Saturday, September 14, 2013

90 Miles Later

by Meghann on September 14, 2013

Holy moly.

I just rode 90 miles.

And I survived.

Whoa.

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Derek and I ate dinner at 5:00pm last night.

I had ridden 30 miles that morning, which was followed with a ridiculously hot and humid 5 mile run. Instead of eating every snack in sight that afternoon, we decided to go to an early dinner. We were done by 6:00pm and I was happily in bed by 8:30pm. Apparently, when you’re training for an Ironman, you turn into an elderly couple.

I haven’t been getting a ton of sleep lately thanks to training and work travel, so going to bed at 8:30 was amazing. If I could, I would go to bed at 8:30 every night and be the happiest girl in the world. Thanks to that early bed time, I had no problem hopping right out of bed when my alarm went off at 5:30am.

I made coffee, made pancakes (I <3 pancakes before long bike rides!) and took my time playing online and getting my gear ready. I was meeting a friend (Meghan) and a co-worker (Stef) at a trailhead at 7:00 and got up a little earlier so I wouldn’t feel rushed.

I was nervous for today. Not exactly nervous about fitting the miles in, but nervous about how long it would take me to do it. I was predicting I would finish around 6 hours (average 15 mph) and that’s a LONG time to spend on a bike! I’m starting to feel mentally worn down on the bike, which is why I begged for someone (anyone!) to ride with me for at least a little bit of the ride. I hadn’t ridden with another person in MONTHS and needed some company.

Luckily Meghan and Stef stepped forward. Meghan had two hours on her plan and Stef had 45 miles on hers. I warned them I’m slow, but neither seemed to mind.

The first couple of miles were rough. My legs were tight from yesterday’s brick and needed some time to loosen up. Once we got in a line (and I caught Meghan and Stef’s draft), I began to feel better. It took a few miles, but I finally started to feel like I was getting in my groove and was happily hanging on to their pull.

An hour into the ride, Meghan had to turn around while Stef and I continued forward. A pack of riders had caught up to us at this point and we ended up latching on to their line for 8 or so miles. I knew the group (A-Train) and was originally too nervous to ride with them for fear I would get dropped. I was more than pleasantly surprised when Stef and I rode with their group for a good 8 miles without a problem. Actually, I felt pretty good riding with them. It’s amazing how much of a confidence booster catching a group’s draft is. I felt like I was flying out there!

We lost the group at our turn around. I stopped to use the bathroom and we both filled our water bottles up.

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Stef and I rode side-by-side on the way back and I pushed myself to keep up with her. There’s no way I could have averaged the 17mph+ if she wasn’t there pushing me (well, the tailwind didn’t hurt either!). I dropped her off back at her car at mile 45 and turned back around to make the exact same ride all over again. Gulp.

Honestly, I think I preferred the double out and back, rather than riding 45 miles out and 45 miles back. The trail gets kind of hilly and lonely the farther you go on it, it’s nice to ride where the majority of riders are. It was also nice to break the ride up a little bit. It gave me mini goals.

Unfortunately as soon as I turned around I was hit with a nasty headwind (damn that tailwind I had been enjoying so much on the way back!). My pace slowed and my shoulders began to ache. I had to stop halfway on the way back out to stretch and massage my shoulders a bit. I was mentally done, but I pushed through.

I hit the turn around point again and refilled my water bottles for the third time (I also added the electrolyte tablets I had in my bento box). Oh, and in case you’re wondering about nutrition, through the course of the 90 miles I went through two Clif bars, one PowerBlend, 2 packages of Gatorade Endurance chews, and two bottles of gatorade. (about 1100 calories!)

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The way back was better thanks to the tailwind, but I was mentally done at this point. I rode for a little bit with a lady who was also training for Ironman Florida. She was doing a double brick (30 mile ride/ 5 mile run/ 30 mile ride/ 5 mile run) and I did not envy her in the least. Ouch.

My handlebar wrap started to unravel the last 10 miles and it was all I could think about. I basically spent 10 miles trying to make it stick again (you start to do crazy things when you’re on a bike that long).

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Finally, I got to single digits…

then less than 5…

then less than 1…

I WAS DONE!!!!

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The good news is it didn’t feel like I had just ridden 90 miles. I felt good! Now, running a marathon afterwards? Eh. Let’s just say I’m glad I wasn’t doing that today. 😉

These long rides are really good for me because it does remind me of what I’m capable of. 90 miles seemed so CRAZY at 6:00am this morning, but now that I’ve done it, it doesn’t seem quite as crazy. It took a lot of time, but it was doable.

The long rides are giving me the confidence I need to push me through 112 miles on the bike on November 2nd. I guess that’s what training is all about, not only are you building strength and endurance, but you’re building confidence in your abilities to meet your goals.

This is just the tipping point for how insane my training is going to get. Next week is my first of the TWO centuries I’ll be completing before my Ironman. I’m still nervous, but not as nervous as I was this morning. I can do this. Bring it.

So what does one do after they ride 90 miles?

They buy a smoothie that’s as big as their head.

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A pineapple/kiwi smoothie with peanut butter! Yum!

Nap on the couch with this cutie.

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And stuff their face with homemade nachos while watching the FSU game.

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Derek made these nachos and I have to say they were pretty epic. My husband makes a good tray of nachos!

Oh, and they prepare to run 15 miles in the morning.

They may also go to bed at 8:30. 😉

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