Sunday, August 4, 2013

Road Gunk, Graduation, and Warm Fuzzy Feelings

This week was a really nice mix of workouts, fun, and good food - with a side of warm, fuzzy feelings.

I may have pissed off a few people in the process, but I finally made it to the beach for open water swim practice tonight.  I signed in, pulled on my wetsuit for the first time in two weeks, promptly discovered that my Garmin was dead. Okay, not the most ideal situation, but I was willing to deal with it - I already knew the distance. Time...well...probably better not to know!  I waded in and spent a little time hanging out in the shallow area acclimating to the water temperature (cold) and hoping A would make an appearance so I'd have someone to swim with. I know I swam the same distance two weeks ago, but without the huge turn buoys, the course looked really imposing and scary.  It became obvious that A wasn't going to make it, so I had to screw up my courage and swim the whole thing solo.  I started out super slow, popped my head up a lot to sight (note to self: scratched up goggles suck in open water), and swam a lot of breaststroke so I wouldn't go off course, but I never had to flip onto my back (which is a sign that I'm either super tired or super freaked out)!  My reward for surviving a solo open water swim was a close encounter with a flock of ducks and dinner with Little Brother!

While I was thrashing around in the water on Monday night, Mr. R&R took his bike to Emery's in hopes of figuring out what has been causing him so much knee pain every time he rides.  After some adjustments to his pedals and cleats, he was sent on his way and told to come back if the problem wasn't solved.  We decided to go for a ride on Tuesday night to test it out.  We arrived at the Rail Trail just as a light rain was beginning to fall and decided to ride anyway. The 7 miles out wasn't too bad. My biggest complaints were low visibility (my glasses kept fogging up), road grit accumulating on my water bottle spout (If you want to experience it for yourself, roll your water bottle in a sandbox and then try to take a drink.), and water running down the back of my shorts!  The ride home was just an exercise in misery, but it was good practice both mentally and physically.  There's always a chance that it will rain on race day.
Not too bad for pouring rain
I think I'm doomed not to make it to track practice.  Once again, I found myself still parked at my desk when I should have been warming up.  The night wasn't a total loss though. Mr. R&R and I took a nice walk on the Eastside, grabbed dinner at our favorite Greek place, and stopped at Whole Foods to pick up greens for Walter and Spot.

Villa Terrace Museum at Sunset
And since it was the last day of July, I also tallied up my mileage for the month.
Swim: 5,720 yards (3.25 miles)
Bike: 59.31 miles
Run: 25.94 miles
Total Distance: 88.93 Miles
Total Time: 11 hours, 30 minutes

I wasn't really in the mood to run when I made it home on Thursday night, but eventually I talked myself into an easy 3.  I wore my Mirage 3's and had a great run as far as mile splits go. Unfortunately, I kept getting shin splints in my right leg (usually a rookie problem) and my right ankle was a little sore when I got home.  An icepack helped a lot.

The plan for Friday was to leave work (summer hours), hit the pool for a while, and meet a few of The Usual Suspects for drinks. What actually happened: I got sucked in by the gravitational pull of my bed and ended up taking a 2 hour nap before I met The Suspects!

On Saturday, the Newbie Herd celebrated our "graduation" at the Iron Cheerleader's house.  There were burgers, beers (so many varieties of beer, far too much fruit (this is what happens when you generically say 'bring a dish to pass'), and a few tears.  The first tears belonged to the Iron Cheerleader and then to the rest of us!  We all chipped in for a little "thank you" gift and it turns out that it couldn't have come at a better time for him.  He told us a the story of what had transpired the night before the party and by the time he was finished, there wasn't a dry eye in the place. It turns out that the Iron Cheerleader's Ironman training isn't going well at all.  He's drastically under-trained and the race is in 5 weeks - that's the blink of an eye in the scope of Ironman training.  He met with his life coach on Friday night and unburdened himself  to her about how badly things were going, how overextended he was, how he wasn't sure if he should continue leading the tri club's Newbie program next year, and that he was having serious doubts about his ability to finish his final Ironman, much less to break his PR - which was his goal from the outset. The life coach worked with him to evaluate and revamp his goals. Instead of chasing a monster PR, his new goal is to finish the race 1 minute faster than his current PR - and if he doesn't pull it off, he'll still finish and be proud to hear Mike Reilly call him and Ironman for the fourth time.  Apparently the life coach decided that that was also the moment to spring part of our gift on him.  She told him that he needed to believe in himself - after all, his most recent pack of Newbies believed in him enough to pay for the session that they were having that night - and the next one.   By this point, the Iron Cheerleader had tears running down his face and he thanked us for inspiring him enough to keep at it.  We were all stunned - and a little teary eyed as well.  When he opened our other little gift, he was shocked.  It turns out that he's been having massive bike problems - and our gift card to the bike shop we all use will help alleviate some of the financial burden of the repairs.  

After all the emotional stuff, it was time for cake!
The bakery couldn't spell, but the cake was good.
While we were munching away, the Iron Cheerleader mentioned that no one has ever been at his 3 previous Ironman's to cheer him on. Sure, there were other people from the tri team along the course, but no one had ever come out specifically for him.  Oops...we made him all emotional again when we told him that 4 of us had volunteered to work a water station during the marathon portion (our shift will likely be during the time that the pros will be on the course) and that after our shift, we were planning to be at the finish line (and possibly at another point along the course - which we haven't told him yet).  We want to be there to push him - the way he pushed us - and to see him become an Ironman for the final time.

Long story short: If you do good things for others, eventually others will do good things for you.

Sunday was kind of a lost cause. I was up at 6am to take Mr. R&R to the airport, did some yard work, spent over 4 hours removing viruses and other little nasties from my mom's computer, and had absolutely no energy left to swim, bike, or run.  Instead, I settled for cleaning my bike. It desperately needed it after Tuesday night's rain ride. Between rainwater, chain grease, road grime, and sweat it was GROSS.

A mixture of chain grease and rainwater
I hosed. I scrubbed. I de-greased. I de-greased again while scrubbing with an old toothbrush and getting spattered with lots of icky stuff.

Nasty road grime in my rear derailleur and cassette
It took forever to get all the gritty crap out of the chain, cassette, and derailleurs. Every time I thought I'd gotten all of it, I found more.  Eventually, I deemed it "clean enough", reattached my front wheel, polished the bike, and hauled it back to the basement so I could put it in the trainer and re-lube the chain.  Normally re-lubing is a two person operation. One person sprays and wipes. The other turns the pedals and runs through the gears so everything gets greased. Since I was on my own, I did a lot of hopping on and off the bike, but so far I think it worked out.  I guess I'll find out the next time I take it for a ride!


April said...

Busy, busy, busy. You are one busy rabbit.

Mary said...

It's a circus sometimes, but I mostly love it!

Anonymous said...

If it makes ya feel better I scrub road grime of badboys harly with a toothbrush. True story.

Mary said...

If it has two requires a toothbrush.