Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Making lemonade

Lemon Slice

It was raining this morning. Again. So I ground some Coconut Crunch coffee beans, brewed a cup, and waited for motivation in a mug to kick in while scanning the hourly weather report for a gap in the rain showers.

I planned it perfectly; caffeine jitters kicking in just as the sun began to peek through. I had two hours before it was supposed to rain again, so off I went and I was feeling great! So much better than Saturday's 40-mile ride which was completely dispiriting. On that ride, I was frustrated with my bike, frustrated with myself, frustrated with all this training. Frustrated.

But today was great. My bike was smooth, my body felt relaxed. I was home again. Nine minutes into the ride and BANG! It was the sound of a fully inflated balloon being popped with a pin, followed by the high-pitched tinking sound of metal clanging against the underside of my bike before bouncing onto the pavement. A flat tire! I shouted a few unladylike things before unclipping and walking my bike toward a less-busy side street.

I'd only taken a few steps when a car pulled over to the shoulder and a guy started walking toward me asking, "Do you need a ride?" I instinctively took a step back saying, "No, it's okay. I can change it." Sensing my caution, he halted his forward progress and said, "I cycle too. I know what it's like to have to walk your bike and wanted to see if you needed help." Again, I declined his offer and he went on his way. It's too bad society is the way it is. I'd like to send a shout out to that guy to thank him, a passing motorist who was kind enough to stop and offer assistance (he is the only on who did, with the exception of a county sheriff). It is 99.9% likely that he was a totally harmless, decent guy and upstanding citizen who was simply trying to help a cyclist in distress and I appreciate it. But I just can't take that .1% chance that he's secretly some crazed lunatic and I was thankful I was on a busy, main thoroughfare and not on some desolate side street being approached by a strange man.

After he left, I paused to take a look at my injured tire (checking to make sure no offending bits of metal were still present) and realized at once that I would not be changing any tires that day. Or finishing my ride. The piece of road shrapnel was so sharp that it not only sliced through my tube but through my new, tough, Gatorskin tire too. Forty bucks down the drain.

Thankfully, my friend Gretchen was home and willing to save me again, coming to retrieve my sorry stranded butt from the side of the road. I will definitely be treating this woman to lunch for her rescue efforts this season!

The sky was beginning to cloud over, my window of good weather closing. I was feeling frustrated again, a sour taste on my tongue, and decided I would not let this day, or a good caffeine high, go to waste. I had made coffee and was still buzzing from it. Now I would take today's lemons and make lemonade.

Off with the helmet and bike shoes and on with the iPod and Kinvaras. I would run tomorrow's run today. As a rule, I have been trying not to run two days in a row during training, but today would be an exception. I started off fast, burning off my frustration and fretting over how I would "make up" my missed bike ride. Fittingly, the first track on my iPod was Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff" that starts out with "It's just one of those days . . . " Sweet.

At that moment, it began to rain and the sour taste momentarily returned. I screwed my face up at the darkening sky and ran harder. The shrapnel had ruined my ride; this rain would not ruin my run. And then the rain suddenly stopped; like an olive branch being extended down from the sky.

Journey's "Only the Young," Janet's "Alright," Coldplay's "Clocks," Beastie's "Slow Ride," and Selena's "Cumbia Medley" (Hey, don't knock it 'til you've tried it! I'm not a Selena fan but this zippy 8-minute track is part Cancun Cantina, part funky mariachi band and part carnival) kept me moving in the middle.

The weather tested me again when, instead of rain, the sun (a foreign entity these days) broke free of it's captive clouds, sending hot, angry, rays of sunlight down to the ground while the humidity was jacked up to about 80%! But I kept running. And sweating. By now, I was no longer worrying about making up for the "missed" ride--it was only going to be an hour, for Pete's sake! Don't sweat the weekday stuff, remember?--and instead was worrying about how to get my tire fixed in time for Friday's long ride. I have several spare tubes at home, but tires? Not so much. Note to self: call bike shop when you get home. Order spare tires.

Thirty-five minutes into my 50-minute run, and my left knee started testing me too; complaining about being asked to deliver two days in a row. Yesterday's 4.5-mile run on loose gravel, some hills, sidewalks and cambered streets left my knee feeling gritty and stiff today. (Lemonade, lemonade, lemonade.) Focus, adjust form, carry on. Chi! Then Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream" was in my ears, reminding me why I'm doing all this to myself in the first place!

At 43 minutes, the outer edge of my left heel began hurting in a way that struck fear into my heart and that was that. The run was over and I walked the remaining 7 minutes home, where I immediately stretched, iced and am now feeling fine and looking forward to an easy workout day tomorrow: with my lemonade run under my belt, I will only have to swim. And maybe, this unexpected extended break from cycling (5 days) is just what I need to get me fully recovered from Savage and properly back in the saddle again. (Lemonade, lemonade, lemonade!)


  1. Don't worry about the small stuff! getting in the long rides and runs are what is most important (or at least that is what i have read!) You asked that I let you know how the Redman Full Iron distance race went for me up in Oklahoma city. It was this past weekend. I did alot better than I ever expected, but I think alot of it had to do with the weather. It was a perfect day-mid 80s, low humidity and almost no wind. The course was mostly flat (bike and run). so for me, after suffering through the VERY HOT texas summer, riding on hilly, chipseal roads against alot of wind, the bike course was a dream! I finished in 13:14 (my goal was 14-15 hrs). my swim 1:19 (wetsuit), bike 6:44 (slower but having issues with bottle cage-had to stop) and run 5:00. I think my nutrition on the bike worked well-i had 2 3.5 hr bottles of perpetuem and expresso hammer gel. i used nuun as my water/electrolyte source. i had bloating later in the ride bc i think i took in too many calories (about 400/hour) but i felt spectacular on the run where i drank coke and water, and ate pickles and gummy bears! I know cozumel will be humid and windy but I am sure you will do better than you expect! hang in there through the training! I seriously believe the training is the hardest part!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your experience at the Redman; it is always motivating and inspiring to hear others' stories of success! Congrats to you on a job well done! You should be very proud of this accomplishment! Hopefully you can now enjoy some much deserved R&R.

    As for me, I recurrence of my plantar fasciitis has me a bit discouraged and unsure how (if?) to proceed. I'm planning a 2-week break from running and will take it from there . . .