It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. Am I thankful for this weekend? Not right now, but I will be come race day. Over 15 hours of training this weekend, albeit extended with Monday off for the holiday. So how did I spend my weekend?
Friday - Birthday Swim, The Sequel
My friend Tim decided that I should swim 40x100m on 2 minutes for my fortieth birthday, which we did back in May. Then my coach, Kirsty, decided that would be a good workout to repeat. She obviously didn't read the post where I said I didn't want to do that again. Luckily Tim is always up for a hard pool session, and he recruited his friend Joel to join us.
Friday evening (yeah, I'm so cool this is how I spend my Friday nights) the three of us met at the Nanaimo Aquatic Center (I thought I'd come to them, since they were agreeing to do this torture of their own free will) and headed out. This time, we were allowed the luxury of an extra minute rest after each 10. The first ten went by fairly smoothly, with me hitting all of the 100's well under 1:40. Tim and Joel were both cruising, and Joel didn't even seem to be working as he hit the wall in 1:20 each time.
The second ten went by with me holding sub-1:40, much to my surprise. After our extra rest, we started on our third ten, and at number 24 my body added another 5 seconds... I felt I was giving the same effort, but out of nowhere I was now sub-1:45 consistently. Tim and Joel said the same was happening to them, but how could I be sure when they were at the wall so much before me, and looking cool and relaxed by the time I pulled in. Our last minute rest, then the last set of 10 - still the extra five seconds but I was able to whittle that off for the last few. Then Tim suggested the last 100 should be done as IM - I'm pretty sure it was sheer will that got me through the fly!
After the swim, Tim and I went for dinner and pigged out - even shared a slice of key lime pie for dessert. Mmmm - key lime pie... all fueled up for tomorrow.
Saturday - I've clearly angered Mother Nature
Saturday dawned a grey day, and I was up early for a master's swim workout. My arms weren't too happy about that, but at least Amanda (our swim coach) had a workout of mainly 25's and 50's, so I survived. Then home, breakfast, and out onto the bike for a planned seven hours.
Yes, I said seven hours. I had been dreading that workout all week. I hadn't ridden seven since 2006, when Catherine and I did a two-person team for the 24 Hours of Adrenalin in Idyllwild, California. It wasn't raining, so I couldn't complain as two weeks ago my long ride was in brutal conditions of heavy wind and rain. The sky didn't look great, but I thought "hey, it's dry now so get out the door"... famous last words (part 1) of course.
The first four hours were uneventful. Through Cowichan Bay, around Shawnigan, to the Mill Bay ferry, then back through Cowichan Bay. At three hours it had started to rain lightly, but nothing to be worried about. Jason met me at the four hour mark with a sandwich and new bottles, and my cyclocross bike in case the weather took a turn for the worse. But it was only a light sprinkle (famous last words part 2), so I stayed on the Transition and headed north for the last three hours of the ride.
About a half hour later, the light sprinkle turned into a deluge. I kept going, figuring I was wet at this point so no use turning around and riding the trainer. I kept going some more, and the skies grew darker and the rain even harder. I gave myself a goal - I had to get to a certain point and then I could turn around - and this made it easier as I focused on the road. Puddles were growing huge and deep, and my tires were making me nervous as they didn't have much tread on them. I got to my turn-around point and carefully started making my way back. Around puddles, through puddles, through torrents of water pouring down from side roads... it was getting insane.
I was soaked right through my jacket, my glasses were useless, and water kept streaming off my helmet onto my nose. A truck blew by me right through a puddle and completely doused me. This was my breaking point; I actually started crying and decided to call for back-up. I pulled into a building with an overhang and called Jason's cell. No answer. Called the home phone. No answer. Cell again, no answer. Back on my bike, I told myself to stop crying and ride home.
I headed for home along my usual route, gulping back tears even though I wouldn't have felt them on my sopping wet face anyway. And just at the top of a climb, I saw Jason's car driving towards me and pull over. At first I thought I may as well finish the ride since I was at six and half hours, but he convinced me to get in the car. He had covered the seat with towels for me, took my bike, and I climbed in. It took a while to warm up once we got home, and I spent the evening wondering if my long rides could find even worse weather. I better be careful with that thought - we may end up with a freak snowstorm at this point!
Sunday - Victoria Half Marathon
Jason was running the half marathon, and Tim and I decided we'd ride into Victoria and then follow the race around on our bikes. But it's pretty dark this time of year at 5 am, so we drove in with Jason to the outskirts of town and rode from there. It was still pitch black when he dropped us off before 6:30, but being the adventurous souls we are, we decided to take the Galloping Goose trail anyway. We couldn't see anything for the first half hour of our ride, but I know the trail and it's flat, wide, and smooth. So we trusted that knowledge and it worked out fine. As we pedaled it got light, and soon a beautiful day dawned, if a bit chilly, and we arrived in Victoria's inner harbour in time to see the start.
After cheering friends on at the 2km mark, we headed out on the course for some more encouraging cheers and applause. Jason was running well, and we had to book it to the finish to see him cross the line in 1:15:30 - 3rd in master's 40+ and 2nd in 40-44 males. Nice job, Jason! We watched the start of the marathon and cheered on friends in that race, then back on the bikes and again out on the race course. Tim and I rode for hours, cheering on friends and random people. Again we had to book it back to the finish to see Tim's friend Catrin win the women's race in 2:52 - wow!
Tim & I cheering runners on at the 32k mark
Monday - Tired and Cranky
Monday, a holiday, so finally I got to sleep in. But it was not a rest day, and once up I was once again out on the bike. A three hour ride which I had little motivation and tired legs for. Jason rode with me to spin out his legs from his hard effort from the day before. A couple of times on the ride I wanted to turn around and go home, but stuck it out as I knew I'd have low points during Ironman, and needed to know I could overcome them and keep going. I snapped at Jason a couple of times, and knew it was just fatigue setting in. I couldn't do anything about it though, and felt bad every time I bit his head off.
I made it through the ride, quickly changed and headed out for a quick run. Like the earlier ride, I didn't have a lot of motivation and wasn't excited to be heading out. However, I was just starting to get into the run when I hit the time, Jason picked me up and we headed to get some food. Amazing how food can do wonders for grumpiness.
The rest of the weekend was spent on the couch, but I was working as I marked my student's tests. But at least my legs were up and not moving anymore. Total workout time this weekend: 15 hours and 35 minutes. Some holiday. Happy thanksgiving - I'll be thankful for this weekend in six weeks!