I recently had a BIG training milestone. It was both physically and mentally demanding and gave me an indication of what race day could look like at Ironman Cozumel. I completed a 7 hour brick workout on Fiesta Island. I rode my bike for 6 hours and then ran for 1…all around the same 4.1 mile teeny tiny loop!
For those of you unfamiliar with this “island” in San Diego (it’s connected by a tiny strip of land), let me fill you in.
1. It’s only 4.15 miles around its largest point. Think about how many times you could bike around a small island in 6 hours…
2. There is a strong headwind on at least one section of the island. In my case, it was windy for most of the ride and got worse in the afternoon. Great practice for Mexico.
3. There’s not much to see besides campers, porta potties, and a large body of water. Bring your own drinking water, though, because there are no facilities on the island, and porta potties will become your best friend.
4. It’s next to Sea World and Mission Bay, 2 beautiful places that attract many tourists.
5. It is popular among cyclists, runners, dog owners, fishermen, and people with campers that like to water ski, jet ski, etc.
I was both excited and anxious for this long day. It would be flat and windy, like IMCZ, and I wouldn’t have to deal with stop lights and San Diego traffic. I could just ride and ride and ride with no major distractions, without stopping, for as long as I could handle it…except for when I’d have to go pee. (Me and my tiny bladder!) I will not pee myself on the bike. I’ve heard that can cause chafing.
While cars are allowed on this island, they typically go very slowly since the island is packed with outdoor enthusiasts. Signs say “Vehicles, Cyclists, and Pedestrians Share the Road” so it’s a friendly place to do a time trial lap or two…or 25 in my case. The Tri Club of San Diego has club races there, there are bike time trials held there, and the Rock n Roll full marathon has its last 2 miles there. It’s a popular place!
The night before my workout I was tired but couldn’t sleep. I got nauseous and restless and then teary eyed. I think I started having an anxiety attack. Why was I panicking over a TRAINING SESSION? I started psyching myself out. If I was panicking now, what would I be like on race day? On race week? I definitely need to figure out how to manage my emotions! I think part of me was worried I was going to fail at this workout. It was my first true test to see how fast I could maintain my speed on a long, flat course. All of my other long rides had some kind of hills involved or were recovery rides along the coast. This was supposed to be a race simulation. This was going to be a true test. At Ironman Coeur d’Alene, I couldn’t even hold a 13mph average. Granted, it was extremely hilly, but that’s how slow I was that day. I am NOT a fast cyclist, and no, I am not being modest. It’s the truth. Cycling did not come easily to me.
Saturday morning we rolled out of bed at 5am (goal time was 430am, but I think my lack of sleep didn’t help), arrived at Fiesta by 630am, and were riding at 7am. Look at the beautiful sunrise we had waiting for us when we arrived on the island!
The ride went WAY better than I expected. I completed 102.8 miles (25 laps) with an average speed of 17.19mph!!!! This is a huge milestone for me! My biggest fear going into Ironman attempt #2 was missing the bike cutoff – again. At this speed, I will not be in danger of the 10:30 hour swim + bike time cutoff. WOOOOO! pushed through the windy parts and hammered the fast parts. All the time thinking positive thoughts, positive thoughts. Sometimes I would sing to myself too, (99 bottles of beer on the wall…) but usually I was focusing on calories, liquids, speed, and cadence. Time went by somewhat quickly because I stayed extremely focused.
My back felt funny when I tried to get off the bike after 6 hours (even with my 5 pit stops in between), so I almost fell as I unclipped. Note to self: Do not fall off the bike during dismount during the actual race. I might need a catcher earlier than I thought! My body was not used to being in the aero position for 6 hours. Again, good practice. I grabbed a handful of pop chips and started my run. We were both pretty slow going during it, but we hung on. I ran 6 miles.
Here are some key metrics from my ride so I can compare it to my next Fiesta Island ride. That’s right. Coach Trevor has asked me to do it 1 more time, and this time, try to increase my average speed by 0.5 mph. Ironman Cozumel, here I come!
Fluids: 6 bottles of water (1 bottle per hour): 4 straight H2O, 2 with CarboPro (400 calories per bottle) + Nuun fruit punch tabs
Calories: 300 calories per hour (the most I’ve ever managed to take in! Apparently, that is good for my energy levels.)
Food Consumed in addition to CarboPro calories:
– 2 PB&J uncrustables
– 2 packets Amy’s fruit snacks (Changing it up from GU Chomps. These were easy to shove down my throat, but I dropped a couple of them.)
– 2 Bonk Breaker bars (Apple and Fig flavors)
Salt: 3 tabs (1 every 2 hours)
Run: Ate a handful of pop chips before the start. Ran out of water, so was extremely grumpy and dehydrated during the run.
Another note to self: Next time, bring 2 gallon jugs of water! Maybe bring Coke too since that will be available on the run course.
What has been your biggest training milestone?