Since I didn't get in my long ride this past weekend, I decided to take the day off yesterday to get a few things done around the house and get in my 3.5 hour ride, followed by a 20 min. run. I knew the weather would be warm and a great day for a ride. I didn't get out until a little after 12 so, most of my ride was in 80 degree weather. This was perfect weather to start getting used to the heat I will be racing in during Ironman Louisville the end of August. Eagleman could be very warm in June as well. Let's just hope it isn't 100 degrees like last year!
To avoid traffic, I drove through DC and parked by Sibley hospital on MacArther Blvd and started my ride there. I had a cue sheet from the Vertical Swimmer Sunday bike rides put together by Tuan. If you need a good laugh check out his blog. Tuan has a great imagination and always finds some way to make us triathletes chuckle in his weekly ride emails!
From where I started, it would be close to a 70 mile round trip. Since everyone else was working, I did this ride by myself. This is something I don't mind doing from time to time to help get me mentally prepared for race day and...no drafting at all the entire ride. About 5 miles into the ride I passed some dude and then a mile later noticed he was drafting me. Normally, when some random person rides my wheel I get pretty annoyed and actually ask them to get off. Today, I wasn't in the mood to ask the guy who was having a girl pull him up the hills to back off. ;) About 6 miles later he went straight and I turned left. That's good b/c I wasn't going to pull this random guy the whole ride!
This is a ride that will definitely prepare me for Louisville! Lots of hills, which I'm actually starting to learn to like. I trained mainly on flats last year because most my races were flat. I do think this is the kind of ride that is safer in numbers, but since it was the middle of the day I didn't come into too much traffic until the end of the ride when I headed back into DC. Towards the last 10 miles of the ride I was starting to get a little tired and feeling the climbing settling into my muscles. So, I decided this was the perfect time to pull my iPhone out and snap a few pictures to capture the beauty of spring since most of these flowers will be gone in a few weeks.
Here are a few pictures of one of my favorite flowers in the area. I'm sure the people in the house didn't appreciate me stopping outside of their gate to take a picture, but I loved the tree in their yard. Plus, this house is an example of what you see out this way in Potomac. Multimillion dollar homes that just take your breath away. I always wonder what kind of job all these people have. Definitely won't be a place I will ever own a home but one can dream right?!
I stopped and got some pictures of a few hills on River Road, but the pictures definitely don't do justice to the other hills I had been riding all afternoon. I was really feeling it on River Road, and this is not a road where you want to be feeling tired. I had to find a spot that wasn't too steep to pull over and snap a few pics so I could get going again and not trash my legs out starting up again on a hill.
On the last stretch of road coming in, an angry man yelled at me from his van from the other side of the road that I should ride on the bike trail. Just a few feet ahead of me right after this jerk yelled was a sign that says, 'Share the Road' with a picture of a car and bike. I had to stop and take a picture of this to post and hope that other road rage people who drive on this route remember to chill out and share the road! This guy wasn't even on my side of the road and I was over as far as I could be. I'm not sure why there are drivers out there who hate bikers. Guess they are the ones who have never gotten on a bike before. Obviously, not a road or tri bike b/c the trail he was telling me to ride on is covered with sticks, dirt and rocks.
Once I got back to my car, I stuck my bike in the car (can't leave it on the bike rack b/c I'm sure it would be gone when I got back eek!), and took off for a 20 min. run. It ended up feeling alright, but I know I have some work to do with transitioning to the run and keeping up a good pace for the longer distance races. I averaged 7:20 pace so was happy, but my HR was sneaking up to near max. The heat was getting to me! Plus, before my ride I had asked Ron to put in 1.5 scoops of infinit nutrition in my water bottles instead of the 2.5 scoops (2 scoops per hour) so was lacking a bit on nutrition. Oops! Still felt good considering and just happy that I finally feel motivated to get these long rides and runs in for my Ironman training. I have been feeling a bit unmotivated lately for the longer distances and just needed a nice day to get outside and enjoy the ride.
It's definitely all about balance when training for triathlons and I've been trying to find that right balance between work, personal life, training and everything else I'm involved in. It is doable, but sometimes it just takes awhile to figure it out. Instead of riding Sunday, Ron and I had a wonderful afternoon and evening together. We went to the nursery to pick out our new tree that is going on our back patio and looked at a ton of other beautiful flowers and plants to get an idea of what we want once the new patio is in place. (This is a picture of me next to a cute monkey statue at the nursery contemplating which tree to get. For those of you who know me well, you know I love monkeys and can't miss a photo opportunity with one!) We ended up choosing the Dogwood with white flowers that will bloom in May! It will bloom just in time when everything is finished. Sunday was such a nice spring day, was very relaxing and I learned a lot about flowers. :)
I was reminded yesterday of why I love this sport. It was wonderful to get outside to enjoy the weather, the beautiful spring sights, and enjoy the roads outside of the DC hustle and bustle. I felt like I pushed my body (mentally and physically) to finally get in the right frame of mind for Ironman training. I absolutely love the feeling I get after a long endurance run or ride and the endorphins! At the end of the day I ended up with a few odd sunburn lines since my sunscreen ran out right as I was trying to finish spraying my arms on my pasty body. I'll be sure to have plenty next time I'm in the sun for four hours working out!
Now, that I made myself get motivated for my training, I need to buckle down and get motivated to do my taxes! Time is running out! Remember that balance thing I mentioned earlier....yeah the whole doing my taxes thing early kind of fell through the cracks.
This coming weekend is my first triathlon of the season, Rumpus in Bumpass. It is an Olympic distance triathlon and will be at Lake Anna in Bumpass, VA. This is one of the triathlons I'm doing for the High Cloud Dream Team. There will be a ton of athletes from High Cloud and DC Tri so it will be very motivating to see many familiar faces on the course. I'm just a little scared for the cold water, but the swim is in the area of water that is used to cool the power plant and it is a few degrees warmer than the rest of the lake. I will definitely be sporting my wetsuit! Let's hope the storms stay away! So far it's not looking too good weather wise. We shall see!