I’m not going to put too much stock in one workout, but yesterday slapped me upside the head and left me seeing double. It was a day that reminded me that I’m training for an Ironman and Ironman is not a joke.
Jim and I volunteered for Cedar’s of Lebanon Sprint Triathlon in the morning then hopped on our bikes to do a four hour ride. I’ve only rode that long one other time and it was on a Spin bike, which I am now 100% clear is not even close to four hours on the road.
Admittedly I was a bit tired and stiff from standing around for hours, but our plan was to ride four 16 mile loops and follow up with a 20 minute run. It sounded a lot easier than it was.
The route was surprisingly hilly, windy, and rough. I told Jim before the ride that I’ve realized being in aero position a lot seems to make gloves less important. But a day later, as I sit here with my left hand numb, I’m glad I put them on.
In short, we only made three loops and rode just over 50 miles, then ran about two. I was out of time. We started the day in Lebanon, TN at 7 am and it was about 2:00 before we got off the bike. I had a video deadline looming at home, but frankly I wanted no part of that fourth loop.
Toward the end a rash flared up on the insides of my arms. After the run I was itching like mad and trying to figure out what it was. My very first thought was that I hadn’t drank enough water. I normally drink 80% water on rides, but we loaded our bottles with the energy drinks (served at the triathlon) and I’m not sure it was a good idea. I guessed my body was trying to sweat, but didn’t have enough water to push.
I started guzzling water and within about an hour the rash was all but gone. Heat rash.
To not load my bottles with mainly water was an unusual decision for me. I am a major advocate of water and believe most of societies “diseases” are actually dehydration in disguise. Training for Ironman can easily lull our hydration needs to sleep because we are often on an adrenaline high and forget we’re constantly flirting with chronic dehydration. A lesson remembered.
But the biggest lesson of the day is that I am nowhere near ready to race an Ironman. It’s funny because most people that aren’t training for Ironman say something like, “I could never swim or do a marathon, but I could do the bike part.” Wrong!
I have a fairly strong bike background. I road everywhere as a kid, and raced mountain bikes for a couple years. 20 and 40 mile off road races have definitely prepared me for some of this grind, but if I have any hope of reaching my “goal speed” I’d better get my shit together. I often “put off” the bike because it’s my strongest event, but yesterday I finally realized how taxing it will be to ride hard for 112 miles. The constant spinning, the decisions, the mental wear down. The the heat, the flurry of foreign particles flying in your eyes, the grind of the steep hills.
This is no stroll in the park. Another lesson remembered.