Friday, September 11, 2009


Think of all the different numbers that add up to 100.
100 miles that is.
I headed out this morning for a 100 miles of riding. I was feeling good about this ride. I was 'in the mood' for it today. The weatherman said rain earlier in the week and I feared either a miserable 6 hrs in the cold rain or a torturous long long day on the trainer. Instead...perfect Fall weather. Cool, crisp and sunny. Ok, I realize this is not ideal for Kona prep. So I donned my Michellen Man get up as Steve ( Mainsport) suggested.

Back to the math. I contemplated my route all week. For my Lake Placid training, I had a handy 2 loop route....100 miles exactly. The problem? It's over a few mountains. It was absolutely ideal for my first that took us up and over the Adirondack mountains. Not so ideal for what I'm told Kona is like. Apparently it's mostly big gear grinding....some long gradual climbs and lots of wind. Hot-hair-dryer-in-your-face wind.

At first I thought I might ride to Freeport. That's where Mom and Dad live. I could stop, say hi for 10 minutes, fill the water bottles and head home. There would be fewer hills and more flats. The problem? It's about oh...8 towns away? It's just far from hour drive. Sometimes I am just not in the mood to go so so farrrrrrrrr away from home on my little bike. Plus, there would be construction to avoid, tons of big 18 wheelers at times, bad shoulders, and a city to navigate.

Just last night I decided to do a nice loop I have here in town. Four times. Umm.....why would I want to do that? It's sounds a little abusive. And the boredom factor was a little daunting. But I liked the idea of staying right around town. After loop two, I could swing into Mark's office and grab new bottles that I would leave in a cooler in his car. I could take off or add clothing. The route is a bit hilly for the first half, but there are sections of great flat for me to attack. And, I could descend. I could practice IM pacing.

If it was easy, it would have been 4 x 25 miles. I couldn't remember how far the loop was-exactly. In the 20s. 26? 28? I wasn't sure. I would figure it all out on the first loop.
So I left home at 9:08. Only 8 minutes late. not bad. This did matter though. More on that later.
Down the hill to the main road. 1.5 miles. Ok. remember that.
Around loop one. 27.5 miles. Ok. So the loop without the hill back home is 26 miles.
I could do 3 loops and that would be 78 miles. Add the 1.5 down the hill and I'm at 79.5. Only 20.5 left.
I can't do a 4th loop as planned. that would be too far! why not go too far!??

Well....another math problems goes through my head at that point. See that photo on my blog heading. Yup...the 3 boys! That's why I can't go too far. Time! I left at 9 after dropping them at 8:30. They get out of school at 3:05 but today I convinced them it would be fun to take the bus. ( I always pick them up. Our bus takes 40 minutes and we live 3 miles I pick them up.) Back to the time. I had until 3:40? 3:45? 3:50? This was a problem. I didn't know! They haven't taken the bus this year.
I knew I had to KEEP moving out there on this ride because I had a finite period of time so I could also do my 30 minute run.

All this is going through my head while I'm looping around my town. Every hour goes by and I review my nutrition plan. Endurance amino yet? Salt? HOw is the bottle? Should be 1/4 gone...keep drinking.
Pedal pedal harder harder! Pick up the pace girlfriend!

Then back to my math. I decided to call Mark and convince him to ride loop 3 with me. He's racing next weekend and needs the occasional nudge to get out there and train. He jumped in for the fun and met me on the roads. But 2 minutes into his ride-Flat! I rode on and then back tracked a few times to wait for him to catch up. that threw off my numbers.

When loop 3 was done, and I dropped him back at our road, I had 14 miles. what to do.....I didn't have a handy 14 mile loop. I had to do some back and forth stuff. Blah. No fun. I had already travelled these main roads 4 times! I was a getting sick of it. No matter how good you feel on a ride, by mile 86, enough is enough. At least for me. I just dont' need to ride much longer than that to feel good. At least when you're in the Ironman, you have the whole "I'm about to run a marathon" thing to distract you the last few miles. I was just out there pushing as hard as I could counting miles.
I had to get back to the house by 3:00 in order to change and get out and run. It was going to be close.
I headed out on the road to the kids school. It was newly paved and fairly flat. I could go 7 miles and turn around and all would be good. One mile into that plan and it was thwarted by a school bus. It was stopping every 30 ft and that was not part of the plan. I had to move Faster than that!
I headed back down to the big fast road and road back adn forth. I did my math again. Now 11 miles to go. 5.5 miles Back down route 26. I can do it. Just. Keep. going. I would turn at mile 93.
89. 9.....91.2.....91.9...would it Pleeeeeeeese just turn to 93!!!? Torture. I had had it!!! And then I saw it 93. Ahhh. I turned.
this all may seem a bit obsessive. But I know that all of you out there who head out for 100 mile rides wouldn't stop at 97, or 98, or even 99.6 either. Right? Admit it. You must see 100!!
So I rode on. And on and on. It just never ended.
2:54. I was on the clock. It was close.
The problem now was getting home. Back UP the 1.5 mile hill. It hurts at that point. It's brutal. I live half way up a long long hill. So when I ride, I start down and end UP. When I run, I start with a big climb and end down. Tough warm up on the run and tough finish on the bike. I try to convince myself Every single time that it makes me stronger.

And finally....I got to the driveway. 99.6. You have GOT to be kidding me. Yes, I turned around. I was not getting that close to log 99.6 in the book!
Ok, that's better. 100.01. Perfect.
3:06. If I was out by 3:10 I could do it.
And I did. I ran up that hill. I felt good. I felt Great! I have been waiting for some great runs. I am actually more convinced than every that I am officially just a triathlete now. My runs are just fabulous off the bike. Much much better than straight out the door. I need to bike first. That's all there is too it.
I finished with 10 minutes to spare. Enough time for a quick recovery drink and to run the ice bath.
The boys came off the bus and just like that---my workout was history. Immediately into Mom mode again. It's hard switch gears like that...but I wouldn't want it any other way.


Michelle Simmons said...

Love this post! That's exactly how it is, isn't it? Down to the minute finishing those miles so you can be back ON as a mom again. I think I've convinced Scott to take Moana with him to his soccer game tomorrow so I can do my long brick in peace and not have to worry about what time I get home. Wouldn't that be a nice change? :)

Although, I have to say, my long loop is 95 miles and I don't go cruise around for 2.5 more miles out and back just to hit 100. You're more of a bull that way than me!

MaineSport said...

I love the math stream of concienceness. We all do it. But once again, Ms. Michelin, NO PICTURES!

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD said...

What a great post! I do math as well when I am riding. when I ride alone, I'm always thinking about the outs and backs, loops, etc. to keep me entertained. Great workout and the kiddos didn't even know you were gone :)

Jennifer Harrison said...

HA! Seriously, I jump into the house too and try to change to walk to pick up the kids with 5 min (if that) to spare...always down to the wire! The kids are SO used to seeing me all grimmy they don't even acknowledge it anymore...just another day! :))) Nice work on the training. I know it is hard, but WE ARE SO CLOSE!!!!!!!!!

Marit C-L said...

You did it!!!! I know exactly what you mean about that 99.6 thing... :) Way to go! I'll think about this on my long ride tomorrow...Honestly - I DO NOT know how people with kids do an IM...I am so excited to meet you and Michelle... you two are just incredible!

Way to go Ange - hang in there, we're almost there!

Jennifer Cunnane said...

Yeah! Great training, now you just need those kiddos to work on helping you make some post workout recovery meal! Wouldn't it be nice to if our bike odometers rounded up?? :-)