A Weekend in the Life of averageman
How a long training weekend sucks
Friday, September 7, 2012 – 4300 meter swim – Cherry Creek Athletic Club - Jonathan
Water is cold, and I’m upset to have to be doing this long of a swim at the pool rather than open water. 4300 meter swim / 25 meter pool = 172 lengths. Time to dig in.
First 1000 – nice and slow. I wonder what the first 1000 will be like on race day. I’m not wearing a wetsuit, so this will feel kind of similar. Will it be wavy? When 2400 people start together, sharks will be afraid to pursue even the slower swimmers, right? My ankle kind of hurts. Focus on breathing. Keep your head lower in the water so your legs don’t sink. Only 400 so far? Jeez, it feels like it’s been a half hour. The guy next to me is a really slow swimmer. I wonder how many times I can lap him. Slow down, stupid…you’ve got a long way to go. I’m thirsty…I’ll take a 20-second break each 1000 to drink. Time – 20:12.
Second 1000 – I need to pee. I’m in a groove and feel strong and I’m trying to keep my mind off it. I remember reading a blog post about people who pee in their wetsuits during the race. Pretty fun conversation, and there is no gray (or yellow!) area…triathletes either pee or they don’t. I can hold it as long as I stop thinking about it. But that’s hard, considering they’re loading in Port-o-Let’s into the pool area for a special event this weekend. Would it be okay if I use them? Would anyone be any the wiser? Focus. 1700 in and back to race day. The water is too warm for wetsuits, so no speed advantage or buoyancy advantage on race day…damn. I feel good now, but how would I feel this far in on race day? What about the salt water? I’ve heard about rashes from not properly rinsing off, especially during the run. God, that sounds painful. The lady in the other lane reeks of perfume in the water. GAG. Okay, 2000 meters, time for a quick pee break. Time – 41:06.
Third 1000 – Man, I feel better. I’m starting re-think the whole “pee-during-the-swim” thing. I mean, chances are, I’ve swam behind someone racing who did it. Gross. But I was clueless and it didn’t affect me. My arms are tired. I am beginning to chafe on my left shoulder because I didn’t shave today and my arm keeps hitting my cheek when I reach. Remember that at 4am when I wake on race day. The race isn’t won during the swim…slow down! I am told that there are scuba divers underneath to keep an eye on us and sea life, should anything happen. I feel like I’m being chased by a shark. Slow down! It’s getting warmer and I’m one of the only ones in the pool right now. I love that feeling, that I’ve bested people’s normal exercise times. Now I feel like an egotistical schmuck. Focus. How will finish? I’m thinking Armando can make us a really thin sign we can hold up with the Morgan Adams Foundation logo. That would be cool. Time – 1:01.
Fourth 1000 – I’m getting tired. Ankle hurts again. I took ibuprofen before I left the house, right? I hope it’s not swelling. I have that burning feeling in my nose from a few flip turns…man, I’m bad at those. I think I’ll stop doing them…I mean, no one does flip turns in the ocean! My pal Chris (different Chris) is the Sales Manager at Cherry Creek Athletic Club and is touring a prospective member couple in the pool area. They’re looking at me. Try to look like you have good form. Look like you’re really strong. Do another flip turn…NO! Don’t even think about it, dummy. Two guys are now hovering over me at the end of my lane. Of all places to stop and have a conversation! In reality, they’re probably ten feet away but it feels like they’re conducting surgery over my comatose body. Only 600 in? I’m slipping…getting slower. It doesn’t matter…just finish. So I won’t end up with a 1:15 race time. We just want to survive and finish, right? Participants must finish inside of 17 hours to be called ‘Ironman’. Those finishing 17:00:01 get the title “DNF”, or “Did Not Finish”. Can you believe that? The guy who completes 140.6 miles 5 minutes late is labeled the same as the guy who quits after 50 yards into the swim. That’s Ironman! Time – 1:21:37
Last 300 – I can’t swim. A pair of young ladies are now laying out at the pool and I look like a baby giraffe trying to stand for the first time. I am kicking every 2 reaches/pulls instead of every 3 and I feel like a complete tool. Figure it out, stupid! I try to sprint 25 and slowly creep back to combat my sudden muscle memory failure. It works enough to at least keep my mind off the feeling that ESPN is capturing my stroke on the “Not Top Ten” list. Ankle no longer hurts and I have a burst of energy at the end. DONE. Time – 1:27:06. I was either faster that last 300 or I lost count. Done either way. How will the ankle feel tomorrow?
Saturday, September 8 – 19-mile run – Goodson Rec Center - Chris and JB
We show up at Goodson just before 7. Neither of us feels great. We’re wondering about the ankle. Chris recommends we go out 6, return, refuel and go out again. That way if the ankle gives out, we’re not too far out that I can walk back. It’s cold – 46 degrees. We opt for jackets and gloves. We’ll shed a layer upon return. Off we go.
What a difference it is to walk and to run. The impact of the strike of the ball versus heel is completely different. Heel doesn’t hurt a bit, but ball feels like a needle going from my foot up through my ankle and calf. It’ll get better. When we cross under University Blvd. there’s a sign stating “HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRISTEN!” and a lunch bag, most likely with additional fuel inside. I hope for Kristen’s sake I am not in need of additional munchies.
Mile 3 – ankle has warmed up. So have the rest of our bodies. Both of us are sweating and have tied jackets around waists. That jacket decision will now cost us the next 10 miles. Must remember to take salt tabs every 3 miles. It’s hard to get enough to drink because I’ve frozen my water bottles and it’s still too cold to thaw. Sure hope I don’t dehydrate.
Mile 5 – Chris recommends we go 6.5 out so when we return we only have 6 left. I’m thinking when we get back I might jump in my car and speed off.
Mile 7 – We’re both going strong. This training is a piece of cake. I am no longer tentative on the ankle. I’m not fearing the bike tomorrow. Get real, stupid…you’ve got a lot left to go.
Mile 12 – That was fast…now I feel tired. My left knee hurts on the outside. That’s a new one. Chris has an old ankle injury that’s now giving him pain. Almost to the car.
Mile 14 – Refueled and feeling nourished but tired, we begin again. Starting feels like trying to turn a rusty crank. It’s hard, and the first mile feels like an eternity.
Mile 16 – Turn-around point. We’re going to make it. Chris has extended our walk time 15 seconds, which feels like 2 seconds. Our pace has dropped from 10-minute miles to 11:20. The only reason I give a flip is that it means it’ll take us longer to get back. My son has a soccer game starting soon. Yippee.
Mile 19 completed – Done – I can’t recall the time but I think we’re around 3:28. For all I care it could be four hours. We high-five and quickly stretch and depart. Both of us have Dad responsibilities and a much longer task ahead of us tomorrow.
Sunday, September 9 – 110-mile ride – Chris and JB
This is not a good idea.
My ankle hurts and we’ve gotten a late start. The plan was to begin at 7am but we miscalculated our starting location. Once we get to the Platte River Canyon exit on C-470, we creak our way to our trunks and start loading up our bikes. I’ve come prepared today. I have a cooler full of ice, food, frozen and iced bottles with extra fuel, if needed. Chris is limping around as much as I am, so that makes me feel better. One of the problems with taking two weeks off running with a sprained ankle is that I’m out of practice and therefore in pain. My quads feel like Rocky has punched them like in the meat locker scene. Now I have to ride 110 miles on them.
Our route is unplanned, for the most part, which is not like Chris at all. Clearly he didn’t get much sleep. This is my traditional ride…as long as I have my iPhone I have a way to be bailed out. We decide to head out C-470 to Morrison Road, which turns out to be a really dumb idea. We’re climbing almost endlessly, but I did manage to snap a few cool shots at Chatfield, Fox Hollow Golf Course and Bear Creek…
At Fox Hollow, we have our first near-miss. On a quick downhill pass, I’m messing with a squeaky brake and fail to complete a turn…I go off the road. Fortunately, no damage to the bike or even the tire tube. Chris might not have even noticed my faulty driving! We turned onto Bear Creek Trail and rolled into Platte River North. A boy of perhaps 8 years old is almost creamed as he turns onto the path with us coming toward and a group of five riders behind him! Just earlier a couple had blindly entered the bike path from a side street…I almost clip the older man and Chris somehow avoids taking out his wife. It’s amazing that we’ve avoided a serious injury on this stretch of road. Another 6 miles and we take our first break at REI. Bathroom break, coffee and oatmeal/bagel (JB/Chris) was exactly what the doctor ordered. Next stop, Jonathan’s house. We went up Platte River to the interchange at 287. Up to Stapleton and through a little festival in the town center. Up to Lowry and another break. We shed a layer and applied Kenesio Tape to our swollen left shoulder blades. Chris and I both suffer from the aero position on the bike, and now 50 miles in, we’re really feeling it. I look at the clock…11:25??? Holy time suck, Batman! We’re not even halfway and 4 hours have elapsed. Perhaps we got a little too comfy at REI. This is going to take longer than we expected.
We’re refueled and headed to the Cherry Creek Trail. Back down to REI for a quick, unscheduled break…see, I lost my Sweat GUTR and it’s starting to take its toll. Once Starbucks verified they didn’t have it, we’re back on the Platte Trail en route to Chatfield and the cars. Another close miss as Chris avoids a head-on collision from a guy who wasn’t paying attention while riding beside his partner. No room for that on this path on a Sunday!!!
It’s getting hot, and we’re feeling it. About Mile 75, I’m pretty cashed. We’ve gotten slower, and I’m feeling the same way about it yesterday. Dreams of finishing by 1:30 are dead. We’ll be lucky to be done by 3:30pm, a mere 8 hours after we started!!!
We reach the cars and towel the sweat off our heads. We’ve got a solid 20 miles to go. We begrudgingly head out again, going up to the Chatfield entrance and then back towards Denver. It seems that my Garmin can’t keep up with our mileage…are we really going to hit Sports Authority Field before turning back again? Just before we reach the distant parking areas, we finally turn around. We are officially at the home stretch. We’ve been riding over 6 hours and have taken over an hour of breaks. Still, we feel…not so bad. Tired, no doubt, hot, definitely. But the pedals keep moving. We’re slower, but still we ride.
We get o Overland Park Golf Course, again, or at least I think WE do. I turn around and Chris is nowhere to be found. I dawdle circling around a turnabout where golf carts and bikes interchange all day, but still no Chris. Finally, I grunt and head back, and right around the corner comes Chris. His rear bottle cage has fallen off, along with the screws, meaning he can’t reattach it. I suggest he take the rubber bands from his Profile Design Aerodrink and attach the cage to his aero bars. Unfortunately, it means he can’t rest in the aero position AND it’s difficult for him to shift gears. Less than 6 miles to go, though, and we’ll manage the slower pace.
As we ride the last mile, Chris picks up the pace and we coast to the cars together. Normally, we’d head to the nearest watering hole, but it’s been a LONG day and longer weekend, and it’s getting late. The Broncos game starts in less than 3 hours and we’re content to have our Victory Beer at our respective homes. We high five and limp to our cars. The training day is DONE…and while we’re still average, we’re proud of our accomplishments. Time to rest and recover.