Sunday, July 1, 2012

An Eventful Long Workout

Two nights ago, a terrible thunderstorm came roaring through the DC Metro area.  Trees were flopping around outside, rain was coming in sideways.  Although we never lost power, we figured it crushed the area pretty hard.  Too bad it didn't cool us off :(

The next morning, Brian and I packed up the car and drove out to Davidsonville, MD to start our 80 mile ride-40 minute run.  We tried to get going as early as possible to avoid as much of the triple digit heat as possible.  We left the house at 7AM and came across several dead stoplights just getting out to the freeway.  

After lathering on sunscreen, we finally hopped on our bikes at 15 'til 8M.  We stuck with the same route as our last 80 mile ride, except this time we knew where we might get tripped up so we were planning to go EXACTLY 80mi this time.  We were worried right away by the amount of debris on the road.  Sticks and branches were everywhere.  Going through the curvy course was like running through an obstacle course.  Most of the time, its ok going over a stick or two, but some of those branches could've cost us a nasty fall.  

We soon ran into our first downed tree in a woodsy area of the ride.  Going around the tree was not an option so we had to hop off, throw our bike over and climb over the tree.  We came across a few other bikers as we were hopping the tree and they said this was third tree they had to climb over.  Yikes--we hadn't even ridden 10 miles yet!!  

If I never see another tree blocking a road, it'll be too soon!

Now, the heat was another problem in it of itself.  I had three 20 ounce water bottles on my bike.  One was filled with perpetuem, a calorie filled beverage to help me stay fueled, and two with plain old water.  I froze one overnight, but it defrosted completely in about a half an hour.  I started sweating the minute that I hopped on the bike, but thanks to my HOT water bottles, I stayed plenty hydrated.  The amount of sweating I was doing was nasty though--debris from the road stuck to my legs like glue.  yuck.  

Forty miles in we made a pit stop at gas station because both Brian and I were totally out of water.  Luckily for us there was a 7 Eleven just as I was taking my final sips.  We filled up and rode on, dodging more debris as we went on.  As we approached the beach area in North Beach, we met up with the next two fallen trees.  Again, going around them just wasn't feesable so we had to climb over.  This ride was turning into the bike version of the "Warrior Dash." One of the trees was so massive it came up to my chest.  Thankful that our bikes were still in good shape after practically throwing them over the tree (and we didn't even lose any water in the process!), we took off and continued our ride.  

Near the beach, we got a breeze.  You know when you turn the AC on in your car on a hot day and at first its really hot air pumping out?  Yep, that's what it felt like, even near the water.  By this time, the temps were climbing in the 90s, but with nowhere to go but back to Davidsonville, we powered on.  We were doing pretty well, we'd stayed on course for once and didn't run into any real problems for about an hour until we got cut off by another tree.  This time, the whole road was marked off with red tape so we were forced to detour.  No big deal, it didn't add much, but it did force us to get off the bike and stand still in the blazing heat.  I didn't realize how much I was  sweating until I stopped for a minute!  

There were construction signs as we turned onto our next road.  The road had been stripped so for the next fifteen minutes we were stuck riding on a super bumpy road.  If you don't like driving over it in your car, imagine the agony of riding on it on a super skinny bike.  We were more than thrilled to get off that road!

My butt hurt sooooo bad after 15 minutes on a road like this!

Shortly after our next turn, I was grabbing for water when I went over a huge pile of debris and almost crashed in busy traffic.  UGH, it even messed up my handlebars!  The aerobars were pointed down toward the ground instead of straight out.  We stopped, and fixed it.  Good thing too because we still had at least 10 miles to go.  

A few minutes later we ran into another downed tree.  This time, the tree had taken a power line down with it.  Some dude from the power company told us that the wire was live and we had to turn around.  In retrospect, I'm glad he was there, but with less than 10 miles of an epic ride left, this felt like a slap in the face.  I wanted to squirt the rest of my hot water in his face.  haha

We rerouted and added on about 3 miles to our ride. yay (read that as sarcastically as possible).  We finished the last few turns just as we started to run out of water again.  We loaded the bikes on the car, grabbed some gatorade, and threw our shoes on.  Time for the run.  As I took my first few running steps I burst out laughing--seriously?!  I 'm supposed to run a marathon at the end of the ironman?  Apparently, I was so exhausted that this was laughable at that point.

As I ran, I felt my stomach cramping up.  I pushed on, but it just kept getting worse.  I was practically staring at my watch, hoping time would go faster.  Finally, just past 20 minutes into the run, I saw some woods and went in.  I climbed through prickly weeds just to find a flat spot to stand.  I'm not proud of in, but I was forced to "go" in the woods.   Don't worry, my paybacks were that I now had several small cuts on my legs from the thorny weeds.  Even though my whole GI tract felt much better, my body was baking in the heat.  My gatorade had already turned hot, but I powered on to the end.

If you look close enought, you can see the
dirt and scrapes  completely covering my legs

This morning I woke up and decided that the best thing for me was a day off--mostly because when I woke up at 6AM it was already a muggy 78 degrees, but also because I just really needed some time to recoup from my nearly 6 hour workout in the heatwave yesterday.  I'm sure that tomorrow when I wake up to the exact same temperatures, I'll still struggle through my long run, but I'm hoping the mental break will help.  Training is ramping up just as the temps are really climbing and its hard to believe that it'll be a lot like this for most of the remaining two months of training.  I better get used to it real fast or Louisville's going to be really ugly!

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