Saturday, April 14, 2012


I realized that if I added .15 miles at the end of my run I could use that title, so I committed to it early on, and then wanted to die and cursed myself for it repeatedly. You're welcome. 

All my usual training buddies had the audacity to be busy this weekend, so I was forced to train all alone. I was starting to get pretty paranoid about the Half Ironman. I've done some long rides, and they went fine, but I've never felt like "yippee, now I can't wait to run a half marathon!" after any of them. This was most likely related to my major hydration and nutrition fail during every single one of them. With GORUCK next weekend, a bike ride is out. The following weekend I don't know if I'll be recovered, and then I only have one more weekend before the race. So if I wanted to get this sorted out, it was now or never.

That's right, it was time to get my head out of my ass and start doing some serious eating and drinking on the bike. Then I needed to actually do some real running after and see if it worked. 

Problem #1 - I didn't know how to get to my food on the bike. I got this fuel pouch so that I could actually reach my granola bars. I forgot it was pink and got super excited when it arrived.

On Friday night, I realized I never bought any granola bars to try out eating on the bike. Once my PJs are on, I'm in for the night, regardless if it's 4:30pm. Luckily, I had all the ingredients to make my own. I re-purposed our NYE reaping bowl for storage.

I brought four of the squares with me, and they fit perfectly. The pouch was easy to open and close on the bike, and I was able to eat them all without a problem. 

Problem #2: I couldn't hydrate on the bike. I suck at getting the bottle out of the holder, and I also dropped it a million times trying to put it back in last week. I didn't want to wear my camelback because my back already hurts by the end of long rides.

It was time to stop being a whiny little bitch. If I don't hydrate properly in a 70.3 mile race, my back hurting is going to be the least of my problems. I drank my entire 2 liter camelback today and felt good.

My bike shoes were in the car. Don't judge.
Problem #3: Riding alone still stresses me out. Planning a 50 mile route wasn't easy. I wanted to find a route  where I wouldn't be riding through any drug deals, but that was also familiar to me. Biking while trying to avoid potholes and cars is mentally challenging enough without trying to look down at directions and see where to turn. I used my Baltimore biking map, so that at least I could get an idea where I might find paved roads with some sort of shoulder (the shoulder thing didn't actually pan out). I planned a route to Fort McHenry, which seemed really far. It takes like 25 minutes to drive there, but apparently biking there would only be 34 miles round trip.

Finally, I had a route, and I set out on Saturday afternoon. 

My route met all my needs, but I immediately ran into my next problem.

Problem #4: Traffic lights. I live in suburbia, and was heading into the city, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise, but somehow I failed to consider it. I literally was hitting a light every single mile, if not more. I was getting really upset because this constant stopping and waiting wasn't really preparing me for race day. There wasn't really much I could do though, so I forged on.

Overall, the ride was pretty good, even with the never ending traffic. It was pretty cool to realize that I could handle biking in a busy, urban area, and possibly I can use my bike to commute in addition to exercise. I think the tourists were actually more dangerous than the cars. While waiting for a marching band to pass, I got some pictures at Fort McHenry. 

You have to imagine the Star Spangled Banner playing.
Riding near water is scary
 Around mile 40, I was starting to feel completely exhausted and the idea of running after I was done seemed insane. At 50.15 miles, I was home, and I did a quick transition in the apartment. As I was leaving in my running shoes, all I could think was "I'm about to do WHAT?". 

I told myself I could plod along as slowly as I wanted, as long as I covered ten miles, be it running, walking, or crawling. After five miles, I checked my Garmin and did a movie quality dramatic double take when I saw I was running at an 8:50 average pace. I took a Gu and turned around. The way out is a net decline, while the way back is mainly uphill, but I somehow ended up with a 9:06 average pace. I did walk up one hill because of a side stitch. 

This run wasn't easy. I felt like death at the end. After the first 100 meters or so I couldn't complete a coherent though. 

Bright side: I did some math (prior to the run) and figured out I would probably need 12 minute miles to finish the Half Ironman before the cutoff. I honestly had no idea what running would feel like at the end of such a long race, and thought it might involve a lot of walking, so the 12 minute mile thing worried me. I feel much more confident now.

Of course, now I'm wondering how much waiting at the stop lights "saved" my legs and how much this brick really counts. At the end of the day though, I did cover 50 miles on my bike, and it certainly wasn't easy.

This picture doesn't fully show how filthy I was at the end.

Beautiful blurry exhausted self portrait at the end. I read in Runner's World that stretching to Seinfeld reruns is more effective.

The new wide noodle huggers are perfect under a bike helmet. Real or not real? REAL.

Final thoughts:
  • When eating on the bike, only take bite sized pieces out. It's impossible to brake holding food. Or, whatever food you grab, shove it all in your mouth.
  • This was my first long ride without a bathroom break. I survived. 
  • Also my first long ride without any Advil for my back/shoulders/neck. Again, I survived.
  • Possibly the four granola bar squares weren't enough, because all I could think about was food for 90% of my run. 
  • I left the house at 12:40 and didn't get back until nearly 7pm. Damn you traffic lights. I remember when I used to think training for a 50 mile race was time consuming.

If you're still reading, I applaud your determination.


  1. My God that was a long time to train. Good job.

  2. Wow! Just wow! Great job! I thought I wanted to do a half Ironman one day, but reading about actual training and what it entails makes me think again! You applaud my determination for reading your whole post, I give you a standing O for your determination today! You got this race!

  3. Damn, girl, those legs are solid muscle!!! How did you make the granola bars?

  4. Way to go today!!! You are gonna be so ready for the HIM :)

  5. You are so ready for this race! I'm so proud of your skills in telling yourself to man up. :)

    I can't believe how long it takes to train for a HIM (like how long the workouts can take). It makes ultra training seem reasonable.

  6. What kind of granola bars are those?
    Do you always pose by your bike wearing socks and flipflops?

    You're going to do awesome in your race. You're a freaking animal!

  7. Seriously in awe of how long that workout was. Yesterday I JUST ran 10 miles (slower than you did) and thought my 45 minutes of yoga afterwards made me bad ass.... I guess I should have biked 50 miles instead!

  8. Way to go! Training alone is never easy but you did it! Nice job! Love the headband........I haven't thought of using it under my helmet yet! Good idea!

  9. you are a baller. Make sure you eat many more chocolate eggs. Also, you're going to kill in it the HIM!

  10. What a great training day of manning up! I can't wait to hear about how awesome you did at the race!

  11. That tiny thought that I should one day do some kind of super triathlon distance has just been squashed like a bug. I am not nearly as badass as you.

  12. I can't imagine doing anything after biking 50 miles. I'm so excited for your Half Ironman it's ridiculous!


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.