One of the best things about being an athlete is that extra gear you develop. When I started working out and training, I’d come to a hill or turn into the wind and I’d send a little message from my mind to my body – “Please send me more energy,” and my body would reply, “Fuggadaboudit.” Now the reply is “Sure, how much do you need?”
Today I needed that extra gear. I planned on doing a 60/20 minute bike-run brick, but problems with my iPod and my miscalculated attempt to fit my bike in the back of my wife’s car delayed my leaving the house by 45 minutes. So I amended my brick – I would ride 12.4 miles at race pace and then run 18 minutes. The goal was to make my race time goal on the bike and then see how the run would go.
There was a stiff, gusting wind coming directly out of the west (the direction I was headed) and I struggled to keep up my speed. I knew I needed to average about 15 mph to meet my race goal of 47 minutes, but I was only going about 12.5 mph. I didn’t give up, though – I got into the drops and just PUSHED. I got to my turnaround and checked the time – 27 minutes. I thought, crap, even with the wind at my back, I’ll never make 6.2 miles in 20 minutes. I did the math in my head and realized I’d have to average about 18.5 mph on the way back to make it.
I put the bike into the big gear and praised the wind I had so recently been cursing. I put my head down and sent the request; “I need a little more.” And blessed be, my body responded. I kept looking at the speedometer, and more often than not, the number started with a “2.” I knew I was doing what I needed to do.
The only thing that almost ruined this euphoric ride was the couple walking their two German shepherds. They were on the right side of the bike path, but their dogs were pulling on their leashes and were stretched all the way across the path. There was also a runner in front of me. I started screaming “Passing left! Passing left! PASSING LEFT!” This stupid couple was so distracted by their precious little puppies they didn’t even look up, and I had to SLAM on the brakes to avoid running over them and their stupid dogs.
I yelled something about keeping their dogs under control and tried to shake it off. I got my cadence back, got my speed back, got back in the drops, and I was back in my happy place.
I made it back to the “transistion area” (Trimom’s car) and checked the clock – 46:43. I had done it. Rock and roll. However, I still had a run to do, and I wondered, did the effort on the bike kill my legs?
In a word, no. In fact, I had a FANTASTIC run. I only felt awkward for the first 50 yards or so, and then I was off. I didn’t even realize how well things were going until I looked at my HRM and saw I was running 6 mph. I backed off a little, because I didn’t want to burn out, but just a few strides later, I was back at 6. I was having a mythical run. I was running faster with less effort. It was beautiful. I ended up running about 1.7 miles in just over 18 minutes, for just over a 10:30 pace. I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever run for any meaningful distance.
Overall, a wonderful, euphoric workout, and writing this just four hours later, I don’t feel sore or tired at all.
I’m going to a fancy-schmancy charity thing tonight, and I will be sure to raise my club soda (no drinking during training!) to the wind, and to the extra gear.