Old stuff from late August
I had a total whiny blog post that I was going to post around August 28. Kind of glad I stored it as a draft and didn’t post it. To sum it up…I had a horrible heat exhausting episode on a 12 mile run a couple weeks back, I experienced some tendonitis in my right arm and my older dog Killian had some medical tests that came back abnormal.
Since August 28, things have gone much better. Got in a 17 mile run last weekend (even was able to reduce down to a low 9 min/mile pace around mile 15…never happened before)! Tendonitis feels much better…and Killian is doing MUCH better.
New Stuff for the start of September
On Labor Day, Adam and I decided to start a clean eating challenge with some of our CrossFit buddies. Before the challenge, we totally gorged on nachos, popcorn, beers etc over Labor Day wknd. Basically, effective Sept 3, we will get 4 weeks with no alcohol, gluten, dairy…eating paleo. Before I started the challenge, I took ‘before’ pics, got my body fat analysis done, and weighed myself. As of today, we have accomplished one full week! We only deviated slightly from the plan by having a sprite after our first day of riding this past weekend. I am so excited to share the results as we finish the 28 day challenge….3 more weeks to go…stay posted.
MS 150 – September 8/9, 2012
This past weekend, we biked the MS150. It is a 150 mile bike ride over 2 days (Sat/Sun) that raises funds for Multiple Sclerosis research/awareness. I am not sure the total count of attendees…but it was definitely in the 100’s. I rode as part of Team FedEx and raised funds as part of our team. Many thanks to those who donated (Paul, Adam, Jody, Mike, Ron and Beth, Angie, Francesca, Scott, Ryan)! We raised $370 towards MS research! Here I am in my first ever bike jersey….I bought the one from 2 years ago that was on sale 🙂 I’m still a relatively new cyclist so I didn’t want to spend a ton of money getting ready for my first huge group ride.
The first day started off well. We leave the Landers Center in Southaven and ride from that part of North Mississippi down to Tunica (the casinos). I posted the stats from my Garmin…you can see the descent into Tunica. Our pace was avg of 15.5 and it took us 4:48:29 to do the ride. My Garmin captured under 75 miles but it is my wrist Garmin and I believe sometimes it is a bit inaccurate. Look at the calories burned!!!!!
As far as the course goes, it is pretty flat with some rolling hills. The headwinds were fairly intense on Saturday. We also biked approximately the first 15 miles in a slight rain/wet roads. That always makes braking fun and our bikes/clothes/faces everything!!! was splashed with dirt, water, bugs and tar off freshly paved sections of the road. Kind of exhilirating. Around mile 65, you will see a big drop as we went down a hill. Not sure what this hill is called but once you get to the bottom you are literally in a super flat stretch with soybean and corn fields on either side. In your head you are thinking, wow, only 10 miles left!!! Well, up until this point, we averaged a 17mph ride and we totally lost it. The headwinds were so intense. It looked like Adam was biking in quick sand in front of me. You head from this farming area over towards the casinos. The stretch along casino blvd was equally intense and it was coupled with folks rushing to get to the casinos driving along the road at crazy speeds. This 10 miles we spent riding almost entirely by ourselves. Once we were finished, I was glad to be out of the wind for sure!
At the finish, day 1:
Once we finished, we went up to our room after checking in…and changed and went down to the jacuzzi and pool area. We sat out for a bit to try and recover and ate some of the food I packed (beef jerky, dried fruit, gu brew (recovery drink w/some protein)). We also took a couple hours of a nap before the banquet. Here is where clean eating really kicked in. We went to the banquet (dinner was provided) and the entire line of food was salad…then….bread, a second type of bread, fettucine, greens w/cheese on top, lasagna and then dessert was chocolate mousse w/cream on top. The only thing we could really have was some of the salad w/vinagrette dressing. To make it worse, there was an OPEN BAR!!!! Trust me, when you burn 3500 calories, a drink sounds nice, but I promised myself I would not break this easily. Adam and I had a little salad…socialized w/some folks and then went back up to the room and ordered room service (burger w/no bun, w/veggies and we both had a sprite). We were so thirsty and probably should not have had the soda…but we did it.
As a note, they have SAG stops (support stops) along the ride at least every 10 miles…..w/gatorade, water, granola bars, sandwiches, bananas, oranges. I didn’t eat any of the food! The only item I had for lunch was my almond butter packet and then had a couple Gu chomps and some gatorade…the entire ride.
Day 2 –
Got up this morning and felt GREAT! Brings a whole new meaning to feeling fat adapted (no carb traditional carb loading needed). Sunday, the weather was awesome. Windy but not as bad as Saturday at all. I got my chance to practice my first pace line this time. The first 10 miles we rode with a larger group, but found they were blowing up a bit and also slowing a lot at turns, stops and even in middle of the road. Adam and I split off at one of the stops and after a mile or two, 3 guys passed us and I decided I wanted to tag on with them. We rode at least another 10 miles with them and felt GREAT. I was keeping up and very happy. We stopped with them at the next SAG and ran into a friend who was riding with another guy (out of the lead group). We decided to exit that stop and ride with them (so four of us). We all stayed together for the entire ride.
Around mile 29, you hit a very steep hill…look for the huge incline (vertical practically) on my map. I had been warned to adjust my gears accordingly as some folks have to get up and walk up the hill. Our friend Jeremy was very clear with me when to shift and I did it and rode right on up the hill! It was a buster but felt great. Right up the bluff we went!
Our awesome group (Adam, me, Carlton, Jeremy). SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!
At this point, you are very warmed up. I can honestly say the remainder of the ride (we had a stop at Arkabutla Lake Dam) was simply amazing. The scenery was gorgeous. The people were friendly. The riding company was awesome. I wish today was a day for me to ride a century (100 miles)! I enjoyed it so much. Could not have asked for anything better and we even finished faster today! We finished 15 minutes faster 🙂
As we wrapped up today…I wanted a margarita so bad! Alas, I had chicken curry w/veggies (no rice or potatoes) and some powerade. I can honestly say, I really think the performance is due to CrossFit, running/biking of course and how we fueled. I never felt weak, had tummy issues, was tired or grouchy. I pray my marathon day in October goes this well. I try to share key learnings from first experiences and here are a few learnings/tips for anyone who may ever want to try the MS150:
- Don’t be worried about the fundraising. You can do it! Share on Facebook. Give yourself a couple of months at least to raise the minimum of $300 to do the ride.
- You don’t have to do a 150 mile ride over 2 days to practice or get ready. My longest ride this entire year was around 62 miles on just one day (no back to back rides). Yep, 75 miles was the longest I have ever biked…and I did it two days in a row with no issues or pain.
- When preparing for what you bring with you: go ahead and load up two frozen bottles on your bike before you head down the first morning, eat a decent breakfast at least 2.5 hours before your ride (I had some scrambled eggs, veggies, sausage around 5:30am). I also had a protein shake w/some instant coffee on the drive down. I also packed good and healthy snack foods in my bag that I checked. I made sure I had good stuff to eat in case the event did not have what I wanted.
- For the day of the ride: Prepare to meet new people and love it. 99% of the folks I met were awesome. I had on my FedEx jersey on Saturday and had so many people (from IT to a MD11 pilot) come up and talk to me while riding. Such a great conversation starter. If you can find a good, small group to ride with…DO IT (like we did the 2nd day). Mentally and physically it was very tough with Adam and I riding just the two of us for quite a bit of the ride on Saturday. A larger group (not huge though) helps you…you can have one person in the front ‘pull’ and then rotate that person out periodically to give each member a chance to pull and also have a break on the legs when they go to the back. It also makes for great conversation and teambuilding as well as learning new things.
- The volunteers were awesome (both the event volunteers and even the police directing traffic)…always tell them THANK YOU 🙂
- Use body glide or chamois butter….trust me…it makes things easier.
- Try to recover a bit the night after if you can (sit in the jacuzzi, swim in a pool, stretch).