09 June 2013

Ironman Training is Better with Friends (and brownies)

This weekend was spent on the bike, in my run shoes, and at the dinner table eating enough food to make up for the caloric hole I dug myself into. Each week the training rides get progressively longer and suddenly you find yourself riding your first 100 miler of the season when it feels like just last weekend 50 miles was a far ride. But I will say this - my legs were feeling the 17 miles of running I did today MUCH more than they felt the 100 miles of biking I did yesterday.

Mindy and I had originally thought about riding Skyline but then decided that we didn't want to prolong an already-long day with an extra couple hours of driving to and from the Shenandoah Valley. Instead, we rode from our front doors, down the DC cyclist superhighway of MacArthur Blvd (to borrow the term from Kathy) and out to Poolesville. The weather was perfect, perfect, perfect for a bike ride, especially in the beginning when it was cloudy with a light breeze and in the 70s to low 80s. We both used this training ride as an opportunity to practice nutrition strategies so I ate alot of Clif Mojo bars, PowerBars, a few gels, and numerous bottles of Skratch Labs raspberry, a bottle of water and then Gatorade when I'd blown through the rest of my fluids. I think this strategy is working, as I didn't come close to bonking and felt really good on my transition run.

We had SO much fun on this ride! Chit-chat mixed in with some IM paced intervals and we ran into numerous other cyclists that we knew, which made the ride go by even faster. We both climbed Sugarloaf for the first time (I'd tried climbing it once before but took the wrong road which turned into gravel and I gave up after about a mile). The climb up wasn't too bad, a good strength workout for your legs and hips and glutes, and I was surprised at how slow the descent was with all the switchbacks, it took almost as long to go down as it did to go up.

It was about mile 95, as we were biking down the Mt. Vernon Trail back to the house, when I realized just how good my legs felt - they did NOT feel like they had ridden almost 100 miles. Maybe this is partly due to being in the middle of heavy training and my body is finally used to this sort of mileage. But I also didn't redline the ride, pushing the pace for a few intervals but I didn't feel spent - I'm wondering if it might pay dividends on my Ironman run if I take the Lake Placid bike course a little more conservatively. Food for thought. Oh, I also think I'm going to ditch the aerobottle as I'm starting to believe it might be the cause of my upper GI/indigestion woes, because during training rides I just use my cage waterbottles and never have any problems - but I often have problems during races and that's when I use that aerobottle.

Anyway, Mindy and I finished the ride feeling good and thrilled to be off the bike. We did a 35 minute T-run with some intervals mixed in and both our legs showed up to have a good day. I did spend most of the run thinking about the popsicles waiting for me in the freezer at home.

Today I had a 2:20 run on tap, which I figured would be about 17 miles. I ran into my friend Jess at the beginning of my run, it was so great to see her. She's back in DC for the summer and I'm looking forward to some solid training sessions with her. Mindy and I ran together and it was beyond awesome to have company on the run - I do so many of my runs solo that I forget how nice it is to run with someone. We chose an out-and-back on the relatively flat W&OD to 4-Mile Run to Mt Vernon trails. It was funny, at the beginning of the run, Mindy was telling me about her long run last weekend where the last three miles felt like an eternity. I had the exact same feeling during the last few miles of my run today. The first 14 felt pretty darn fantastic, I hit the prescribed interval splits and our moderate pace didn't feel effortless but it did feel sustainable, which is really all you need. Right near Mindy's place, we ran into Jason and Julie and chatted for a few minutes before continuing onward. After Mindy split off to go back home, I had about 2.5-3 miles left to do solo. And they lasted FOREVER. I was counting down the minutes and so were my poor legs, which suddenly felt like they had been through a meat grinder. Such a great feeling when I finished and had that popsicle I was thinking about all morning.

This weekend wasn't just full of workouts, we had some good eats, good company with friends, and got some stuff done around the house. Mr. Sweetie and I checked out Union Market in DC today - I had seen a quick mention of it in Food and Wine magazine and lo and behold, this gem is literally a few blocks away from my office. It's a market in a big warehouse building with lots of vendors selling locally sourced food and goods - I had some fantastic salted caramel gelato and we split a yummy sandwich and picked up some fantastic loaves of bread. I plan on making some trips over there for lunch in the near future, definitely worth the few block walk. We had our friends Karen and John over for homemade pizza last night, it was so nice to have a chance to catch up with them. And tonight I made peanut butter chocolate nutella blondie brownies, which are very tasty chilled rather than warm.
We took a trip to Home Depot this afternoon, in an attempt to be handy and domestic. We've decided that we're not going to be those neighbors with the crummy looking front yard any longer. First step - we bought a hydrangea bush with light blue flowers (the same color hydrangea we had in our wedding, I will forever love that color). Mr. Sweetie planted it this afternoon. If we manage to keep the hydrangea plant alive for a few weeks, we may go hog wild and plant a few more flowers. Baby steps. No use getting overzealous and buying a bunch of plants that may not survive the summer due to our lack of green thumb.


Katie said...

Sounds like you have really hit your stride for IMLP training! Those are two solid back-to-back days!

Caroline said...

Thanks Katie! Congrats on your awesome race this past weekend! Are you getting excited for Placid too? I love how beautiful the course is!