I'm still laughing about the title of this post. While most people might say "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", I think the blog title is basically the same thing. I can't take credit for this either as it was said to me by my friend & training partner, Michelle. Let's just say our 90 mile ride wasn't quite as uneventful as I had hoped. But maybe we should back up a bit. :)
Our normal Sunday ride was moved to Saturday morning due to the Easter holiday. Michelle, Stew & I were meeting at Terramont Park for our 90 miles on the roads of the IMTX course. My phone rang at 5:30am and it was Chris, letting me know she'd be joining us (don't worry, she didn't wake me up as I'd been up for 30min already)! As I packed my drinks the night before, I realized Keith hadn't been able to fix my drink cage before going out of town so I was going to need to make some modifications. No problem! I had spare change collecting in my car, purse and couch that I would scrounge up and just buy drinks in Richards, our turn around mark. Crisis averted! I decided I would also freeze a bottle of sports drink and attach it to my CamelBak. As I rigged this up Saturday morning, it occurred to me it may not be the best idea. See, there is a bungee cord type thingy on the CamelBak but I think it's intended to keep gear like clothes secured, not a 24oz frozen bottle that could double into a rocket when a bump in the road presented itself. I showed Stew how tight I had it attached and then shook it vigorously, asking him what he thought. He looked at me sympathetically (I think he felt sorry for me that I actually thought I had a good idea) and told me he thought I might just leave the drink behind. I think he had the visual of his wife riding directly behind me, we hit some bumpy road and it shoots off and hits her in the head (I know that was the visual Michelle had when I shared my "great" idea). Poor Stew didn't know he would have two wives to take care of every time we set off on a ride. Before I go on, I just have to say I so appreciate Stew taking care of me and helping me out on long rides. He's helped me with my tires, given me advice and always answered questions I've had. Keith owes him big time!
We set off shortly after 6:30am and took the time to warm up appropriately. I truly love the early parts of these rides b/c we have time to chit-chat a bit and settle in before getting on to the heavier traveled roads. We were taking Fish Creek out to 2854, crossing 105 and heading into the Sam Houston National Forest. While it was certainly humid, it was a beautiful day! Chris had a shorter ride and so turned back on 2854 while Michelle & I forged ahead. Both of us have proven to be navigationally challenged at times but I'm happy to report we didn't get lost once! Honestly, if we did, I wouldn't admit it b/c we should know this course really well by now. We got to Richards feeling great and looking forward to the rest of the ride! We saw so many familiar faces while there and it was really nice to break up the ride a bit. We were half way done and set off the way we came.
Shortly after turning around, we came across a huge snake in the road. Michelle spotted that thing from 1/2 a mile away and alerted me and anyone else in a 50 mile radius with her yelling. I couldn't help but laugh b/c she kept hollering even after we passed the nasty thing. We have no idea what kind of snake it was but all I know is that it was still moving and I did't want to know if it was poisonous. As we turned back on to 149, we saw Coach G & Greg and attempted to draft off them a bit. The wind was out in full force and not being very nice to us. I was not having fun. Somewhere between 60 & 65 miles, I was having crazy back pain. As we turned on to Lone Star Pkwy, Gena & Greg had pulled off so she could stretch her back and I was so happy because mine was killing me. I put my head down and tears just started flowing. Looking back now, I should've composed myself better b/c I know good & well that 60 miles seems to be the point for me on every ride where I have "mental" issues. Whatever the case, what was going on in my back was far from mental. When Michelle realized I was in tears, she came to console me. Gena asked if it would help to know I wasn't the only one in tears. While I would never wish anyone to be in pain, I was very grateful Coach could relate to me that day. We started back up and kept battling the wind. About 6 miles later, we were stopping again. Man, this was going to be a rough time back. I told Michelle to go without me b/c I didn't want to ruin her ride but she wasn't hearing it. She refused to leave us and really was a great cheerleader for us. I'm so glad she stayed with us!
2854 isn't too bad and I usually enjoy being on it b/c I know we're closer to home but I hated it on Saturday. The wind was not letting up and I was over the ride. We turned off on Honea Egypt thinking it might shave off a few miles and help us get back easier but we were a little wrong. This was one heck of a winding road with lots of traffic. All in all, not too different from Dog Loop so we didn't mind too terribly much. Well, at least not until we turned one of the many curves and saw an uphill. I'm sure the hill wasn't really that big but after the ride we had, it may as well have been Mount Everest. Ok, maybe not that big. Maybe more like Kilimanjaro....big but not super challenging. :) And then, like a Cadbury Cream Egg on Easter morning, we were hitting Fish Creek just 1 mile from 1488. YES! By this time it was H O T, Gena was dry (no more fluids) and I was about 4 sips from being dry. We bought water and Gena got a fountain drink....Dr. Pepper (aka my kryptonite). After having as much as she needed, Gena let me have some and I tell you it was the best Dr. Pepper I have ever had. As soon as this bubbly drink hit my lips, it was like the sweetest nectar! Two sips and I was feeling good. Michelle had a little too and we were back on our way. 5 miles and we would be done (well not really b/c we still had to run).
As we pulled into Terramont, I was so happy to be done. I was amazed though b/c it seems like once we hit 80 miles, the pain started to subside and I didn't want to quit as much as I had wanted to earlier. In fact, I was looking forward to a slow run off the bike. Gena had already shortened my run and I shortened further still to only 11 minutes. While it wasn't easy, my long workout for the weekend was done.
Sunday morning I woke up to run and had my usual bfast before my long workouts. Only this time, I threw it up on my dog's head. Gross. What was going on with me? I decided I would run anyway but knew I wouldn't make it a full 18 but that would be ok. After my run, I called Gena to talk about what was going on with me. Saturday, I wanted to quit. I was done. Mainly, I was doubting myself and my abilities big time. Sunday I was looking at it with a better perspective and knew I didn't want to quit but needed some advice/support. Having a coach is beyond invaluable. And having a coach like Gena is really even better. Because she's racing too, she knows exactly how her athletes feel. It means so much to have her tell me she's been there before and knows what I'm going through but to keep going b/c she knows I can do it.
Training this past weekend was beyond hard and I know training this coming weekend won't be much easier. I have 100 miles on the bike that I will be doing alone due to my schedule. For me, this is going to be a big test of how much I want this. I won't have Gena or Michelle there to keep me going. I won't have Stew to answer my dumb questions. I won't have Keith to come and get me if I call it quits. Once I set off for 100 miles, I'm in. Gena told me how "lucky" I was to have these experiences because come race day, I'm going to know exactly what to do. What an awesome way to look at things. I'm not getting lemons thrown at me for nothing! I just need to make a big ass pitcher of lemonade. :)
I couldn't have gotten through this weekend without my teammates, friends AND family. Without Michelle & Gena, I really think I would've figured out a way to have someone come get me. Period. Chris didn't know it but the text she sent me about the wind cracked me up and I read it right when I needed a laugh. After the workout from hell, I talked to my mom, Stef & Keith and told them all I wanted to quit. And they all told me not to. There are so many others who have been a great support to me through all this with their kind words but this weekend, these folks really had the most impact on me and I just wanted them (and everyone reading my blog) to know how much I appreciated them!
This is the final build week and I'm told taper "madness" will start next week. I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can.
Have a great week!!!!