Okay, I'm finally coming out of the coma. I'm only beginning, I think, to understand exactly what I put myself through this weekend. By way of initial context, I'll say this: It was all tri, all the time.
Friday night was the TNT swim at La Jolla Shores. 1 mile, no big deal, right? Right. Except...when I swim slow, I get bored. Actually, I don't have time to get bored. In the water, if there's no clock running, I'm about six years old. I spent my forty five minutes in the water diving into the giant school of bait fish just offshore, trying to touch the bottom and sprinting around after seal barks, all in between bouts of making sure newbies didn't drown. I don't know how far I actually swam, but it was probably well over a mile. My arms and shoulders were sore the next day and they never really are after Shores swims.
I actually stayed in and slept on Friday night, knowing that Saturday was Iron Mountain. Now, if you've read this blog for a while, you know that I have a history with this workout. It was my fourth time on the course, and my first going in without an injury. I was supposed to be helping TNT again, but frankly there isn't much to be done for them at this point.
Prophecy moment: Iris gave me a bumper sticker that reads "Warning! Training with hangover." This is awesome on many levels. Mainly, it's damn funny, but I wonder if it signifies that I've been sending the wrong message to the TNT folks. It seems that every time they've called me to help out with a Saturday workout, and I've done several this season, I show up hung over, on no sleep, or both. Of course, I still manage to grind out the workouts and I'm usually pretty quick about it, but still, definitely something belongs in the "Don't Try This At home" category.
I think the alumni volunteers matched or outnumbered the participants who showed up. We got going and the lead out volunteer, Greg, and I dropped the teamies pretty quick, so I topped to let several catch and pass me to try and bookend the faster team group. The thing is, they were only holding about 15 MPH in that part of the pack and the top half of the IM route is way too fun to ride that slow. I wound up waiting at the turnaround. I let most of the team pass me there while I goofed off and talked to Robbie. We finally started riding after giving the middle of the pack a goof four or five minute head start. That's when Robbie said "Let's catch Dana." I said, "Okay" and tore off. A long hard sprint later, I caught and passed Dana. At that point I realized that Robbie hadn't followed me. Bastard.
No turning back now, though, I was committed to seeing how far up in the line I could get. I eventually caught Katie and passed her, which I think made her angry, because she wound up chasing me all the way back up the hill. More on that in a bit.
If you haven't ridden or driven highway 67 southbound, the stretch from where it connects to Scripps-Poway Parkway to Willow Road in Lakeside, which is our second turnaround, is an insane downhill section. I hit 40 MPH this time, though I've gone as high as 45. Iris told me she hit 49, which is AWESOME!!!!
At the bottom, we have an aid station at the Circle K. This is where everyone regroups and I got to heckle Robbie for not keeping up with me. He patiently explained that yes, he caught Dana too, he just waitied for a big downhill, rather than waste a bunch of energy sprinting through Ramona. I felt stupid, because it was at that point that I remembered I was racing on Sunday morning.
So we set out for the last leg of the ride, which a multi-mile climb back to Poway Road. This where it got weird for me. I was tired anyway, so when my energy started flagging, I sang songs in my head to keep going. I went through some Springsteen (Thunder Road), Social Distortion (Highway 101) and then I settled on, of all things, John Denver. That's right, JOHN FREAKIN' DENVER!!! Wanna fight about it? Apparently, Take Me Home, Country Roads works like afterburners. Who knew?
This is also where I realized I think I made Katie mad passing her earlier. See, she wiped the road with me climbing Torrey last week, but this time I stayed ahead of her, though she wasn't far back. I don't know, but I think she was holding back, letting me win, but knowing all the while that I would pay for it. I know this because back at the trail head, when I changed into run gear and took off up the hill, she and Dana and Tim went and did the ride again.
I had thought about going with them, but seeing as I was racing on Sunday morning, I decided to limit myself to the official workout, which was the 30 mile ride with 2274 feet of climbing, followed by a 3 mile trail run up the side of the mountain. You can actually go 6 miles if you go to the top, but I was being smart remember? I was saving something for the race, so I only went to the T junction. About halfway up, I realized that I hadn't done a trail run since I hurt my foot back in February. That's right, I picked pretty much the hardest one you can do to test the waters. That's me, Ryan Mashburn, Super Genius.
I felt a little better when Brian, who was also doing the race on Sunday, showed up at the T. At least I wasn't being dumb alone.
We grabbed lunch after the workout and it was at about 2:30 in the hamburger factory, in Poway, that Brian and I remembered we had to be in Imperial Beach, which is basically Mexico, by 4 to get our packets. We made it as they were packing up the expo.
Saturday night was a fundraiser where I was supposed to go for an hour or so, have a beer or two and then get some sleep. Four and half hours later I'm shooting pool with Iris and Melinda, several more than two beers into the night, thanks to Trent and Alan, and I have a stake in Brian, who I helped Iris buy at the singles auction. If you've got any suggestions on what we should do with him, hit the comment board.
So at 12:45 as I'm walking four blocks in the wrong direction from my car to get Melinda back to hers, I'm beginning to think I should revise my race goals for IB.
At 1:30AM, as I set the alarm for 4:30, I thought I may have made a, shall we say, tactical misstep, in my handlling of Saturday, which is when someone started backing heavy trucks around in one of the construction sites around my neighborhood. Beep beep beep rev. Repeat. Until 2AM, when I finally nodded off.
5AM Sunday. My text to Brian: "We are stupid. I've decided this." He agreed.
As I was setting up my transition area, someone asked me if the swim was still going to happen. Given that this was a triathlon, I said "I think so, why?" Apparently, the beach had been closed for a few days leading up to the race due to high bacteria levels. Wow, good thing I had all that beer in my system. Alcohol kills germs, right?
Not much to report on the swim, except that the water was disgusting and the visibility was worse.
Running out of T1, I heard someone yell my name and looked over to see Denner shouting at me from his seat atop a bike trainer. I spent the first mile or so of the bike ride wondering why the hell he was on a trainer in the transition area. My morning was definitely starting to rule.
I powered through the ride as best I could, though my legs felt like, I don't know, similes fail me. They felt like crap. I felt like crap. Thank god it was only 9 miles. I know 'cuz I read my t-shirt this time. I was so zonked though that even though I had my feet on top of my shoes coming into the home stretch, I nearly powered through the dismount line. Hopping off the bike as it was moving way too fast, I hit the brake to slow down, only I hit the front brake, causing the bike to endo with me in midair and slapping down onto the pavement in my bare feet. Somehow, I didn't break an ankle or drop my bike, though I got a great agonized "oohhh!" out of the crowd. And I made the dismount line. Yay! So into T2 I went.
That run sucked. How much did it suck? There are not yet computers powerful enough to calculate the magnitude of the suck. And I ran the whole 5K in under 30, but I didn't enjoy it damn you!
When I passed Greg on the course he asked how I was feeling and I said, "This sucks!" He laughed at me and we ran on. He was heading into the turnaround and I had already gone through it. I found out after the race, however, that after he laughed at me, he barfed. So see, that run sucked! It even sucked for the guy who wasn't hung over and running on 3 hours sleep the day after Iron Mountain.
Thankfully, after the race we got to go to Jim's house and eat heaping piles of awesome food. Thank you Denner for showing me that you don't need a fork to eat mac and cheese. You are correct that it's just more efficient, not to mention visceral to just shovel it in by hand.
By the time I got home Sunday night, I was so tired I don't think I knew my name anymore. I fell asleep in the shower. I finally plonked my worn out carcass into bed around 10:30, and I barely made it past turning off the light. Score! Sleep. Finally, sweet holy blessed sleep. And I have no idea whether the jackass in the truck was working last night.