In early June I did a relay event across the state, 339 miles. It's similar in format to relays you may have heard of: Hood to Coast, Ragnar, etc. Most teams had 12 members ours had 7 at our best, 5 at our worst, so we each did a lot of running. Those of you who know me know that I'm not much of a team person. I can work with a team, I did, but it's not my preference. To subsume my own opinions and submit to the team is not something I like doing. I put up with it and don't complain (much) though. Sometimes, because I'm not terribly outspoken, people assume I like to be in a supporting role. Not true. There's a reason I like events like Arrowhead and TransIowa, you're forced to rely only upon yourself for support. No one else there to bring you up...or down.
The running part of the event was good. I'm not used to road running, I race and train primarily on grass and singletrack, so my knees weren't quite ready for the pounding they got. Really it wasn't too bad. I developed a blister early on and my right knee gave me some trouble the second night, but all things considered I think I did pretty well for ~57 miles in three days.
Speaking of mileage I think I'm the only one on the team who didn't have a GPS watch to tell them pacing and distance. I don't wear a watch. It doesn't matter to me what my time is and carrying a watch won't make me faster. I get that if you train with it you have another way to pace yourself, but I prefer doing it by feel.
You might get the idea from this that I hated it and that's not true. I certainly had my struggles, but I made some new friends and came away with it feeling appreciated. I would consider doing it again, but right now it's not a high priority.
|Relay IA photo by Chuck Fritz|
You probably remember that I was going to do an “Ironman distance” triathlon for my birthday. Well I tried...sort of. I was pretty nervous going into it largely because I had invited other people to join me. I didn't know who was coming and the directions I had written up were untested at best. I was also concerned about some knee pain that I had developed during Relay IA and then exacerbated during a gravel/mountain bike ride two weeks earlier.
In the end only Matt Scotton (TransIowa vet. and Relay IA teammate) showed. We did the swim at Peterson's Pits with a last minute change to keep the course within the approved swimming area. I hadn't actually been swimming since doing a few laps at a health club in Finland more than a year ago so I wasn't sure how it would go, but it turned out pretty good. Apparently having been a competitive swimmer from ages 8 to 16 is an advantage.
After the swim we set out on the bike course. We had a nasty headwind out of the NW and got rained on as we approached the Des Moines River valley. Soft gravel, headwinds, and a stupid hilly course forced us (okay, me) to shorten the ride to 80 miles, but we still had fun.
I shortened the run to a 13.1 mile half marathon, partially to save my knee and partially because I just wanted to be done before midnight. It turned out to be a pretty good course and I was feeling pretty good for the first nine miles or so. The last few miles were rough on me though. I hadn't been eating well and it caught up with me. I finished with a pretty epic bonk.
By the time I was home (thanks for the ride Matt Scotton) I couldn't decide whether to shower, eat, or pass out. It was even tough to start eating as the first few bites were difficult. After that I started to gain some strength and recover. It's a good reminder not to get into that energy deficit area. I think maybe I worked harder than I thought.
|The Bike of Theseus at Peterson's Pits|