Before I get going, I really, honestly took a day off yesterday – and I hated it. The weather, however, was absolutely nasty, more like November. Rainy, cold and all around sucky.
Looking at the weather report, and the outside the damn window weather report, I wasn’t expecting much out of today either – and then ‘poof’, everything cleared up. I woke up early this morning and had planned on just driving down to the running club and going for a longer run until the rain dried up – by 8 am the roads were already starting to dry off, so I suited up and hit the road.
I had a tailwind at my back for the first mile, then a cross-tailwind for two, into the wind for one then a cross-tailwind for another…and then a long slog into the wind (15-26 mph) for eight long miles. I was not expecting anything special, but ended up with an 18.6 mph average, which I was pretty stinkin’ happy with considering 2/3’s of the ride was absolutely brutal – I just kept low and pushed hard. The remarkable part of this first leg was that my breathing rhythm with my cadence was a mess – it took eight miles for me to get comfortable – it was a very weird ride down to the club.
For my run, I had planned on just doing a 5k for the entire ride down but once at the club I changed my mind and opted for a 5 miler. I ran out easy with my buddy Mark – and let me tell you how nice it was to run with somebody, holy smokes, I had a blast! We talked about some fitness current events and running shoes, the weather and a bunch of other simple topics (I wasn’t exactly going for speed on this one and Mark was on for a 12.5 so he needed to pace himself – our first mile was an 8:47, followed by an 8:37. I turned around at about the 2-1/2 mile point and left Mark to his run – and proceeded to put the hammer down. My third mile was an 8:32, but my fourth went by in 7:48 and my fifth in 7:30 for an overall 8:15 average. Just above where I want to be for the Crim in August – and considering I’d already ridden more than 12 miles and had 18 more to go for the ride home, I was a little more than pleased.
I had some venison chili and some good conversation with my buddies Tim and Glenn and got ready to head home.
I started back with a goal around 19 mph. I figured I’d have a pretty good tailwind for a good portion of the ride but I’d already worked pretty hard so I wasn’t expecting too much, especially considering the first seven would be dead into the wind, so I’d be pretty gassed by the time I got to the tailwind portion of the ride. My first mile, while I got my legs loosened back up, was a miserable 3:41, and it was a little chilly with the wind in my face. Surprisingly, with my head down and legs pumping like there was no tomorrow, I loosened up really quickly and all of my worries evaporated. I chugged through the first eight as best I could and turned North with a cross-tailwind (I was headed North, with the wind WSW) and hit it I was about three minutes behind a 20 mph pace, so I maintained my hope for 19. I managed to hold a pretty steady 23-24 mph, still fighting a crosswind a bit, and managed to hold 18-20 up some pretty ugly hills. I made sure to stick with my plan to attack the hills as hard as I could going up, then soft pedaling a bit on the way down to let gravity help me out – also concentrating on trying to recover as quickly as possible on the advice of Michael Fioretti in a comment on my post about strategically getting dropped in a group ride the other day (he recommended “Microburst” training, which I’ll be implementing in the coming week).
Rolling past mile 14, I was only a minute and change short of a 20 mph pace and I was really looking forward to heading West with more of a tailwind and a little less “cross”… I made the turn and immediately got buffeted by the “S” part of the WSW wind – no rest for the wicked. I’d worked pretty hard on the almost 8 mile stretch heading North (and on the run, and the ride down) so I was feeling a little more than pooped out, but I kept checking the clock – I was still catching up on 20… I gunned it as hard as I could over the next two miles and managed a 2:47 and a 2:52 and was just about out of gas when I remembered a post I’d written about not giving up 5 minutes before the miracle a while back dug deep – I ticked off the last mile in 2:42 and crossed my driveway, exactly at 18 miles, in 54:35… 19.8 mph average.
So yeah, I took yesterday off, but I more than made up for it today… 35 miles of joy. I finished with a smile on my face – it just doesn’t get any better than that (well maybe it would were it ten degrees warmer with a gentle breeze, but I’m not all that picky – and it was sure better than rain and another day off).
UPDATE: Michael wrote in to provide link to his other post on Microbusts… Be sure to check that put in the comments section if you’re interested.