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A Century Brick

by Meghann on October 6, 2013

When I first started my training plan for Ironman Florida back in May, I was scared to look at the end of the plan. In particular, I was scared to look at the workouts that had me riding for 6+ hours, then running 40-50 minutes after… never mind running another 10+ miles the next day. That just sounded insane. I mean, I know the actual Ironman is insane, but devoting all that time training for it just put that over the top. My sister has a great bumper sticker that reads, ” Fear the training, not the race.” So true.

Slowly, over the last 20 weeks, my fear for those longer workouts have somewhat faded. I rode 90 miles mainly on my own and stumbled my way through a 14.5 mile run the next day. I did my first century and conquered my fear of riding on the road. I’ve spent hours on the trainer, I’ve dedicated my weekdays to fixing my swim technique and building my strength, and all of my free time has been dedicated towards training for this race.

Yesterday I added a new milestone to my list. I completed my second century on the bike, only this time I followed it with a 5 mile run. Even better, I did it with my siblings. We met at our go-to trail at the midpoint between us. It was our first long ride as a trio and it was nice being all together for our final long ride. We started this thing together and we’re going to end it together.

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We met at the trail just after 7:00. We planned to ride out 25, ride back 25, refuel back at the car at mile 50, and repeat. I started with two bottles full of Gatorade and Gatorlytes (aka salt), two packets of Gatorade Endurance Chews, a Powerblend, a Clif Bar, and a protein pancake (leftover from breakfast). That was the fuel to get me through the first 50, I planned to replenish at the halfway point.

We hit the trail and spent the first 15 miles dissecting every piece of information that was in the Athlete’s Guide that was posted last week. We broke down all of Ironman weekend, starting with what time we were heading to Panama City that Thursday. Good thing there wasn’t anyone else riding, they may have slowly gone insane by our constant discussion of Ironman. Can you say obsessed much?

I had to stop to use the restroom at mile 10, which then prompted a conversation about peeing on the bike during the race. Yep. Peeing on the bike is a fairly common practice during an Ironman. Considering how slow of a cyclist I am (and how much I had to pee yesterday thanks to my fear of under-hydrating), I’m not ruling it out. If stopping to pee would cost me making the cut-off, you better believe I’ll be peeing on the bike. According to the forums I’ve read, the key is to carry and extra water bottle and just pour it on yourself when your done. Oh, and you can list “how to pee on a bike during an Ironman” as something I never thought I would find myself googling.

For the rest of the ride we rode in a pace lane, taking turns pulling the lead. This ended up making for great training intervals. I would pull for a mile holding roughly 17 mph (which is a pretty decent clip for me), then rest in the draft until my turn came up. SInce there were only three of us, the miles came up fast and my legs were feeling good. I know I’m not going to be able to ride in a line during the race, but getting those intervals in will help build strength so my legs are stronger come race day.

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At mile 50 we stopped back at our cars for a break. I refilled my bottles and grabbed some of the pumpkin muffins I made the night before, a thing of fruit snacks, more endurance chews, and another Clif bar for my fuel box. Kelly came prepared for the rest stop with a cooler full of goodies.

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Included in the cooler were a few slices of cold leftover pizza. We had been talking about the pizza for the last 5 miles of the ride. I had never wanted something so bad on a bike ride before, maybe it was all the build up?

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The pizza was salty and chewy; it was freaking amazing actually. Is there a way to keep a cold slice of pizza in my special needs bag for the race? Because this is exactly what I needed. We’re so used to eating so much sweet stuff on a long ride or run, that the real food was such an amazing, delicious departure. If anything this made me realize that I need something salty in my special needs bag like pretzels and hummus or something. Thoughts?

We hopped back on our bikes and went back out for our last 50. The second 50 wasn’t as fun as the first. We weren’t as chatty and we all seemed to be dragging – the headwind didn’t help either. We stopped at mile 75 and I savored one of my homemade pumpkin muffins – I think that’s another thing I want to add to my special needs bag for the second half of the bike for the Ironman – a muffine. The muffin was exactly what I needed at that point.

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During the last 25 we were all desperate for water. After 5 hours of drinking Gatorade/ Powerade, our mouths were all overly sweet and in need of just regular plain water to wash that all out. I was also over the sweet chews. I needed something salty.

The last 20 miles drrraaaggggeeddd on forever. Our pace lines ended and it became every man for themselves. In the last few miles we all picked up the pace, just ready for it to be over. Kelly, who had really slowed down in the last 10 miles, suddenly gave it all she had and sprinted out ahead of us – Go Kelly!

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We came to the end and unceremoniously hopped off our bikes. There was no celebration as we all knew we weren’t done yet – we still had a run to get to! I was nervous about the run. Yes, it’s my strength, but I knew how much I felt like crap after my last long brick a few weeks ago. I worked hard stuffing my face with fuel my whole bike, since I knew I didn’t want to feel like that again.

In a desperate attempt at preventing that from happening again, I tried this Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Drink during the transition.

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It was nasty. It tasted like a melted lime popsicle – really, really sweet and overly concentrated. Gag. I took a couple of bites of salty pizza to try and eliminate the taste from my mouth. The pizza did help. I can’t tell you how great the pizza still tasted at that point.

We all changed into our running shoes, refilled a water bottle, and hit the trail for a 5 mile run. I think we were all dreading it, but we knew it was something that needed to be done.

We decided to do a walk/run and stuck with a 1:30 run/ :30 walk interval. I was really surprised when my legs felt pretty good for the first few intervals. Actually, they felt great for all the intervals. I was tired, but my legs were moving and my stomach felt fine. Somehow we were holding a 8:30 pace during our run intervals and were averaging overall a 10:00 min/mile despite taking the walking breaks.

The miles went by fast. We took it one interval at a time and kept it consistent. In the last interval I decided to sprint to the end and finished feeling strong in 49:50.

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We did it! Our last long ride before our Ironman!

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I felt great after the long brick. Really, really great. I’m not sure where that came from, but it was a HUGE confidence booster. All this training is paying off, I think I can actually do this!

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I stopped on the way home and indulged in my favorite fast food meal: Chick Fil A nuggets, waffle fries, and a cookies & cream milkshake.

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Holy crap was that meal delicious.

The next day I set my alarm for 6:00am in preparation of my 105 minute run. When my alarm went off I didn’t even look at it. I just swiped the red button and did my normal routine of taking Maddie out. Despite going to bed at 9:00pm the night before (Derek had to carry me to bed from the couch), I couldn’t believe how exhausted I felt. Why was I so tired? It was only after I walked back inside that I picked up my phone and saw it read 4:00am! I guess my alarm was still set from my work wake-up time the Sunday before. Thank goodness I checked and didn’t just automatically put my running shoes on and walk out the door. I hauled my butt back to bed to enjoy another 2 hours of sleep.

The second time my alarm went off, I felt better. Since Maddie was bouncing off the walls, I decided to take her with me for the first 3 miles of my run. We circled the neighborhood, she marked her territory at every yard she could, and I dropped her back off at the house still running circles around herself.

I headed out for round two and surprised myself again with how great my legs felt. I was actually hitting negative splits and had to circle my neighborhood again to gain some extra mileage since I underestimated how many miles it would take me to run for 105 minutes. I ended up finishing 11.1 miles in 1:46. Not bad.

Derek had a hearty breakfast waiting upon my return.

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I love food. 🙂

So far I’m still feeling good. I have a massage booked later this afternoon and I’m thankful it probably won’t be as painful as I had originally been predicting. 🙂

Less than a month to go!

Gatorade had sent me all of the products for free. All opinions are my own.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs October 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Congrats on an amazing brick workout! You guys are awesome!
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2 Victoria October 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm

You can easily stash some pretzels in your bento box to take throughout the ride when you feel a salt craving coming on. In fact, on the run course, aid stations will probably have pretzels and chips available.

If you want to have cold pizza in your special needs bag, maybe get some disposable freezer packs, put one on each side of a baggie with cold pizza in it, and wrap the whole thing in foil?

For peeing on the bike, I’ve never bothered rinsing off…I don’t notice 3-4 minutes later, and I change shorts for the marathon anyway.

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3 Jen October 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Fear the training…I like it! So true. The race only lasts a day, but the training sometimes feels like it will never end. Congrats on powering through!
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4 Caroline October 6, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Definitely pack something salty since you’ll need to replace all that salt anyways, and, like you said, sweet starts to get pretty unappetizing pretty quickly. Congrats on the brick.
Caroline recently posted..Monumental Half Marathon Training Recap Week 6

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5 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 6, 2013 at 2:02 pm

oh my gosh, a Chick Fil A meal after a long bike ride and run like that sounds absolutely perfect. Or just for me right now… haha.
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6 MissPinkKate October 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Have you considered salt tablets?

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7 MealsAndMiles October 6, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I did take salt tablets on the ride (borrowed from my siblings) I also had salt in my Gatorade

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8 Sil October 6, 2013 at 5:38 pm

How do you know if you need to add extra salt to your gatorade? I get my cap stained after running and feel the salt when I touch my face. Is that a sign I need some extra?
Sil recently posted..Paris Marathon recap

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9 Meghann October 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm

If you cramp or feel like crap, you need salt. 🙂 #notaprofessionalopinion

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10 MissPinkKate October 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Interesting! I don’t know much about how they work; how often do you take them?

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11 Meghann October 6, 2013 at 8:49 pm

My siblings were taking two every 20 miles.

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12 Christine @ Bookishly October 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I love it when HLBers eat fast food. Hello normalcy. Good luck with the rest of your training!
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13 Allyson October 6, 2013 at 6:49 pm

If u get to ur special needs good luck…not that easy. Pb&j, and coke is all you guys need.

I had to literally get off my bike and look for my bag at im Florida 2009. Not fun I finished in 10.50. Not a slug not fast….so.,,

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14 Betsy October 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

My cross country coach used to tell us to pee our pants during a race instead of stopping, but there is no way I could do that. I can see the need to do it during an Ironman though. Congrats on a great training weekend!

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15 Amanda October 6, 2013 at 8:09 pm

That’s amazing! You’re right about real food and water; all that sweet stuff gets gross after a while. I’ve really loved reading about your IM training.

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16 Courtney October 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I wanna know about the new watch! Can you swim with it?

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17 Sil October 7, 2013 at 8:33 am

I use the 910, it’s amazing. And yes, not can swim with it. (open water/ pool)
Sil recently posted..Paris Marathon recap

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18 Sil October 7, 2013 at 8:34 am

I’m sorry, I mean YOU CAN swim with it.
Sil recently posted..Paris Marathon recap

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19 Ashley October 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I am still cracking up about how to pee on a bike seat. You are an amazing athlete and I love that you train with your siblings.
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20 Sara @ LovingOnTheRun October 6, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Wow AMAZING! I can’t imagine doing all of this! 100 miles and THEN running!? Awesome job!!
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21 Ali October 6, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I have trouble peeing while I’m moving, so peeing during the swim and peeing on the bike has always been tough for me! I definitely don’t look for a port-a-potty on the bike course, though–I just pull over and sit in the grass, wherever I am, shorts on and all. The things you’re willing to do during a race, eh?

I don’t do well with solid, non-carby food during a race (anything with any fat or protein in it makes me queasy), but that pizza looks delicious…I might be willing to get queasy for that!
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22 Penny Cooper October 7, 2013 at 1:54 am

That was amazing. I run and exercise during my free time. I am using the 5:2 diet and it truly works! I am now living a healthy lifestyle just like you. I don’t exercise and run during my fast days but I make sure I take my 5:2 fast formula. If people want to be fit and lose weight they should probably try it too.

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23 Kelly October 7, 2013 at 5:34 am

A lot of my friends use olives on their long rides and runs. They are a great source of salt and easy to carry.

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24 Elizabeth @ Positive Change October 7, 2013 at 8:00 am

Awesome job!!! I loved reading about your training and just as excited to read about how the race goes 🙂
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25 Natalie @ Free Range Human October 7, 2013 at 8:56 am

That’s truly amazing! I can’t imagine the kind of mental strength it’s taking to get through this training phase. Great job! I can’t wait to hear about the actual race!
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26 Jessica October 7, 2013 at 9:52 am

You are doing great! I have a feeling you are going to knock the socks off this Ironman! 🙂

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27 Ashley @ Eat Run Live Happy October 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

I could not imagine training for that long, that hard. I am so burnt out of running and it’s only my first marathon. two weeks to go. Can’t wait to see you kill it!
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28 Reenie October 7, 2013 at 10:56 am

You 3 amaze me!!! 🙂

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29 [email protected] October 7, 2013 at 11:33 am
30 Katie October 7, 2013 at 11:41 am

Way to go Meghann! I am so inspired!!
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31 Beth October 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

I hear you on the craving salt! I did a century ride (my only century ride to date actually) where all I wanted was salt and every freakin’ stop had sweets. I wound up licking my arm at one point b/c I was craving it so much. Totally gross, I know. But I learned I have to carry some sort of salty snack for long rides like that. I’d recommend you do pretzels or chips. I know at some IM’s they have potato chips out on the course. Congrats on your brick! It’s almost go time!
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32 Becca October 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

That’s awesome that you and your siblings are all training for the same event! That must make it much more bearable.

I love reading about all of your Ironman adventures. It’s incredible that you can do so much!
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33 Annette @FitnessPerks October 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

That is a crazy awesome brick. WAY to go!!

Def pack something salty–I remember for my Half IM, I so loved the salt.
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34 Barbara October 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm

You probably wouldn’t want to try this so close to the race….but for future reference…boiled little red potatoes covered in salt are AMAZING for the bike portion of IM. I think I stuffed my pockets with about 20 of them. Having a lot of my calories come from the salty potatoes during the bike enabled me to eat sugary gels on the run without upsetting my stomach too much. The longer you can put off that sick feeling that comes with too much sugar (which most energy foods have), the better!
Congrats on finishing your last long brick!

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35 Caroline October 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Wow! I can’t imagine trying to go out for a run after eating pizza (I am not someone with a stomach of steel) but then again after riding for 6+ hours is a whole other story! I do feel like the salty/real food would be a nice change. Gus and sports drinks/bars are great, but I think I’d start to hate all the sugaryness of it all too. Not too much solid energy in them, but would you consider some sort of chips/pretzels solely for salt?
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36 Mary October 8, 2013 at 3:36 am

Amazing! 🙂 All three of you!
I know exactly what you mean about only being able to have so much sports drink before you just crave water. On my long runs I end up having to take both because it gets to a point where I can’t stomach anything sweet anymore.
Love that you googled peeing on a bike!
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