Since I ran 12 miles yesterday, today I did my long ride. That would be 60 miles followed by a 2 mile run. The weather was perfect today for a ride, low to mid 70’s, subtle breeze, and a mix of sun and clouds. I went back to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for my ride where the hills are much more moderate compared to my home. My training partner was not able to join me so I did the ride alone. That was the hardest part of the ride I must say. When I race, I am surrounded by other athletes, race volunteers, and sporadic cheering sections. In training when riding alone it is a lonely ride. I was very aware of the discomfort that sets in around 40 miles. Occasionally I would see a cyclist coming the other direction and we would wave. Only three times did I come across a cyclist going in my direction (and only one was passing me, I passed the others – bonus). In the end, it was a good ride, I am happy I got the distance in, and I was very pleased with my pace. An accomplishment of both physical and mental endurance.
After my ride, I loaded my bike in the car, changed my shoes, and started out on my run. It felt very good. My legs felt strong even though I had run 12 miles yesterday and my pace was right where I want it for race day – hovering at the 11:00 minute mile pace. My greatest concern has been making sure to avoid cramping on the run. I have been diligent in taking electrolyte capsules on the ride and drinking sports drink over water. It has been working and I can only hope it holds true in four weeks for my race. Once I finished back at my car I felt the wear of the long workouts over the past two days. I was exhausted, but I still had grocery shopping to do. Oh if the necessities in life didn’t have to get in the way. After all I did, I still had more to accomplish today.
Now I have been able to settle in at home, have dinner, and relax a bit. I went upstairs to get my lap top so I could write this while sitting in my screened in porch. On the walk up stairs I could feel my quads burn from my ride. As I started down stairs I thought at least riding legs don’t hurt going down stairs. Then I remembered I ran 12 miles yesterday – I felt my quads burn with each step going down stairs, typical running legs. After all I have accomplished this weekend in training, the aches in my legs were just reminders of what I am able to do when I put my mind to it as well as my body.
A final note on accomplishments, as the 2012 Summer Olympics comes to a close I am in awe of all of the talented athletes from around the world. Being an American, I am beaming with pride at the accomplishments of my fellow country men and women. In a country where Olympic athletes do not receive government funding (only one of three countries by the way) the talent abounds and the athletes excel. I may not ever take a podium with my country’s flag raised in my honor, but I share the joy of the 46 gold, 29 silver, and 29 bronze medals that the American athletes were awarded. Awesome accomplishments.