Monday, May 11, 2009

A Moose, Black Flies, and Success

I had a good training week last week. I logged 20.5 hours. A new record. And you know, I feel pretty good.
My longest workout was on Saturday. A 6 hour brick. I was determined to get up and out of the house before everyone else awoke. There are a few benefits to this. Of course, I get home earlier and have more of the day to spend with the family, to do other things, and it alleviates some of my self-imposed guilt about being gone so long. But the other reason is that I can actually focus and get ready within 45 minutes instead of more than an hour. So I was up at 5:30 and almost ready when....boom boom boom. My 7 yo is NOT quiet when he comes downstairs. The boys just walks like an elephant. It's unreal. So, 5:57 and the little ones all appear. Not so bad I guess...I got a few sweet early morning hugs as I headed out. I was almost ready to go so despite the fact that they were "starving" and I had to find a little pre-breakfast snack, I was able to hit the road by 6:30.
The forecast was great for the day. But, it was cold to start. It's nearly impossible to dress for these workouts. I mean, when you start at 6 a.m. and finish after lunch (with all the stops..) the temperature changes dramatically!!!! It was 46 when I started and 77 when I finished.
I was following a map that a friend gave me. He had a route that I would love. Let's just say I was cursing the guy by the time 60 miles hit. You see, I live in rural Maine. Riding 80+ miles either takes me south or east into much more populated areas OR...the other way. I went the other way this time. I am not from rural Maine originally. I love the peace and quiet here. Dont' get me wrong. I no longer have patience for traffic lights that last more than 1 minute. I get irritated with traffic. I love the mountains I run and ride over (usually) and I love the big yards with tons of privacy. But I have my limits. This ride took me to my limits.
After about 30 minutes (thankfully hubby was awake by then and called to check in) I was completely out of cell phone reach. Nada. Zip. No bars. Gone. For hours. Ok, fine. Hope I don't crash, again.
I think I rode nearly 2 hours without seeing a car. Sure this sounds like dream. It's safe. It's quiet. It takes away some stress...but it's LONELY OUT THERE!!!! Oh my god. Nothing. Trees. A pretty lake from time to time. That was nice.
And you know, while my feet were absolutely frozen, my body was heating up as the sun rose. I did have to stop to shed layers...a lot. First I had to lose the leg warmers, then the headband, the coat, the shirt under the bike went on and on. And each time I stopped, I got ATTACKED! Now, this isn's a Rural Maine problem. It's widespread. You see, it's black fly season. And they were out with a vengeance that day. Imagine looking up and seeing 1000s of little black things swarming your head. Gross. And irritating! It did make my stops fast I must say. But I also learned to ride with my mouth closed! Yes, I had to spit out a few of the little nuisances. Yuck.
I felt good out there on the bike. I was keeping a solid pace and I was pleased that I hadn't been riding over mountains all morning. And then I ate my words. What is that? I was now in Sweden. Sweden, Maine. Don't ride in Sweden, Maine! Nothing but up and down and up and down. And I thought I already had that in Paris. Nope. Sweden is worse. And the ups are So so steep that my bike was wavering back and forth across the road. I felt like I might tip over a few times!
While I was huffing and puffing up one of the many 2 mile hills, I heard a rustle. I looked over and rigth on the side of the road, 10 feet away, was a big Moose! He had fallen and was standing himself back up from a mucky spot in the woods. I pedalled harder. Just in case.

Finally I made it back to my town but I still had 2 more hours of riding to go. I didnt' mind finding nice roads close to home to complete those miles. I had had enough of no cell phone signal, of roads leading to nowhere, and the final stretch road that was so torn up and bumpy I felt like my insides were being rearranged. I even threw my arms in the air and cheered when I saw Norway good to be home.

After my ride it was Hot! But I was excited for my hour T run. I wanted to see how I'd hold up. This was my longest brick to date. When I leave my driveway I climb a 1/2 mile hill. That hurt. It was slow. But on the flat mile after that, my legs came around. I felt good!!! And that translated into relief and happiness which made my legs feel even better. I had a great run.
I am sure I could have kept going but 7.5 miles did the trick that day.

Success. Confidence. That was the biggest gain this weekend.
This Ironman is intimidating. I am training hard. I am doing all my workouts...being consistent and solid. I am working hard on nutrtion. I am focusing on getting to bed earlier. I know I am a strong athlete. I have a good base...
And yet, I would lie if I didn't say the 140.6 gives me major nerves. Can I do this? I remain in awe at all the people who have conquered the distance. I get goose bumps just thinking about my name being announced at the finish line.
I have been assured that I have plenty of time left. I am choosing to take comfort in those words. And yet....every week that goes by, no, every day, I do the countdown. It'll be here before I know it.

USAT rankings came out and those were fun to read through. I knew lots of people on those Honorable mention and All American lists. Congrats to everyone!!! It's kind of fun to see your name in a magazine. I made All American this year after being Honorable Mention last year. I was ranked 37th/2073 in my age group. Not bad. A fun little fact that was cool to share with my kids.


Kim said...

crap, that is one desolate ride. and i hear ya on the weather, it was really strange on saturday. i cant believe you saw a moose!!!!! insane!! great job with the longest brick of the season! you're well on your way to kicking IMLP butt! and congrats on AA, you rockstar!

Marni said...

Wow what a workout! Looks like everything is coming together! If you need any more help with nutrition, just email! Here to help, anytime!! :)
Keep up the great work!
BTW-77 degrees is our's freakin' HOT here!!!

Velma said...

Great work out and congrats on the ranking. I have eaten more bugs over the years than i even care to talk about. I guess it is good protein :)

GoBigGreen said...

Omg yuk It isnt Black Fly season yet up north and often the wind off lake superior helps, but thanks for the heads up reminder as we bring bikes up for memorial day. Sounds like you are getting in some great training! Enjoy!

IronMatron said...

We don't have those blackflies like you do... but we do have them. Ick!
Ange, I can't believe you saw a MOOSE! That is so COOL! I've only seen one once in my life.
I was laughing at the part about Sweden. Last year when in OP I would ride out close to the NH line, and some of those towns--can't even remember their names--were totally ridiculous in terms of hills! With no one there! Total isolation...
Congrats on AA! Woot!

Jennifer Cunnane said...

I am super impressed by the workout and the rankings - whew! Your hard work paid off, its all worth it and you are doing a great job balancing it all. P.S. Hate that the kids are up at crack of dawn too!! it is alway a race for me to get out the door before they wake up on my long sunday bike rides!