in swim Thursday night (not getting in to bed until about 11pm) and then arriving at work by 5:15am on Friday and not getting home until after 6pm that night. Awesome. So, I was basically exhausted to start the very heavy training weekend.
Saturday up bright and early. When the alarm went off at 6am I was not a happy camper. But, I got myself up and moving and ready pretty quickly. I picked up my teammate Melissa and we headed out to Westlake Village (for those of you not from LA - its far, although much quicker to get to than our practices in Zuma Beach, so I am grateful for that) for practice that started at 8am. I had all my bottles prepped and I was ready to go. Not nervous at all, I was actually excited to get a good ride in. I decided to ride in tri shorts instead of my cycling shorts (which have thicker padding) because I don't want Wildflower to be the first time I ride that distance in tri shorts. (This was a good call, it wasn't bad, but it was different and is something to get used to.)
We got a course map the day before, and I feel like I remember at some point in the week hearing something about the course being flat with some hill climbing (only category 5's, which we've done a million times). Cool. We started with an out and back, ~13.5 miles out and then return to base camp, switch bottles if necessary then there was a big loop, getting us to about 57 miles total (if you're back before 5 hours you continue on and return at 5 hours). Even though it was misty and kind of damp I was feeling good. I did have to stop a couple of times to wipe off my sunglasses that were too covered in little droplets of water to see through. I got to the turnaround on Mulholland and was still feeling good.
On my way back, maybe about 3-4 miles from the turnaround I heard a loud pop and I knew that I had a flat tire. I had been trying to avoid the debris along the side of the road, there were lots of little rocks and dirt. But, apparently I missed one. It was my back tire, but I am sort of an expert at changing the back tire. Coach Brad rode by and asked if I was okay, I reassured him that I was fine, and if anyone could change the rear tire it was me. A lot of my teammates rode past me, all asked if I was okay, I said I was fine, cause I was, annoyed, but fine.
I was almost done changing the tube when I realized there was a rip in the tire. Seriously?!? Only about 18ish miles in and I was afraid I was done for the day. I knew that Rommel, a teammate on the mend from some back pain, and our roving SAG (support and gear) would be passing by, and within moments I saw his truck round the corner. I flagged him down and showed him the tire. He said not to worry, and grabbed an extra wheel out of the back of his truck. Holy what!?! He had a whole extra wheel, provided by the coaches for just such a situation. Sweet! Coach Jason came by then and told me to hurry up and get going again.
|A tear my finger can fit in. Not good.|
With the new wheel attached and my old ripped one in the back of Rommel's truck I set out again. I quickly stopped at home base and switched out two of my bottles. I had gotten back in under 2 hours of riding time (27 miles) but with the stop I had gone through two bottles (I kept drinking while dealing with the tire so as not fall behind on my nutrition situation). Then I set out for the looped portion of the course.
It was a beautiful ride, with not a lot of cars on the road. There was a hill that just about took me out part way through. Then, there was a big descent. I was really proud of myself for not riding the brakes the whole way down. I remembered not to look at my watch so I wouldn't see how fast I was going. I did glance down once and almost had a mini heart attack when I saw 31mph. Holy crap! Slow down! That's all I could think. I slowed a bit but continued to avoid the death grip on the brakes that I usually have on descents. It really was gorgeous, big houses, rolling hills, horses, what looked like farm land. We were in an area called Hidden Valley. Seriously, it looks like the image from the bottles of Hidden Valley salad dressing. I didn't take any pictures, cause I was on a bike, and I'm not that talented. But, I found these on google, they don't really do it justice, I've lived in LA my whole life and didn't know that was there (and my aunt, uncle and cousins live out in Westlake and I didn't know it was there). Gorgeous and perfect for riding.
I was doing great. Keeping my average speed to 15mph. I had my nutrition and hydration down. I was mostly by myself, but I was okay with that. I was feeling good. Until about 3 hours and 15 minutes in to the ride. Then things started going wonky. I started to feel kind of bloated and my stomach was feeling sloshy. I was struggling to drink and had to stop occasionally to collect myself. I knew something wasn't right, but I also knew I needed to finish this ride. So I kept motoring through.
I was almost to the end and going up a massive hill (still only a category 5, but it felt massive). I was part way up and my mentor, Mari, popped up by my side. I have no idea where she came from, but there she was. Then Kelly and Elsa went by. I was still huffing and puffing, like the little engine that could. My stomach was still feeling yucky. I spotted a driveway when I was about halfway up. I pulled in to it and stopped for a moment. I took a sip of water, a deep breath and started my way back up the hill. There is a stop light almost at the top and I got stuck at a red. Balls. I couldn't find the power to get myself going again. I pushed my bike about 20 yards to the top. I was taking another couple of deep breaths when Rommel pulled up again. He asked if I was okay and I told him how I was feeling. I also told him that I planned on finishing the ride no matter what (I had his number in my phone in case I really couldn't finish). I got back to base camp and had 23 minutes left on my watch before I hit 5 hours (my watch had been on auto-pause, so I had been out for 5 hours already). So, the coaches had me stop and head out for my hour run. I was actually disappointed because I wanted to get to 5 hours of riding time.
I was uncomfortable on the run the whole way. My stomach still didn't feel right and my hydration belt was not helping the situation. Actually, to even call this a run would be an exaggeration, it was a slow jog/walk. I wound up finishing 4.5 miles in an hour, SO slow. I was proud of myself for continuing on and putting one foot in front of the other. I finished the run and talked to Coach Brad about what had happened. We came up with a strategy for me to try on the next couple of rides. I really need to get my nutrition down before Wildflower in a month.
So, I'm really not sure where I got the idea that this ride would be flat. It was anything but. Here's the elevation profile. Not flat. At all. Ever. I must have been hallucinating when I heard the word flat.
Sunday was the continuation of the monster weekend. We had an open water swim and 13.1 mile run scheduled. The swim got cancelled because of the rain on Saturday (causing pollution in the water) and big surf. But we still had to run. We headed north on the bike path from Tower 26 in Santa Monica to the end of the bike path at Will Rogers State Beach (only a couple miles). It was a gorgeous day to be running along the coast. Then we turned around, headed back south and crossed under PCH and did an Amalfi-troll bridge run and then headed back south on Ocean. I ran with my teammate Kristy for most of the beginning of the run, but she had some foot pain, so I wound up running the second half alone. During this run I was not happy with the Gatorade I was drinking. I've been using Heed and/or Nuun and Gatorade now tastes WAY too sweet, too bad, since its so cheap. Oh well, gotta go with what works, and that's not it. I actually did pretty well, especially considering the ride/run the day before. I finished 7 minutes faster than I did last weekend (although I was still kind of sick last weekend). And, I found my rhythm at about mile 7 and felt good all the way to the end (ready to be done, but good).
After grabbing a quick to-go breakfast at M Street Cafe (most amazing maple covered bacon ever) I headed to Helen's in Santa Monica. I got my tire replaced and then headed back over the hill to swim. Finally, the monster weekend was winding down. I then did one last thing, I took Sheree to go pick up a bike (a friend of ours is getting rid of her bike and she and Sheree are the same height and Sheree wants to do a tri, so we went and got it for her). Now I get to teach her how to clip in and out (this should be interesting, to say the least), and change a flat and all that fun stuff. I'm really excited she's getting a bike and wants to do all this stuff too!
|tri ready in a fur collar lined sweatshirt and sparkly flip flops!|
This was a pretty great weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing myself improve more over time. I know I've been getting better and stronger every week and I know if I put in the work I will continue on this path and get faster.
Also, of note, yesterday I received my run analysis from Coach Jason. Basically, it says that if I put in the work (and stop being lazy - my words, not his), I can run much faster than I've been running. I really have been a little lazy about my running and I know I have the ability to run faster, now I just need to start doing it. So, tonight, on my tempo run, I'm going to use the paces in the run analysis and go for it.