Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lake Country Du/Discovery Run - Week 3 & 4

Week 3 (September 7th - September 13th)

Question: What do you do when you want to knock off another section of the Ice Age Trail, but your training plan calls for a run?  

Answer: Find a short section and go for a trail run!  

Mr. R&R and I did an out and back on the Waterville Segment (hiking blog update coming soon).  We ran from the trailhead where it intersected the Glacial Drumlin trail and about half a mile later we were spat out onto a country road full of big rolling hills for just over a mile.  Not really trail, but the road section is a temporary connector.  We ran the flats and downhills and walked the most of the big hills.  Finally, we reconnected with the actual Ice Age Trail.  The trail run made the road section worth it.  There were only a few monster hills, I only tripped 3 or 4 times (caught myself and didn't fall), and the handful of prairie sections were short and scenic.  It was the best 6 miles of trail I've ever run and I look forward to doing it again - soon!

Trail Running Perfection
After a relaxing week off, it was back to the salt mines. Fortunately it was pouring down rain all day, so being stuck inside all day was a little traumatic.  Since I'd put over 50 miles on my body in the last 3 days, it was a rest day.  I used the down time to:
- Grocery Shop - so we won't starve or go out to dinner this week
- Iron A Few Things - so I don't have to go to work nekkid or in running clothes
- Blog - because I was 2 weeks behind and I still need to work on the hiking blog

What is it about work and sucking all the motivation out of a person?  I had every intention of parking my butt on the trainer for an hour, but only managed to put in 30 minutes before my growling stomach demanded that I go upstairs and eat - NOW!  Fortunately it was a good 30 minutes.

Neither Mr. R&R nor I wanted to do a damn thing tonight, so we compromised with a 3 mile walk while catching up on each other's day.

I took the night off to have dinner with a friend I haven't seen since her oldest child was 3 months old - and she's going to be 4 in a few months!  I guess time really does fly, but if you would have heard the two of us chatting, you'd think we'd just hung out last week.  I definitely missed hanging out with her and will NOT let 4 more years go by again.

Q: What happens when Yada Yada gets a tri bike and his road bike spends an entire season hanging in the garage?

A: He and Texas convince Mr. R&R to test ride it as a possible upgrade.

We headed up to Yada Yada and Texas' house early Saturday morning to fetch the bike before they left for a century ride a few hours further north - and ended up having the most delicious diner breakfast I've ever had.  As a bonus, I kept expecting Sam and Dean Winchester to walk through the door!

Waiting for a demon to show up an cause lots of trouble.

Once we got the bike home, we got Mr. R&R roughly fitted to it and went for a ride.  We worked our way slowly along the pothole riddled roads to my mom's house to check out her latest home improvements and then continued on to the New Berlin Trail.  That was just plain fun.  Mr. R&R took off like a bat out of hell and I used the long stretch of straight pavement to practice riding (and drinking) in aero.  The ride back was even more fun since it's a slight downhill, so free speed is the name of the game.  At one point I was flying down the trail at almost 23mph, fully in aero, and having a blast!  The ride home was at a pretty pedestrian pace due to lots of busy roads and then of course, the thing I absolutely loathe happened...the dead standstill tip over.  We were riding on the sidewalk up one of the busiest roads in the city and when I unclipped my left foot to stop, I didn't lean far enough to my left to put my foot down, so I tipped over onto my right side.  I fell about a foot off a curb into a parking lot with lots of rocks and gravel.  Ouch!  When I finally managed to unclip my right foot and lift my bike off me, the bike was fine and I was missing a bunch of skin on my right elbow and right knee.  Damn.  That's the same side that took all the abuse/damage a few years ago when I crashed at the Shoreline Duathlon.  I really need to figure out how to spread the pain better!

I was pretty sore after my fall, so working out wasn't happening.  I went to work for a couple of hours  and then Mr. R&R and I headed to Madison to watch the run leg of Ironman Wisconsin.  Remember a few years ago when I went out there to watch the Iron Cheerleader finish IM #4 and he swore it was the last one?  He lied. He was going for IM #5 and another one of my tri friends was going after his first and I didn't want to miss it!  We parked at the Alliant Energy Center and watched a few bikes come down the hill (lots of pretty bikes to look at) before catching a shuttle that dropped us off about a block from the finish line.  We started walking along the run course and found an opening around Mile 12.  A quick check of showed that both my teammate and the Iron Cheerleader should be passing by our post within the next 20 minutes - they were within minutes of each other at the last checkpoint.

We passed the time cheering for the athletes as they ran by and checking out the various signs people were waving.

First came my teammate (sorry - no pictures) and a few minutes later, the Iron Cheerleader appeared. I shouted his name and he paused for a quick hug and hello before continuing on to the halfway point and his special needs bag.

Mr. R&R and I trotted a few miles down the road and waited for them to come by again.

The Iron Cheerleader came by looking much happier after retrieving a can of Pringles from his special needs bag.  We figured we had at least an hour and a half before either of the guys finished, so dinner was our next order of business.   We spotted an Indian restaurant with a 2nd story balcony overlooking the run course - perfect!

Another quick check of after dinner showed that it was time to start heading for the finish line.  Both of them had some how picked up speed and were flying!  As we hustled back up State Street, I had to stop and take a picture - this is what the athletes see as they're headed for home.

Pretty cool, huh?
We opted to stand about half a mile from the end rather than fighting the four-deep crowds at the finish and it was a good choice.  I watched my teammate fly by on his way to a 12 hour, 43 minute finish and the Iron Cheerleader thundered by on his way to a 12 hour, 58 minute finish (16 minutes faster than he did in 2013).

Mr. R&R and I worked our way to the finish line and somehow managed to find the Iron Cheerleader in the crowd to congratulate him.  He swore, once again, that this was it.  No more Ironman for him.  Somehow I have a hard time believing him, but only time will tell.

The Home Stretch

(Insert Your Name Here), You. Are. An. Ironman!
Watching Ironman never fails to inspire me. I hope that someday I can be half the athlete that these men and women are.

Week 4 (September 14th-20th)

It was a loooonnnngggg day at the office after getting home late from Madison.  I really wanted to crawl onto the couch and take a nap, but I somehow talked myself into going for a run.  Ugh.  Total mess of a run, but I guess three crappy miles are better than no miles.

I was going to ride my bike in the basement, but Mr. R&R beat me to the trainer (we need a second one) so I decided to try to redeem myself in the running department.  It was much cooler and less humid out - and the run went so much better.

Mr. R&R spent his evening at Emery's getting his new bike custom-fitted and I spent those hours glued to my desk chair.  It was super late and I didn't have enough in the tank to do anything major when I got home, so I joined Mr. R&R for a quick mile just to shake out the legs before dinner.  I also put my bike in the trainer to test whether or not my skinned elbow had healed enough to allow me to ride in aero.  It wasn't the most comfortable experience of my life (elbow is still pretty bruised), but it was manageable.  Phew!  I really didn't want to have to race my old bike this weekend.

I thought I got home late yesterday.  Hah!  I didn't get home until almost 7:30pm tonight.  The only things I was capable of doing was eating a bowl of macaroni and cheese, petting bunnies, and going to bed.  On a more fun note, I put up a few Halloween decorations in my office so I don't have to feel like I'm totally missing out on one of my favorite holidays.

Crazy day at work - so crazy that I ate a banana in the morning and then completely forgot about food until about 5pm.  Not the way I want to lead up to a race.  I came home, scarfed a Clif Bar and hustled off to see some friends at the bar.  It was fun and I managed to limit myself to one beer - and enough water to fill a swimming pool.  That was followed by lights out at 10pm.

It's amazing what 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep can do for your state of mind.  Mr. R&R and I walked a couple of miles for coffee and breakfast and then came home and changed into our bike clothes.

If you've been reading here for a while, you probably just heard the metaphorical record scratch and are now saying something like, "What?  She went for a ride the day before a race?"  Yes, I did.  Mr. R&R was telling me that Brent Emery gave him a new pre-race strategy to try out, so  I figured I'd try it too.

We hit the New Berlin Trail for about 14 miles at a reasonable, but not killing it, pace.  I was pretty pissed off when less than a quarter of a mile in I had a mechanical issue.  My chain dropped - and Mr. R&R was too far ahead of me to hear me shout that something wasn't right (he's ridiculously fast to begin with and even faster on his new wheels), so I got to work figuring out how to fix it.  My hands ended up covered in grease and gunk, but I finally got the damn thing back on, wiped my hands off on the grass and then on my jersey, and got on with the business of riding.  The whole debacle only cost me about 10 minutes, but it was a loooonnnng ride staring at my filthy hands on the aero bars in front of me.  Oh well.  Better today than on race day.  I stayed aero as much as I could, only sitting up at road crossings and a couple of times when the wind was so strong that I felt like my bike was going to fly out from under me.  I met up with Mr. R&R at the turnaround and we rode back together. The overall pace was fairly respectable and I had a couple of seriously kick ass miles in there!  Maybe Brent is on to something?

After our ride, we set up shop in the back yard to clean, degrease, and re-lube our chains.  I wasn't really planning on doing this, but after getting up close and personal with my chain, it was a necessity because that thing was foul.

Next up was a quick run to Endurance House about 30 minutes away for packet pick up and then we decided to drive out to the race site since it's totally new to us.  Once there, we attempted to drive the bike course based on a rather crummy map.  We drove at least half of it, noting where the turns are, significant hills, rail crossings, and one spot that seemed to have quite a bit of broken glass that will need to be avoided.  Good things to know.

Finally, it was time for all the usual pre-race rituals: high carb dinner, gather the race gear, hydrate, and try to get some sleep because the alarm is going to go off at Stupid O'Clock.

Lake Country Duathlon!  Check back tomorrow or early next week for a race recap!

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