Saturday, April 25, 2009


That's how today's workout went. I had been looking forward to the hot sunny weather predicted; instead, when I got up, the weather forecast was showing rain!, high winds!, but hot. At 6:30 am, it was already in the 70s and humid, more like a late June or mid July morning. Hmm, what to do, what to do.

I dragged my feet long enough to finally decide to take my chances and get my bike ride out of the way before the heavy rain that was now predicted moved into the area. I knew it would be windy, and was ready to deal with it. My schedule called for 4 hours and I figured on the bike trail which is always windy anyway, I could probably do the whole 50 in that time or less, but also knew it would be hard, like riding uphill in the sand with wind that bad.

So I packed up the car, forgetting my purse, which I noticed just before gettiing on the highway. I was going alone today and didn't want to be without money or ID so turned back. In just the short time it took to go back home and get my purse, dark clouds began forming in the west, and the winds seemed to be picking up.

Still, I headed out, noticing the strength of the wind as I drove west and the darkening of the clouds. I pushed any negative thoughts out of my mind, determined to get this done. When I got to the bike trail head, I noticed many cars, but the lot was not full, despite the warm morning. A few people were leaving in fact. Then I tried to open my car door and the wind was so strong I could barely get it open! Yikes! This doesn't look good. I finally did get out of the car and looked down the trail and could see the sky was a steel gray and beginning to turn black. The wind was gusting. The temperature was 77. Were we going to get a tornado warning??

I made the decision right then to head back home. It was eerie how fast the sky was changing. I've been caught out on my bike several times when a storm kicked up, but this time I had the warning bells in my head to not even start out.

But driving home, I still had to make the decision--bike or run? If I biked, it meant 4 hours on the trainer. I wasn't real confident in myself that I could pull off 4 hours of that. On the other hand, I faced a 2 hour run and my stomach was still full enough from breakfast to not feel like I could run for a while, and with threatening weather I didn't think I would make it the whole way either. But by the time I pulled into the driveway, I decided to do the 4 hour ride. Or atleast start the ride.

I barely got my bike out of the car and set up on the trainer when it started sprinkling. So it seemed I had made the best choice.

Now, on to the ride. I have one Spinnerval DVD that I really like. Its a base and aero builder workout, much like a good spin class, but almost twice as long. The other is actually a 3 disc set, with 5 hours 34 min. of coached workouts. I figured if I started with the long one, I would just cut out the last 1 hour 34 min. Coach Troy Jacobson's disclaimer at the beginning of the first disc was that if you started this ride, you had to finish it. Wanna bet??

So I started following along, soon finding that it was way too hard for me at this stage of training. As an example, not only was I supposed to be riding at 90% or higher cadence, but then had to keep my heart rate at about 70% max, and be pedaling at 18 mph! Ha ha ha ha! In my dreams! With 5 hours and 34 min. of coached pedaling, at 18 mph or higher, it was assumed that you would reach the century ride mark--100 miles. I was just hoping in 4 hours I would get in 50 miles. Anyway, I stuck with that for about an hour and a half before just being so frustrated with all the gear changes and being unable to keep my speed up, so for the next hour I kept it on for the music and to keep me focused but did my own workout.

When I got to 30 miles I started reevaluating how long I really felt it necessary to pedal away. Because the first part of the workout had been such a mixed bag of gearing, speed, and cadence, I really hadn't reached higher than 12.9 mph so 30 miles came at about 2.5 hours. Could I then actually pull off 20 more miles in an hour and a half? Not likely. Not doing what I was doing already. I took a break here to see what was playing on TV. Nothing. I looked for a DVD I wanted to watch, only to find out it wouldn't play. I also could see torrential rain was coming down, and could hear the thunder rumbling over and over. Again, I congratulated myself with making the choice to stay in. I had all the comforts I needed and didn't have to worry about the weather. I also made the decision to change my bike shorts since they were probably the wettest I've ever had when not raining because the sweat was not evaporating because I wasn't outside. Not only that, the aero bar elbow pads were so saturated with sweat they were like sponges, and I had already soaked through one hand towel and a headsweat band. This with 2 fans on.

I decided I had to keep going and needed motivation and got out my other Spinnerval DVD. I wasn't sure if I could actually do it but found once I got started with it, it felt great! Doing the high cadence intervals really helped push my pace up (initially), and helped me keep focused to finish the whole thing, putting me at close to the 4 hour mark. Even after 2.5 hours of earlier riding, I was still able to ride at a higher cadence following this DVD than I was able to last year. And like I said, it felt good, I felt challenged. But by the third set, for me to keep the cadence high, my speed dropped so another 1 hour 22 min. later, I had only reached another 18 miles, but for a total of 48 miles! I continued on my own then and finished out the last 2 miles, just barely under 4 hours.

I felt so much more confident having pulled that off. Just getting through the time barrier, mentally and physically, makes me realize on the road I can again achieve a faster time after some more work. It was one of those confidence booster workouts we all look for in training.

Now my next goal will be getting in that run today, despite continued thunderstorms and heavy rain. I won't say never, but I certainly hope I don't have to do this on the treadmill. Its spring after all!


Marlene said...

Sounds like some ugly weather - definitely a good call staying indoors. Great job getting your 50 miles done! Hope you were able to fit in the run.

ShirleyPerly said...

WOW, 4 hours on the trainer! I can barely stay on there for an hour -- You are amazing!

Glad you made the decision to ride indoors. A long ride by yourself in that storm is scary to me.