Wednesday, August 25, 2010

80 mile ride and my search for Desitin!

Man! My last block of training was a tough one! The peak of that phase was an 80 mile bike ride and the next day a 12 mile run. I love getting a new training block and looking at the last week. I look at the peak of that build phase and think, “How in the world?!” But it never fails, I am always able to complete the block and be on to the next one.

I have a friend who is getting into triathlon. He is a strong cyclist and a solid runner, but he was lacking the one thing that makes us triathletes: swimming. He has done solid brick workouts with biking followed by running. I remember some time ago he told me he signed up for swim lessons. He always told me he would train with me if I asked. I’m not a fast guy and the last thing I want to do is hold someone back…but 80 miles is a long time to be alone on the road. What if something happened?

I called him up and he was game! We met at TrySports and we were going to ride a route that one of the employees, Jen Teipen, told me about. She is doing Ironman Louisville next week! I’m so excited for her! Any who, I have talked with her ad nauseam about her training; where she rides, what she does, so forth and so on. We have the same coach so I knew that where her training had taken her, I could expect to see it in my own block of training in the future.

She told me about this 30 mile loop and Mike and I were going to go test it out. I loaded my water bottles with regular Gatorade (not Gatorade Endurance) because that is what’s offered on the event courses. I wanted to know if my stomach could handle the Gatorade. We started the ride and it was challenging. There were a lot of hills and tough climbs on this route. Made me wish I had a road bike! The first lap was uneventful, but at the start of the second lap I was not looking forward to hitting the hills…AGAIN! I was asking for strength and desire from God and then I was reminded why I am doing this.

It gets easy to forget why we train so hard. Why we go out on these ridiculously long swims, bike rides, and runs in the middle of the hot summer days. I remember a video I once saw. It was about a professional triathlete and she said there are hundreds of reasons to stop; but there is always one reason to keep going. She never said what the one reason was. I think that one reason is different for everyone. Of course finishing is everyone’s goal; yet, I don’t think that is the sole reason people to keep going. For me, it’s to confront my demons and to honor God.

The second lap started and I was getting low on fluids. I never seem to carry enough water/Gatorade. I was drinking one water bottle per hour. I think I need to look at doing more like 4 bottles every three hours (3 liquid nutrition/1 water with solids). Oh yeah, on this ride I learned I could eat solids.

Because we started the ride so early, I was starting to get hungry on the bike. Even though I was taking in the fluids, my body was begging for solid food to quiet the hunger pains. I have always had a hard time eating on the bike and run. There just wasn’t enough saliva in my mouth while running or cycling to soften the foods. When I tried to eat solid foods, I was gagging down whatever it was.

I told Mike I was starving and he just happened to bring a breakfast bar. It was the kind of bar that had a soft baked shell with a soft fruit center. It was kind of like a Fig Newton. I didn’t have any problems eating it and it answered a prayer! These breakfast bars have made it into my bento box! Something else was happening on the bike. I knew I was holding Mike back, so very early on in the second loop I sent him on his way. The bike course was marked on the road so all we had to do was follow the route markings.

Besides, he was well ahead of me which forced me to chase him, thus having to push myself. It helped (I think) having to chase him because it took me outside of my comfort zone. He was nice enough to wait at some of the turns so we would ride together for a while and then he would take off again. He was getting stronger on this second loop and I was getting slower.

About mile 60, an error I made in my preparation was catching up with me. I didn’t lube my bike shorts with chamois butter. This lubricant reduces friction between your buttocks against the cycling pad. I thought I would be ok. I road 65 miles without lubing them so what’s 15 more miles? I later learned 15 miles is the difference that can mean a burning sensation on your rear! I was getting out of the saddle every 5 to 10 minutes to kind of ease the burning. I pressed on because what if this happens in the Ironman? There is no stopping! And there was no stopping today! As I continued to cycle, I fantasized about new cycling shorts as I got out of the saddle to ease the burn.

By then, my rear was really burning, my quads feltl like they were exploding inside my legs, and my lower back, at times, was starting to spasm. (I have got to get my bike fit checked from when it was knocked over prior to the Lake Logan event ) I was not in a happy place. The only good thing was we were finishing the second loop and we would tack on 20 miles of mostly flat cycling (no significant climbing). We finally hit 80 miles and I was hurting! I was glad it was over but I was troubled. I had only done 80 miles and was finding it difficult to walk much less run. How was I going to run a marathon after 112 miles? I have three more months to find out!!!

My time was 5 hours for the ride with stops included. One stop was at a local convenience store to buy more Gatorade and use the restroom. This stop is probably how long I imagine a stop at the special needs station will be on the bike ride in the Ironman. The average with the stops included was 16 mph. I will take that! It’s not fast by any stretch of the imagination (but we have covered that). It is, however, on target for what I expect to do on the bike course for the Ironman. An average of 16mph for 112 miles puts me at 7 hours on the bike. Ok actually, I think I can do Cozumel with an average of 17mph even with the wind on the east side of the island. However, 16mph I think would be ok with me. This also gives me in a little cushion to start my weakest event: the run.

My biggest complaint after the ride was the burning bum! I told KP about this and she suggested Desitin. A baby’s diaper rash product??? Uhh let me think about that… uhh no! Well, at least in my head I was saying no, but (hee hee, pun intended) my butt was saying yes! I had to man-up a “walk” as we searched in Tarje` (Target) for that creamy miracle; or so I hoped.

Found it! I couldn’t wait to get home and try this product out. I put on the paste and IMMEDIATELY! I mean IMMEDIATELY felt relief! Instant! As soon as it was applied I was walking differently. I searched the internet to see if other cyclist have used this product and apparently they have. Desitin is no secret to the cycling community! This will certainly go in my special needs bag at 56 miles on the bike and my transition bag (you receive this bag just before the running portion of the Ironman it has everything you need to prepare you for the run. It is packed by me the night before the race).

A few days after this ride I heard about some cycling shorts called De Soto 400. They are supposed to be the best cycling shorts around with really good reviews. I just have to add it to my wish list. They are only $100 bucks but on the ever growing list of things to get before the Ironman…$100 bucks is a lot! I just have to have faith God will provide me with what I need.

Following the bike ride, the next night I had a 12 mile run. I woke up that morning and my legs were dead! I didn’t know how I would be able to go to work and then run afterward. I was at least curious to find out. I started out the run at about 6:30 pm. From the very beginning I was hurting. I was running really slow and my heart rate was way up. It was good training! I would run 3 miles out, 3 miles back, refuel my fuel belt and go back out for another 6 miles. On the way back I was starting to face stomach cramps. I pushed it out of my head and drove on.

By mile 5, I felt like my appendix had ruptured! I was in the worst pain I have EVER felt! I really thought I was in serious trouble, but again, if this was the Ironman I would have kept going. I was walking and hoping the feeling would pass. So I would start to run and ten steps later I was doubling over in pain! I really thought something serious was going on with me! I decided to go home and take GasX and if I wasn’t feeling better soon…I was going to the hospital. I made it home took the strips and about 30-45 mins later…well let’s just say my poor, poor dog! Sitting there and having to suffer in silence :)

Ok, so I didn’t finish the run that night…that meant I certainly had to do it all over again the next night. So, my legs were still feeling the 80 mile ride but at least they weren’t completely dead. I felt great…going out. I was supposed to go 3 miles out, 3 back, refuel, and repeat. Just like the night before. Except I was feeling good! I ran 6 out and started to come back. Between miles 6 and 9 I was feeling really, really bad. I had run out of fluids and was starting to get thirsty…really bad sign right. I took two gels at mile 8 to kind of help me perk back up. I think it must have worked. Mile 10 – 12 wasn’t too bad! I totally let my ego ruin what could have been a good run. I wanted to run three out and back but I was feeling soooooo good I wanted to well…run with it! (yeah you didn’t see that coming he he he he!). In doing so, I totally began to dehydrate myself. I weighed myself before I left and when I came back…I was 4 pounds under. I have one thing to say about that! STUPID! I am glad I finished, it was a slow run, but turned out to be a good run because I learned a huge lesson. Egos get in the way. If it feels good keep it that way by doing the right thing! Refueling and hydrating.

Is it really only three months until Ironman Cozumel?


  1. EEEP! Yes, only 3 months! What are you doing for recovery after long workouts? Until I started gulping down protein packed recovery meals/shakes immediately post workout I had that dead leg barely able to move feeling for days too. Not that it's easy for me now, but I'm surprised at how much a quick recovery protein shake and 10-15 minutes of self massage will do - try it out maybe? Do you do lots of brick runs? I don't mean anything crazy, but even just 15-20 minute runs off the bike will help your legs get used to it. The first couple km/miles of the IM marathon are the worst, then your body settles in. I figure all the bloody mosquitos will have us running faster to escape anyway.

  2. Did you say you wish you had a road bike? If you are riding a mountain bike you will scorch the Ironman bike part. There is such a huge difference for me between the 2 ...I ride a pace of 13-15mph on road bike and like 9mph or below on my Walmart mountain bike.

  3. Nice job sticking with it Hassan. 80 miles is a great step towards 112. Remember those tough training days - You might need the memory of them during Cozumel.

  4. Thanks Jeff!! @Chris, I have a tri bike, just wished I had a road bike; faster shifting while on hills and the bike geometry would have been appreciated on this ride. @ Heather, 15-20 mins is exactly what I am supposed to do after rides... I am totally going to do a protein shake after the workouts! I have not been doing anything for recovery sad to say :(