Thursday, August 17, 2006


Wow! What a great day. It's hard to believe that just a week ago I was so tired and discouraged I told my husband I was thinking of giving up on IMFL.

Today's workout was a 40-minute swim followed by a 50-mile bike ride. As I got into the 74*F water for a warmup, I thought how actually the swim is a cool-down --- the swim pre-cooling me for the ride. I had ridden to the lake and didn't know how to handle my wetsuit getting there and then heading right out for the ride, so I didn't use it today.

Now, either I'm going crazy, or getting increasingly dyslexic, or the earth has moved. I always start my lake swims on the right side of the swim area, where the bottom is sandy, then start encountering rocks and boulders and reefs about halfway, which persist until the turnaround 75 yards later. Today, I saw rocks and boulders and reefs as soon as I started swimming, and they cleared as I approached the turnaround. Am I crazy? This is backwards. These boulders are too big to have been displaced by lake currents and transported 75 yards to the other end. But there they were. I swam over them (actually brushing some with my hands while stroking -- incentive to keep my stroke wide and shallow), exited at the now-sandy end, and decided to reverse my direction from usual to make my exit easier for transition. Either I'm going crazy or the earth moved.

41 minutes netted me 1650 yards. Damn. If I'd been watching my laps instead of the time, and doing the math, I'd have gone one more lap to have just over a mile. But I was watching my time and it was time to get out.

Transition was 4:56, including carrying my bike across a couple hundred feet of grass and up a set of wooden stairs. I needed to pee but the bath house was too far away -- I could stop by the side of the road faster, and would.

I could tell as soon as I started biking that it was a good day. Took it easy, trying to keep my effort even (did not use HRM), didn't overexert myself, and had averaged 14.8mph by the turnaround at 25 miles, including a 1/2-mile downhill that I took maxing out at 43.8mph even squeezing my brakes intemittently.

Of course, I had to go back up that hill, which I did in my granny gear. I used it for a few others, too. By the end of the day my average was 14.0, so obviously there was more downhill on the way out, and vice versa.

I didn't take that pit stop till the turnaround. Kept just putting it off. I had my watch set to beep every 10 minutes, when I drank Gatorade spiked with an Airborne tablet, with a longer beep every 30, when I took a salt capsule with water and ate something. Eating every half-hour was an experiment and I found I feel better eating half as much every half hour, than eating more every hour. On the way up the monster hill, I got a sudden, strange, specific craving for turnip greens. ????? And, since I'm a redneck, I just happened to have some at home, which I included in my post-race meal -- canned, since although this is redneck country it's not turnip-green country, too far north. I ate them with cider vinegar; they would have been better with some bacon grease, but I'm not so much of a redneck as to have that on hand. Still, they were so good I ate the whole can, along with a breaded fried chicken breast (more redneck food) and rice with BUTTER. I deserved it.

The ride home was just as nice as the ride out, despite the increased uphills. With about 12 miles to go I got another craving, for the chicken bouillon broth I'd brought, so I stopped, fished it out of my Camelback pocket, and swilled that down. It hit the spot directly. I was taking no chances on sodium depletion today, even though it wasn't all that hot or humid, high 70's, clear, mostly-shaded roads. I kept being amazed at how I was able to go up hills with a nice cadence and relatively low effort on higher gears than earlier in the season (although, yes, I did use my grannies on about 3 of the hills. What the heck, I AM a granny.) I was feeling a little tired after about 35 miles but nothing serious. Got home still feeling great; I had left my running shoes on the picnic bench for a quick transition in case I felt great enough to add a short run, but getting off my bike and looking at the running shoes I decided I didn't feel THAT great and scratched the thought of a run. It wasn't on the schedule custom-designed for me by my coach so it must not be in the stars.

So a pint of chocolate milk, put the chicken on to cook while I showered, sat down to the aforementioned chicken dinner, and I'm done.

My total bike time was only 10 minutes longer than my actual moving time. I had a couple longish stops waiting for traffic, crossing the main road; one to see what noise my front wheel had started to make (I still don't know... sounded like katydids buzzing -- bearings?); one quick stand-up pee stop on the shoulder of the road (girls, you have got to master the stand-up no-mess pee technique); one to get my salt broth out of my Camelback and guzzle that down; and one a couple miles from home for 2 vehicles driven by tourons (a locally-coined word combining "tourist" and "moron"), one towing a boat, the other 2 jet-skis, trying to make a sharp left turn into the angled driveway of their vacation house. There was no shoulder where I could go around them (soft gravel and grass) and I couldn't go around to the left where they were turning. So I pulled my bike off the road (good move, the trailer with the jet-skis rolled back a couple yards to right where I'd been) and sat on the guard rail waiting for them to figure out what they were doing. I had been on a good roll for the upcoming incline but said touron vehicles were fooling around right on the incline, and when I ground to a stop I didn't downshift, so when the touron trucks finally got off the road, it was hard for me to get going again in the gears I was in. But I managed and was soon on my way again. I think IQ testing ought to be mandatory for tourists, but I don't seem to be able to get that program up and running.

So I'm back in the saddle after my bonk 10 days ago and some gun-shy hesitation to get back on the bike, cured fairly well by Sunday's 30 miles and completely by today's 50, enough sodium capsules and a squeeze-bottle of chicken bouillon.

No doubt only a few of you have actually read all this; it's as long as my ride was. But I had fun writing it.

I've never, ever had a craving for turnip greens.
Way to go Ellie! I don't think I've ever tasted turnip greens..... Margaret
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