After this last busy weekend, I am sooo ready to start my taper.
Friday I rested knowing I had a tough weekend ahead of me.
Fourth and final 20 miler
Saturday I met MT and BL down at Lock 29 on the Towpath to start our run at 7:45 AM. We headed north up to Station Rd. I felt a little off a few miles in but made a pitstop at about 6 miles in and was good to go after that. We turned around and headed back south taking in all of the beautiful scenery including deer, woodducks, a turkey, goose, buzzards and more. As we chatted it up we headed back south towards our starting point and kept on further.
I was trying out a new fuel belt which was annoying at first because I must have not had the water bottle in just right and it kept launching out. After the 3rd ejection in the the first 6 miles, I think I figured out the trick. I had thought about wearing this in the marathon but I now think I may want to just get a little gel pack to put on my race belt. Always a good idea to test these things out in advance so I know if I will like the way they feel and work!
Finally we made the final turn and we headed back towards our cars. BL was feeling the effects of the 8:40 pace we had been keeping and slowed a bit while MT and I picked up the pace the last 1.5 miles to the finish. My plan for Cleveland is to stay steady with the 3:40 pace group until 18-20 and evaluate how I feel for a pick up at the end. So this run was a good simulation for picking it up at the end and I felt like there was plenty left in the tank. This final 20 was yet another confidence booster as I finished feeling good...minus the chaffing issues that had been plaguing me the last 1/2 of the run. Thankfully my bodyglide, Houdini, has been replaced and will be sure to be used on race day!
After the 20 I went home and continued moving furniture and cleaning until 5PM and decided I was done being on my feet. So after a much-needed shower, the husband and I celebrated Cinco de Mayo at our favorite Mexican restaurant with some Dos Equis and margaritas. Then we stopped by our friends for a couple beers and catching up. My plans of going to bed early with some Biofreeze on my legs went out the window as I crawled into bed just exhausted around midnight.
Oh did that alarm come too early! I dragged my butt out of bed and loaded up all my gear. I was running late as I left my directions at home and then found there was a road closure and had to go the long way around. I got there with about 20 minutes before race start and took the advice of my favorite local RD to set my bike up along the fence as pretty much all rack positions were gone. The forecast for the day was sunny and 70. However it was only around 50 and I was shivering with the gusty winds. This was not good as I had not even brought my cycling jacket, arm warmers, or any warm clothes. Oh well, I kept my own sweatshirt on until the race start and just hoped I would warm up quickly.
The field was relatvily small for this race, probably around 100 competitors. I had not taken the time to warm up as I was still just feeling slow from my tiring Saturday. However with the horn we were off. We made a right out of the parking lot and were heading uphill against the wind. My lungs tightened fast and I thought this may just not be a good day...too many beers, too little sleep, sore & fatigued muscles. But, then a woman passed me and I decided to work to stay with her as we made the turn still against and headed up another hill. Mile 1, 6:53...I figure that is fine as the RD warned us Mile 1 was tough and not to get discouraged by a slow time. During the second mile, I made a couple attempts to pass this other woman but everytime she would pick up the pace and I did not want to to go any faster. Mile 2 6:53. Mile 3 was nice. You turn into the park on a path and the wind is at your back and you know you are going faster. I came across the 5K mark right at the heels of the other female at 20:30 which is close to my 5K best.
I struggled a bit to get my helmet snapped and ran to the mounting line. I was out before the other female and then I heard the rubbing noise. Crap, my front brake was dragging. I was trying to adjust it while I rode and one guy passed me and before long so did that female. She said 'nice run' as she passed and with the brake adjusted I worked to keep up. I would pass her and awhile later she would pass me. Finally about 1/2 way through I passed her and never saw her again. Then a lady from the Second Sole team flew by me on her bike. So I dug in a little deeper and tried to keep her in my sights as it seemed she kept pulling away. I could tell I was working harder and passed the male at around mile 12 that had been in front of me who passed me at the start. I was working so hard that I never was cold on the bike in my tank top and shorts, even as I was covered in water from my aero water bottle as I hit the railroad tracks so hard with each of the 3 loops. Finally I pulled into transition (17.5 miles and 56:58 minutes later) and the leading female was still there.
I pulled my shoes on as quick as I could and went out about 300 yards behind her. Oh the legs hurt but the leader was in sight and I was totally zoned in on the task at hand. I passed one guy a bit down the road and started gaining ground on the leader. The hills and wind were still rough and by mile one (7:16) I had caught her. I thought about waiting a bit to pass but I decided to just go ahead and make my move as the worst was over and my legs were coming back. Mile 2 7:03. Mile 3 I headed onto the path and with the wind at my back, I started passing many of the biathlon racers. I sailed into the finish to take the overall female winner and surprisingly felt pretty good at the finish. I am not sure what the finishing time and split was because as usual I get so excited to be done that I never stop my watch but I think the last 1.1 was around 7:11 to finish with a total time around 1:39ish. Holy crap, this was not at all the outcome I was expecting at the race start with the way I was feeling.
It was great to hang out with so many friends after the race from CTC and ER. However before long I packed up my bike and went out to lead the CTC group ride before the picnic. Thankfully it seemed all of the group ride people pretty much had tired legs from some weekend event and we rode just over an hour at a fairly comfortable pace. Of course we did have to go up a couple hills to really drive home the fact that my body was friggin just exhausted.
After some good stories at the club picnic I headed off to finally shower and head to another BBQ. I was so exhausted and tired by this point that I could only think about going home to go to bed. This morning I skipped my AM ride as I woke up sore and tired and figured an extra rest day might be OK. I am soooo ready for this taper AND the upcoming marathon!!!!!!