Monday, February 15, 2010

Even With Snow The South Is Still Paradise

Friday morning I finished up a great swim before class and could hardly contain my excitement for my training weekend down in Rocky Mount, NC. My swim on Friday set the tone for what would be a flat out awesome weekend, I finally felt fast and confident in the water again. Some guy even asked the lifeguard if it was the "swim team and if the pool was open, because that guy is really moving." I laughed quietly on that one, the UVA swim team is smoking fast and I can't hold those dude's Speedos!

After class I finished cooking my shredded chicken with black beans, ground buffalo and whole wheat pasta – packed my cooler and was off. I arrived at my hotel in Rocky Mount around 7pm, threw my chicken and beans in the microwave to eat while watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics. I ate the chicken a bit too fast and actually started feeling a little sick after I ate. I also didn't use the dual wave function on my pump well enough and wound up going low so I had to eat a few clif bars and other treats. I then also started to feel really really sick and wound up puiking my guts up as my blood sugar started to rise. This wasn't the best start to the weekend and I felt up feeling not so great on Saturday but hey part of triathlon is fighting through some adversity so I wasn't too worried.

Unfortunately, it snowed across all of eastern North Carolina on Friday night, channeling my days in Mahopac; I gave myself a 2 hour delay. Instead of starting my ride at 8am I started my ride at 10am so the sun had a chance to come out and the roads had a chance to dry. I loaded the ride I picked out from Mapmyride.com onto my Garmin and set out on my 100 mile journey. The first 50 miles of my ride were MISERABLE! The temperature when I started my ride was 32 degrees; there were still some flurries and the roads were still kind of wet. About 20 miles into the ride my blood sugar dropped to 92; because of the two hour delay I gave myself two units of insulin for the clif mojo bar I had at 7am and 1.5 units of insulin for the 2 pieces of whole wheat toast with almond butter I ate an hour and ½ prior to my ride. I think I had too much IOB (insulin on board) causing my blood sugar to drop quickly over those first 20 miles. However, the worst part my zipper on my winter cycling jacket broke! I rode about 10 miles from the time my zipper broke until I found a gas station where I bought some safety pins to at least keep my jacket somewhat together.

After I got through the first 50 miles with a broken jacket, a blustery head wind and some sketch towns the second half of the loop was like Shangri-la. The tax bracket of the second half of the loop was considerably higher than the first half of the loop. I was also sheltered from some of the wind so I was actually able to ride and wasn't half as miserable as I was during the first 50 miles. However, my back did start to bother me on the second half of the loop and I had major problems getting into the aero position. Normally I remove the arms from my cycling jacket to turn it into a vest but because of the cold I kept them on for this ride – big mistake. The zippers that keep the arms in place put a tremendous amount of pressure on my mid back and biceps so that I felt like I was in a straight jacket anytime I went aero. Regardless I made it through my ride averaging 18mph. I finished with a blood sugar of 152 and went for a 10 minute brick just to get my legs used to feeling like two lead bricks.

When I finished I drove over to McDonalds for french fries and coffee, then hit up Sonic for a shake. Once I got back to my hotel room I showered up, flipped on the Olympics and around 7:30 pm ate my dinner. My whole wheat pasta and ground buffalo was deeelicious! However, I was fighting off lows the entire night and wound up eating at least 3 clif bars of different varieties, a snickers bar and drinking a whole lot of odawala super food. I woke on Sunday reminded of how I felt during 2-a-days during college football: dreary eyed, sore legs, a tired mind and dreading just getting out of bed. I learned my lesson from the day before and was happy to see the temperature had warmed up. I jerry-rigged my zipper so that it would hold my jacket together, took the arms off and wore my merino wool jersey with warmers for more flexibility and comfort. More importantly I took in half the amount of Insulin from the prior day for the same amount of food and encountered no lows during my ride!

This ride started off with temperatures in the low 40s and reached the upper 40s by the end of the ride. My legs were tired but as soon as I started my 51 mile loop I felt fresh; the lactic acid started to leave my legs, my mind became clearer and my intensity increased. I stayed in zone 2 for most of my ride because really pushing it had my back screaming but I was able to stay aero for almost the entire ride. The biggest limiting factor to my speed was the pain in my back and legs, Coach Orton and I need to determine if that pain is from a lack of muscle fitness and fatigue or if there is something out of whack with my position. I may go into UVA's "Speed Lab," to have them test out the biomechanics in my position. If I can figure out how to quiet the pain in my back I can post some seriously fast times on my bike. I finished my 51 mile ride with an average pace of 17.8 mph, fueled up a bit with coffee, water and a clif builder bar and set out on a 2 hour run 20 minutes later.

My run was fantastic! During my ride I had found a great 6 mile stretch that had some great hills to run and beautiful scenery. I crushed the first 10 miles of my run, my pace was between 8:40 and 9:05 the entire first 10 miles and I only walked for about 30 seconds to adjust my fuel belt bottles. At mile 10ish my blood sugar started to go a bit low but I knew I had enough in the tank to power through. With my quads screaming I trucked it back to my car and finished my run with an average pace of 9:03; not bad after 150 miles of riding! From there I stopped at Wendy's on my drive back to Charlottesville and had 5 slices of pizza for dinner - ahh the benefits of 14 hours of training!

For nutrition during my rides I followed my usual protocol; on the bike I had a water bottle every 1.5 hours, each bottle had 2 scoops carbo-pro, 2 scoops EFS first endurance, 4 thermolyte salt tablets and a ½ scoop of cytomax pre-formance. For the 100 mile ride I also had 2 clif shot gels and a clif bar; that wasn't necessary for the 50 mile ride though. For my run, each 2 hours I have the same nutrition mix as my bike bottles but also run with a Nathan back pack for all the water I can drink – that has made a HUGE difference in my training. Recovery from this weekend will be tough because all in I need close to 5,000 grams of carbohydrates to cover my nutrition needs over those 2 days. There's no way I can take that in during a short period of time so I'll be eating extra in a healthy way all week to avoid a big carbohydrate deficit. I'll also have to carefully monitor my blood sugars for the next couple days because the chance of a low after that much training is greatly enhanced.

In a word this weekend was INCREDIBLE. Eric sent me a quick note on Friday night instructing me to "just have a blast," over my training weekend and a blast I had. Outside of talking to a few people at stores I stopped in to pick up supplies I hardly spoke with anyone over the course of the weekend. After near constant networking over the past couple months as I continue to pursue my post-MBA dreams this was totally refreshing. Additionally, I had the opportunity to just focus on my training, test myself to see where Eric and I stand in my preparation for Cali 70.3 and IMCDA and find out if all the work I've been putting in has had tangible improvements. As I drove home Sunday from North Carolina I let out a "woohooo" in my car over the excitement from my weekend. As I said on Thursday I wasn't worried about covering the distance, I just thought I'd be a whole lot more miserable covering that distance than what I was. My blood sugars were a bit more variable than I would have liked but I performed way better on my run than I ever would have thought – without any recovery or rest I basically equaled the time from South Carolina in October; this weekend set the table for what looks to be a flat out amazing 2010.

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