Good friends who so kindly check in to see how training is going,
So sorry that I haven’t posted about last Saturday yet! I was completely exhausted afterwards on Saturday (plus I had to work) and then time just got away from me.
Let me tell you about that Dam(n) Hill we call Del Dios Highway and the brick that I’ve been assured ISN’T the hardest (this news makes me very frightened, haha). If you want to see the route, the July 12th image is relatively accurate… our Lake Hodges point was just a mile farther than last time… adding just over two miles to our total bike distance.
As per usual, the day started bright and early. I needed to arrive at Lake Hodges in Escondido at 7:30am for our workout and I was working diligently to achieve that first goal of the day. Since my knee has been bothering me on the ride the last couple of weeks, my old roomie (and current neighbor) came over and taped my knee. She is an angel. Seriously. She woke up on Saturday morning, walked to my apartment, and taped my knee at 6:45am. ANGEL!
I arrived just a couple of minutes late, but I was one of the first teamies there so I felt pretty good about it. I put my bike together, loaded up the camera, phone, gels, and waters. (As an aside, a friend asked, “What are gels?” and I realized that some of you or all of you may not know. Gels are energy bars in a gel consistency. Most of the time, I use PowerBar Gels because the aid stations have had them. The taste is decent, though I’ve learned chocolate is one of my least favorites. The taste is just fine, but it’s a much thicker gel than the other flavors which makes it much more difficult to consume while riding… at least for me. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.) I checked in with our coordinator Heather and talked to my teammates.
We had our weekly Mission Moment courtesy of Mike, received wisdom from Coach (who we missed dearly the week before as he was officiating a Half Ironman in Solana County), met some fantastic alums who were joining us/helping us with the ride, and got ready to go.
I alerted Coach to my continued knee pain before we headed out and he had me go around the parking lot a few times first. He lowered my seat a smidge (although is now considering raising it again) and told me that I need to constantly remind myself that my heel must NEVER be lower than my toe. Never. Ever. It seems that I’d overcorrected my toe down (which leads to numb toes) to heel down (which strains the knee). The pressure should be on the ball of your foot.
I began the ride and instantly noticed how much more concentration it took to remember my foot positioning, but *whatever it takes* became my motto. I also noticed how fatigued I felt. After sand intervals last Tuesday, pool swim on Wednesday, and ocean swims on Thursday and Friday, I was tired. My body was tired. I knew that I just had to push through though and I did my absolute best.
I still couldn’t get all the way up Rancho Rd, but I made it up that first steep section a little bit farther than last time before having to hop off and walk the rest of the way to the highway. I survived the first trip up the dam(n) hill (the hill where Lake Hodges Dam is visible that also happens to be horrendous) and noticed that the ride down to the beach was about as tough as I remembered. My knee wasn’t hurting, but it was still a difficult ride and I found myself stopping more frequently that I expected I would on the first half of the ride. I was extremely grateful for Iris (a teammate) running SAG that day. I caught her at the top of a hill and was refilled with water and Accelerade to push me through the rest of my downhill journey.
I got all the way to Fletcher Cove and had an immediate turn around to go back up… no more rest stops for chatting! As Coach says, “The honeymoon is over!” I did end up stopping about halfway up Lomas Santa Fe for a water/gel break. My knee had just started having twinges too, so I wanted to try and alleviate pain before it got worse. I got back on and trekked up that hill. Once more, Iris saved the day at the perfect time and I had another refill and also got ice for my helmet. What an amazing feeling!! It also saved the water for drinking instead of pouring over my head!
The ride back up the mountain was much easier, overall, than the ride down. The way the hills roll really assists you on the bike and I was regularly able to use my downhill speed and momentum to throttle me up the next hill. The dam(n) hill still got me though. Oh! It’s so brutal. It took me nearly 20 minutes to go the toughest, steepest portion of the climb (between the mile 10 and mile 11 markers). Iris was there to great me nearly all the way to the top and I had more refills, encouragement, and ice. I booked it from the 11 marker to the 12 and just zoomed along the rest of the way. Approximately 27 miles later, my knee didn’t hurt and I’d completed the ride in just under three hours.
Then, I set off on a four mile run. My legs could not run. They were cramped, tired, and terribly angry with me at the suggestion that they move. At all. We made an agreement, my legs and my brain, that we’d do a walk/run combination and that stops for stretching out the calves would be allowed. I completed the first mile about 3 minutes slower than what my per mile 10K pace would be… though that projected 10K pace is on the basis of a 10K alone, not incorporating the prior swim and bike. That being said, I wasn’t terribly disappointed in my time, but I do wish I could speed it up. My second mile was faster than the first, but my third and fourth miles aren’t accurate representations as I actually went farther than the mile marker by accident… oops! My four mile run turned into a four and a quarter mile run.
All in all, it took me just under four hours to complete 27 miles of tough hills and 4.25 miles of trail running. Wow!