26 days: Crawling out from under the wreckage

I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013 – the day I run in Ironman Lake Tahoe. Less than one month away! Raised so far: $9,032! Want to increase this total? Chip in a few bucks to one of our causes here!

Crawling Out From Under the Wreckage

I didn’t fully let on to it in my Facebook post after my ride on Sunday… but that ride completely buried me. Here is the series of posts about that ride.

Before the ride:

Altitude training with some serious climbs. Going to hurt (hurt so good)

Immediately after the ride:

On the contrary. That hurt so BAD! Ride is done, and it was less pleasant than planned.

Upon returning home and downloading the ride stats:

Ride stats for the day: 56.9 miles. 6,900 vertical feet of climbing with a peak elevation of 6,600ft. 2,900 calories burned. Road temps between 90 and 100 all day (peaking at 102.2F). And a messed up lower back in the process – couldn’t even pedal downhill on the way back. Plus they just put fresh chip seal on the roads – very, very rough rough ride.

And the renderings of the GPS data:

What 6,900 feet of climbing looks like

What 6,900 feet of climbing looks like

What that kind of climb looks like on the Angeles Crest Highway from above

What that kind of climb looks like on the Angeles Crest Highway from above

But, what I didn’t say about this ride:

It absolutely, positively buried me. You’ve heard the phrase “turned inside out” before? Yeah, it was that kind of ride. I finished off dehydrated, my lower back hurting so badly that I couldn’t even pedal while going downhill. I was humbled by a ride I shouldn’t have tried – I was under-fueled, under-hydrated, and under-rested before trying this ride.

For comparison purposes, this ride was roughly comparable to what I’ll face at Ironman Lake Tahoe. Though it was half as long (56 miles vs. 112 miles), it had more climbing (6,900ft vs. 5,240ft), and was ridden at mostly the same altitude.

Simply put, completing this ride gives me immense confidence with 4 weeks until race day that I can take on the Tahoe bike course. On the downside… this ride absolutely crushed me. Left me annihilated.

The day after this ride, Monday, was my usual rest day. Perfect timing, as I felt like $#!+. In fact, that feeling carried over through Tuesday… I forced myself down to the gym for a late afternoon swim – and knocked out the best swim I’ve had in weeks. But I still felt like, well, $#!+. I was this close to bailing on my planned 7-mile ‘recovery’ run (cruising pace – no pushing it). Every part of my being wanted to not do this run…

Well, every part but one. What part that was, I’m not sure… but it forced me to crawl out from under the wreckage of Sunday’s ride. To deal with the sore back. To go hit the road and face whatever demons were lurking.

The first half mile hurt – it felt awkward, and I could still feel the effects of dehydration. And then something just CLICKED. It went from horrible… to effortless with the flip of a switch. No more sore back. No more dehydration. There was only the road, the tap-tap-tap of my feet on the sidewalk, the wind, and the feeling of renewed energy. The ickiness of the last two days melted away with the miles. The miles looked something like this:

  1. 6:48
  2. 6:30
  3. 6:33
  4. 6:35
  5. 6:02
  6. 6:05
  7. 6:12

It all felt smooth, easy, and comfortable. 7 miles at 6:24 average pace. And it just goes to show that you can surprise yourself on how well things can go when you dare to drag yourself, arm over arm, out from under the rubble of a humbling, painful experience. It also gives me yet one more experience to pull from when things get rough during the big race. Every little weapon will help… and all will be required.

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