It was akin to a religious experience:
Pulling into the parking lot from the access road and seeing that big Budweiser sign, smelling the hops (though I think it smelled like french fries) and then seeing a parking lot full of cyclists and cars with bike racks just gave me the warm fuzzies.
I was worried and briefly lost that fuzzy feeling when I stepped out of the car and the first thing I saw was a dead Luna moth. However, I chose not to see it as a potential omen. Which proved wise because apparently seeing moths on bike rides mean nothing as Joe saw one too and he didn't die either.
The Budplant in Carterville, GA. is VERY generous and allows cyclists to use their parking lot and ride out to the country back roads. Recall that in June I rode the Cartersville Century but I have never ridden out of the Budplant. I've heard about it but I have never been there myself.
Today Doug, Steph and I headed up to Cartersville to do a practice brick. Word is that Cartersville is very similar to the bike course in the SC Half Iron. And just so you know, this was Steph and Doug's gig. I invited myself along and ruined any chances of afternoon delight in a cow pasture for them. Though, I think, the hours in the saddle probably had that ruled out anyway. But I just wanted to say thanks to them for letting me tag along.
This was my second time this week to practice a brick after a longish bike ride. The past 3 bricks I have done I have struggled with GI issues--which is new for me. The first was 2 weeks ago when I rode 57 miles and then ran a 4 mile brick. I did okay but I couldn't have run more than 4, if you catch my meaning. The next was my 1 mile swim, 36 mile bike and 9.6 mile run. That time I had to stop at 5 miles to use the restroom. And the most painful was just this past Wednesday: 47 miles on the bike and 5k run. Horrible tummy cramps.
So today was my chance to get it right and test out some new nutrition. That was my goal. Doug and Steph's--which I guess I misunderstood-- was to ride race pace and then try to run race pace. I didn't care as much about pace as I did about not having my tummy hurt.
They told me the plan was 17 mph--which is my race goal but I will be fine with anything under 3 hours and 20 minutes. (Really, I am just hoping for some race day magic. ) But I figured 17mph would be fine for me since Neal and I did average that for most of the century ride until I had a huge fade factor around 70 miles.
And fortunately the temperature today was in the high 70's/low 80's. Down right arctic compared to my last bricks that finished up in the low 90's.
Unfortunately Fay was showing us her ass and blowing some big wind our way.
Doug started out very aggressive and I was struggling. I tried to negotiate a bit slower pace since the wind was just killing me but he said no. So I kinda pouted for about oh, 20 miles. But around 25 I realized that I wasn't feeling that bad and I was totally fine and would make it. So for the last part of the ride I actually felt really good. I mean sure I was tired but no more tired than if we had ridden 1-2 mph slower.
We finished at 2:39 at 46.55 miles at 17.6 mph.
Then we, and by we I mean Doug, racked our bikes and we all ran out. Steph said, as always, she was going to go slow and wasn't going to keep up with us. Doug and I hung together the first few miles. The strap on my Garmin broke so it was in my pocket, so no GPS. My achilles started giving me trouble immediately. They have been tight/sore all week and the result is the tight/crampy feeling in my calves that throws off my stride and makes running painful. I had iced them last night--and am icing them now. Still tight.
My hope was that they would loosen up after the first mile. Nope. After the second mile I asked Doug our avg pace: 7:59 he said. A few minutes later I told him I had to walk for a second. He took that opportunity to ditch me and went back to look for Steph who had stopped to meet some trucker's at the truck stop I think. Doug fouled that plan. I think a husband just knows these things.
The tightness eased up after a few seconds and I resumed pace. Since I no longer had my pace reporter with me I operated on the assumption that I was still running around an 8 minute pace. My only goal for the HIM is sub 2 hours. 8 will be fine. Sub7:50 will be ideal. I ran just past 41 minutes to ensure I got in at least 5 miles. Honestly, I wasn't really trying to practice any pace. I just didn't want to have a tummy ache. But the 8 minute pace had felt comfortable (with the exception of the achilles issue) so I assume that is what I maintained. My achilles's did release a little and I finished up feeling great. I thought about running a little more but decided it wouldn't be wise.
So the good news of the day is NO GI issues. Even better, I didn't even have to stop to pee on the run (did on the bike though).
It should be noted that it was cooler today and I did only run 5 miles. BUT every brick my GI issues were presenting themselves before the 4 mile point so I have to assume either what I ate today worked or it just being 10 degrees cooler made the difference.
So in case anyone is curious here is--in my opinion--the ridiculous amount of food for a 3 hour bike ride that I consumed:
24 oz of water
20 oz of HEED
2 GU's (one vanilla, one Roctane)
1.5 packages of Lance's Peanut butter on Wheat crackers.
I also brought 20 oz of HEED on the run but didn't drink very much since I realized I wouldn't need it since I was only running a little while.
Here is the rest of the week's log:
Sunday: Easy day. Rode down at the river for an hour 18.95 miles.
Monday: Slowww 6 mile run--9:19 pace. I had to walk a bit up a hill due to Achilles issues. Then a 2000 yd swim that also sucked (34 minutes/ 1:42 per 100yd avg)
Tuesday: 21 mile run at an 8:12 pace.
Wednesday: Day of doom where I was an anchor. 47 mile ride at 16.4 mph pace. 3.1 mile run in 28 minutes.
Thursday: Lost mojo but rallied myself for an 8 mile run, walked a bit here and there. 9:23 avg pace.
Friday: Again an easy day. 7 miles on the Leita Thompson Trail with Lola. 9:34 avg pace. Bailed on planned swim. Just didn't want to get wet.
Saturday: 46.5 bike 17.6 mph/5 mile run 8:20 pace.
Run: 50 miles
Cycle: 112 miles
Swim: 2000 yds