This weekend’s group run called for another 21 miles, with 10 miles at marathon pace. We ran south to the ‘Shoe as planned, did our loop of all the tailgaters, got our picture taken at Game Day and headed back north. The plan was to start our miles at marathon pace as soon as we crossed Lane Avenue heading north. I wasn’t feeling well from the get-go once we started in at marathon pace. I hadn’t eaten a proper meal the night before (salami sandwich early and banana before bed, that’s it) and slammed a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich 5 minutes before the run because I was starving. That didn’t agree with my stomach (surprise!) and I was feeling sick. What’s new!? I made it 4 miles into the marathon pace before the McDonalds came back up…ugh! The group was already running way to fast (between 6:30 and 6:40 instead of 6:50) and I was clearly not having a good run so I shut it down and ran back with the 9:00 pace group who I ran into at our next water stop. I think some of the 9:00 runners got a kick out of seeing me struggle :). It was probably a good lesson for those who were training for their first marathon as I stepped off the trail, hacked up some breakfast, and rejoined the group. I’d run a 100 miler a couple month before and I was having more trouble completing a 20 mile workout than they were, but I was still trucking on. It ended up being a 19 mile run at 8:00 average pace but it was not the workout that I had planned. The thing that stinks is that I have to do the workout again next week, but I’ll be doing the marathon pace miles alone.
On Sunday I planned on meeting my buddy Roger (who crushed the previous day’s workout) for a 50 mile group ride. He forewarned me that I might be over my head, but I’m always up for a challenge. On Labor Day we rode 50 miles, my first ride in over 2 years, at a 16mph average. His Sunday group maintains a 18-20 mph average. I was prepared to be dropped in the first 5 miles, so I studied the map before leaving, assuming I’d be out there alone for most of the day. As luck would have it, none of the usual aggressors showed and it was quite windy so we never quite hit that 18mph average pace and I was able to hang with the group for most of the ride. I got dropped on a hilly section of road about halfway, but I caught them as they refueled at the next turn. I got dropped again at about 10 miles later but they waited for me at a major intersection to make sure I knew the way. I kept up for the next ten miles, but with about five miles to go they dropped me again and I had nothing left in the tank. My quads were shot and I sat up and cruised in. They again waited for me at an intersection and I felt really bad to be holding them up, and told them to go ahead because I knew the way back and that I was OK – just tired. I finished the ride up but my legs were completely thrashed. We ended up riding 52 miles and I averaged 17.5 mph.
I felt really good about the ride. I’m not used to being the weakest link in a group workout, so that was humbling and a bit of a new experience but I didn’t let it get me down. Hey, I had just logged 100 miles for the week on my bike…not too shabby! I’m not ½ as good on a bike as I am on a run, but it’s fun to mix it up. I have no ambitions to become a competitive cyclist like I do as a runner, but I hope to improve enough that I’m not being dropped on rides. As with anything else, if I stick with it I think that will come with time.