I got a new laptop at work with Windows7 so I'm back in business. I'm sure my productivity will skyrocket now.....
I don't even know where to start when talking about the last month or whatever and running. There hasn't been much of it. My knees were hurting me almost every day and then my hips would finally have enough. Somedays I'd run fine and others 10minutes would be all I could take. It would seem I couldn't predict how a run would go until I got out the door. Some days I'd shuffle out the door and run fine. Other days I'd have pep and start to run and my knees would hurt so bad I'd have to stop.
For now I'm back in the old orthotics. The plastic (or whatever) part from heel to just before the ball of my feet are fine. The cushion part, that also has a bit of cork in strips under 2 of the anchor bones to my toes, is in horrible shape. They have tears that allow the anchor bone to my little toe ride directly on the shoe on my right foot. My right foot also has a hole where my second toe has dug in and through it. I guess I claw the ground a bit when I run....or in this case my shoe.
The inactivity was getting to me. The weather was amazing and everyday I'd see my friends going running or biking. Finally I got frustrated and did a group ride with John one weekend. I hadn't been on my bike at all since October when I'd done that 1/2 ironman. Before that I'd really only been on me bike about a dozen times all year. So I'd basically had nearly 2 years without training. I think we rode 65. He turned off to do 10 more and instead I went to the BBQ stand (Partlow's) and got a sandwich.
I'd always wanted to do that. Every time I'd ride by that BBQ stand I'd think about stopping but you pass it either right when your ride is starting....or when all you want is to get home at the end of a long ride So I never had. I'm glad I did because I was barely making it back. Boy was I out of shape. When John came by I jumped in with him...but about 1/2 way back I had to tell him to go ahead. I was done.. I did the 10mph survival mode back to the house.
That tuesday I did a group ride. It was all I could do a few times to not get dropped. Of course ego made me do the "A" ride. If it weren't for a couple of lucky stop lights that allowed me to catch up and recover I'd have been done. Of course...I think years ago in this shape I most certainly would have gotten dropped....but I know all the tricks now. Just where to ride in the peleton, where effort is just wasted because a crosswind is coming, or a stoplight, when to go like hell or be done for, etc. It took every trick in my book to keep up though.
After those couple of rides I decided to join the guys for the Blue Ridge Bike Camp. 300 miles on Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway. It's really hilly. I swear you're either doing 40mph or 10mph. There's never a flat bit. I was quite concerned because of my lack of fitness. My thought was that I'd be able to do about 60miles each day before bonking or cramping and having to crawl in the sag. Sag space was limited so John warned me I should really try to make it on my own the entire way.
I took off 30minutes ahead of the fasties with the "B" group. I just soft pedaled in the front of that group for about 90 minutes until the fasties came by. When they did I jumped in with John and Henry. They were going a bit harder but I felt ok. I just had no idea how I'd handle all the hills...especially once I got over 50miles. After about an hour I got lucky in that Henry got a flat. While they stopped to fix it I kept going, back again at my pace. About an hour later John caught me again so we rode together and then Scott Baldwin and Tim Kelley joined us.
The remainder of the ride I just kept waiting for the time bomb in my legs to go off. Certainly cramps or a bonk would come. I wasn't in shape for that. As I got closer to the finish though I was actually feeling pretty good. I had in my mind that the ride was 95-100 miles though. When I got to 105 I died. They had to wait on me a lot in the last 4 miles. I was cooked.
The next day I decided to only do 1/2 the ride. Scott Lake was driving the sag so he took me out. It was 65 and sunny when we left the hotel. By the time we got up on the mountain it was about 50 degrees. I threw on more clothes and took off with John and Scott Baldwin. We did about 10 miles and it started to sprinkle. Baldwin turned around and John and I did about 5 more and it started to totally downpour. I was fine for about 10 minutes until the road got wet. It was 40degrees and pouring and now I was soaked and getting water from the road and from John in front of me.
I'd been in this situation a ton of times so I just hunkered down and prepared my brain for 32 more miles of suffering. I was afraid though because the only way to keep warm is to go hard....and after 109miles the day before I was really afraid I'd run out of gas. If I ran out of gas hypothermia was a real possibility. It was THAT cold!
After about 15 minutes of totally freezing Scott Lake drove by. John and I jumped at the chance and I personally put every piece of clothing I owned on. I'd rather have just got in the truck but I didn't want to leave John out there alone. If he was riding I was riding. As we got going again stopping had made me so cold that I was shivering. Shivering so bad actually that on the descent I could barely control my bike. My hands were so cold I couldn't use the brakes. Once we got going though I warmed again....but I knew it would only last until my clothes got soaked through. Then we'd probably have another hour to go.
Just as I was resigned to an hour of that John said...."If we see that truck again I'm getting in!" Just as he said that I saw the van in the distance. It was all I needed. I jumped from the saddle and stomped on the pedals. I was CATCHING that damn van if I had to sprint 40mph to do it. Luckily they saw us. Brrrrrrrr...
The next day was totally unexplainable to me. The more I rode the better I felt. 117 miles and I felt amazing all the way to the finish. All I can guess is that riding with those big guys sheltered me on the descents.....then they're so much slower on the uphills that it allowed me to conserve. So I was really going easy up and down. Riding so well after no training made me feel like a badass.
I took the next day off and I felt horrible. My legs were like bricks. Then Tuesday I decided to meet friends for the Conte's ride. Free BBQ and beer....couldn't pass that up. The problem is that it's over an hour ride to get there. Then the ride is insanely hard. I managed 2 of the 3 loops before I got dropped. It turned out good though because I took a shortcut back and was first in line for the food. By the time I ate I'd tightened up pretty bad from the sprinting efforts. I'd climbed amazing....up until I popped. Really pleased with myself. Then the ride home......Holy smokes I was COOKED. It took me 90minutes to ride what took me 70 heading there. DONE!!