My Goddess, My God

First off, my Goddess.

After only five and a half hours of sleep, she got up at 4am with nary a cross word, helped pack the car, stayed awake on the drive to the lake, saw me off, moved the car to the transition area after the park opened, had my refill of bottles ready when I finished bike loop 1, was there again when I finished the bike, helped me transition to the run by making sure my bottles were ready, then smiled at me when I was done. Seven and a half hours, parked in empty parking lots, then later surrounded by some of finer specimens that America has to offer. Not a peep of complaint, just encouragement. She even drove home. My Goddess rocks!

On to the workout. It was to be eight hours, with the full 112 mile bike ride for my upcoming race, followed by the balance running. Didn’t work out that way. “Only” 7:20, but discretion is the better part of surviving.

The bike ended up being 114.5 miles, mainly because I had to tack on an extra mile and back to get to my Goddess at the end of loop one for a refill.

From the beginning, a good breakfast of 650 calories two hours before the start. In the parking lot, I did what I do best – sabotage myself. I thought that a PowerBar would be a good choice to top things off right before I took off. A PowerBar and a sip of water. Fifteen miles into it and the GI distress started. Good job, Bill! Luckily I caught it immediately and was able to have things sorted out and back on schedule by mile 40. Lap 1: 3:17:17.

By the start of lap 2, the wind had picked up. That meant grinding into a stiff headwind. But before that stretch of the loop, I had to cross the bridge. My God, the bridge. About 7 miles from the transition area, we have to cross Lake Barkley, which is actually a wide part of the Cumberland River. The Cumberland is a working river, which means large coal barges must travel past. So this bridge is tall, some 80 feet off the water in the middle. It’s a 1930’s vintage design, so there’s no shoulder, just the white line, then a waist high railing. Mind you, I’m not afraid of heights. But this bridge unnerved me. Never mind that traffic starts backing up, because I’m going to take my part of the lane right down the middle, thank you. Oh, and that part about avoiding Zone 5 at all costs during an endurance event? So much for that. Had to cross the bloody thing four times today. Luckily the drivers were considerate.

Lap two was more interesting. The typical stages of an Ironman ride worked their way through my body. Miles 75-90 were definitely uncomfortable. But then it started looking up again. Loop 2: 3:23:36. A bit slower, but I’ll take it.

Total ride: 114.45 miles, time: 6:49:26 (including my 6 minute stop between loops and a 3 minute stop at mile 100 to fill my water bottles).

Now, the time’s not fast, but it’ll definitely do for my race day. What that doesn’t show is the climbing. This route has a some hills. Only one’s a wall, and that’s at mile 111 for race day. Total climbing for the route is a whopping 7,158 feet! Have a look here at the route and the elevation slice.

By comparison, the longest standard ride that I take from my house is 76 miles with a “measly” 1,541 feet of climbing.

So taking into account the climbing, I’m quite pleased with the time and my performance. Outside the GI distress in the early parts, my nutrition was spot on. My average heart rate for the entire ride was 129 bpm, well entrenched in Zone 2 for the majority of the ride, with some time in Zone 3, less than 13 minutes in Zone 4, and only 3 minutes in Zone 5 (bloody bridge). I finished the ride ready for the run.

Given the effort on the ride, I decided to scale back my run. I was shooting for 8 hours total workout, but that was only so I could “rescue” my weekly hours and make up some time I lost missing my two swims this week due to work commitments. Since I had plenty of time to think about it, I realized that the best thing to do was to fall back on Gordo‘s original plan for this day, which was the 112 mile ride followed by a 4 mile run. Nothing more.

So the run starts out just like it did for my Half, straight up. In the first .8 mile, the climb is 219 feet, which is an average grade of 5 percent. However, it’s not a steady climb; there’s actually some flat parts and a downhill stretch. So in parts the grade is a fair bit steeper, probably in the 9-10 percent range. So I already figured my race strategy for my marathon – walk the first mile. After that there are a couple of fairly steep hills, which I’ll likely walk. Otherwise, it’s rolling for the entire run. Manageable, but I suspect there will be quite a few walkers out there.

Quite a bit of words for just one workout, eh? I’ll do it again in a month, then do the whole thing in two months time.

But between now and then, I’ve got some work to do in the hills.

Postscript:

On the ride I had plenty of time to add to my “tagged list”:

Shows I enjoy:

  • Two and a Half Men. I can’t believe I forgot this show, which has me rolling every week.

Guilty Pleasures:

  • Music. Again, I’m not guilty about this at all. 600+ CD’s, 250-ish album, and I keep adding to the collection.

I tagged Karl, who managed to tag me as well with a slightly different list.  Someone’s got to get this under control!  😉
Hope all is well with you.

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7 thoughts on “My Goddess, My God”

  1. Behind every successful man there’s a woman handing over the bottles! Fantastic effort on the workout, and you’re so lucky having a Goddess who ‘does’ mornings – mine is a night owl, and if I suggested such such an early start I’d probably end up at the ER. I wonder if she’d be up for being my support team for 8pm-2am workouts though . . . .?

  2. Great post Bill.

    I love it when family members give you support to do these crazy things called Ironman. My wife is usually at home tending to the little monkeys… but my mom and dad have both done exactly this scene. Please pass on my thanks to your Goodness for helping keep the Ironman dream alive for all of us!

    As for the tagged list… you made me laugh out loud again. Thanks…. keep it coming!

    As for the workout, great job! Now I’ll ask the technical question… Do you really want to keep in Zone 2? Is this your plan on race day? Is this your first Ironman, are you really worried about finishing? Certainly, you don’t want to blow up, and the saying is that “you can’t win Ironman on the bike”… but I get the feeling you have more in the tank.

    Keep up the great work!

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