Monday, September 14, 2009

I Didn't Sign Up For This!

OK, last week was rough. I missed 3(!) workouts due to time constraints while working on a special project. I only managed to swim 3 out of 4 planned crossings at Lucky's Lake (got a bad headache during the first crossing, had problems sighting and focusing, then by the 4th crossing it began to rain making visibility even more limited, plus I'd be the only one out there swimming, so I wimped out). But those things happen ...

The big surprise happened on Sunday. I discovered that the Great Floridian (GF) 112-mile bike course has been changed!!

And NOT for the better, IMO. In the past, it's been a hilly first third with a fairly FLAT second third and some gentle rollers the last third. Here is what the elevation map looks like for this year's race (created using Bike Route Toaster):



ARGHHH!!!

So now the second half is quite hilly too with the last 12 miles being the worst. WTF???

And, of course, I did NOT know this when I signed up for the race last year or when I signed up for Beach to Battleship (B2B), another full iron tri, two weeks later. Looking at the race forum discussions, it appears that the race director began a thread talking about a bike course change just last July. Crap ...

Well, yesterday Dave and I did an organized bike ride called the Assault on Sugarloaf, which is the GF bike course, and found out the hard way. We didn't have time to study the course map or turn-by-turn instructions they gave us that morning so we just followed the orange arrows, like everyone else. But at ~mile 40, I knew something was up when we rolled past the turn-off for the flat section of the previous GF bike course and started heading back to the start. Then I realized that sign we saw earlier painted on the road (something about a 2nd lap) meant we'd be hitting the hills again. YIKES!


But the course is nice and flat for a bit early on. We resisted temptations to latch onto pace lines.



An aid station at ~mile 50. Thus far, we've ridden on hills, through rain and now the sun is coming out to bake us. What a welcome sight in the middle of nowhere.



Never let someone take a picture of you eating a banana.



At the halfway point, Dave is done. It began raining again as I headed out for the rest.



It was a lonely ride but I did see a few folks later at the aid stations. I'd be surprised if 50 people did the whole 112 miles.


But I was one of them. 112.4 miles in 6:54, a 16.3mph avg. Not a bad ride for me considering my Garmin said the course had ~5200 ft climbing (nearly double what I had anticipated!), we had rainy/wet conditions at times and there was no traffic control (so we had to obey all traffic laws). After I got done, Dave also discovered that my rear tire was not fully inflated (must have rolled over something and had a slow leak). Possibly it wasn't just the hills that turned me into a slug late in the ride?

Still, my legs were beat. Here are my thoughts about the new course:


Mi 1-60 - What I expected from the orig GF course so all is good.
Mi 60-100 - More hills than I'd like but manageable.
Mi 100-112 - Brutal, esp. in 90+ deg heat. I think I'm going to be sick.

So with that, I am rethinking my game plan knowing that this new GF bike course is going to wreak havoc on my race goals and the quick recovery I need to do B2B two weeks later. I need some input from you guys. What would you do or suggest?

A) Bail on GF and make B2B my "A" race.

B) Change to do the GF olympic distance race offered the same day and make B2B my "A" race.

C) Change to do the GF aquabike event (2.4 swim, 112 bike) offered the same day and make B2B my "A" race.

D) Do GF as planned but with modified race goals and hope to recover fast enough for a better finish at B2B.

(There is no bailing on B2B as my step-daughter and son-in-law are coming to cheer for me at that race, plus it's my birthday weekend)

OK, so please let me hear your thoughts. Hope none of your races have major course changes that would make them much harder either.

PS - Still way behind in my blog reading but trying to catch up before my Google Reader explodes!

34 comments:

Stef said...

My initial gut reaction to this is to do GF as planned but with modified race goals.

No question that you can handle both races even with the modified course which makes your choice down to what you WANT.

Can you do the half GF or is that on a different weekend (probably or you would have listed it as an option -- lol)

DaveP said...

"Dave is done" was an understatement.

As for options, how about "E. Suck it up and stick with the orginal plan"?;-)

Stef said...

Oops the aquabike option for some reason didn't register with me the first time. THAT seems like a viable option too!

Katherine said...

I vote against option E. Listen to yourself. I'm kinda leaning towards modifying your race goals.

Jenny Davidson said...

I say B!

Runner Leana said...

Shirley, what do you want to do? Have you talked to your coach about this?

Obviously you want to keep B2B as your A race. Can you modify your goal for GF and still have a good B2B? After all of the training for back to back IMs would you really want to bail on GF or race the shorter distance?

Ultimately all that matters is what you want within your heart. You've been training hard for this, so do what will sit best with you. I know you are capable of whatever you set your mind to. Good luck with your decision!

Missy said...

Whatever you do ... B2B, A Race. I say OLY for GF would be the best brick practice for B2B.

NEVER let em catch you with a banana. It really just opens you up to oh so much...

Wendy said...

I'm no help at all! I'm still all caught up in my jealousy over Lucky's Lake crossings .... ;-)

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I have no suggestions for you other than to do whatever seems right to you. :-)

Sunshine said...

What do you want to do seems to me like the best advice.
Lots of us cheering, whatever your decision.

Rainmaker said...

If you want to do B2B as a 'A' race, then I wouldn't do any race at all 2 weeks prior - Oly, AquaBike or otherwise. Just my two cents.

That said, if you aren't looking to make B2B an 'A' race, then you could do reasonably do anything but a full Iron two weeks prior.

Finally, if you are just there to finish, then I have no doubts you could do both - but B2B will be rough on the run.

(This comes from someone who did an IM two weeks ago, and raced an Oly this past Sunday - competitively.)

Again, just my two cents.

Spokane Al said...

I don't know Shirley. It sounds like you have been planning and training hard for these two races for a while now. Why stop now because of a few extra hills?

What does your coach recommend?

Meg Runs said...

Let us know what you decide! Good luck with that decision!

X-Country2 said...

You can certainly handle both, but the true question: which has better swag? THat's how I decide on things such as this.

jeanne said...

i'd definitely say "B." You want want a race where you can meet your goals, not just hang on til the finish. And i'm afraid that with that bike change, it could really mess with your goals for GF. PLUS, mess up your race two weeks later.

I'm with Ray: make B2B your A race, and do everything you can do to make sure you're ready for it!

Susan said...

Goodness - I don't know what to suggest. On one hand, you can handle ANYTHING. On the other hand, if ShirleyPerly says it's bad, I'd bail. Hmmm...

BTW, if it's not being too nosey, I'd live to know some of your health stats, like BP, heart rate, cholesterol, etc. It just seems that you have got to be the most in-shape mortal I have ever known!

Petraruns said...

Oh SP there are people out there who know IM and its demands much more than I do, so take their experience into account.

But thinking about doing 2 hard races back to back - it depends on how you feel on race day. I would say carry on with your training. If you're full of fire on race day of race number one - go for gold. You will still race number 2 - but you will feel race number one. On the other hand - if race number one wetn well - this will give you confidence and a boost.

Somewhat tentatively I think Dave has the right suggestion ..

Maria said...

It sounds like doing the oly 2 weeks before an IM could be doable, especially in your shape. But you should trust your training, your body and your coach. Whatever you do, have fun and don't eat banana's near a camera!

Sherry said...

Ouch!

Hmmm... well, if you haven't changed your mind in a few days about a new game plan, then my choice would be to do the Aquabike. However, this may be because I really want to do an Aquabike someday! ;p

If B2B is the race that you are really looking forward to, then I don't see any reason to let GF affect your goals for that race... and with the new bike course, it just might. Ya know?

You are such a strong athlete, Shirley... and I really don't have any doubts that you could do BOTH and do them well; however, you have to be comfortable mentally and only you truly know what your body can/can not handle.

You'll make the choice that's right for you. :o)

Marlene said...

That does NOT sound like a pleasant surprise! I guess it worked out well that you had the chance to ride this course ahead of time. 7 hours of riding - wow!

I will leave it to the triathletes to offer advice, but good luck!

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Hate to say it... but I am with Dave on this one. Regardless of the course change you ARE MORE THAN READY!!! Beleive in yourself...we do!!!

congrats on a strong 112 mile ride!!!

KodaFit said...

I'm with Dave, Al & Gotta Ride.. Gotta Run.

The Shirley I know wouldn't balk at a couple of extra hills, although the Shirley I know may not have posted a picture of herself eating a banana either!!

I guess ultimately it's your call... Having ridden the course, you'd probably be a better judge of whether your goals need adjusting as well. Just don't take the easy way out!

None of us do this because it's easy.

Regina said...

I don't know if I am qualified to suggest which option to take, but if B2B is going to be your A race (as you suggest in three of your choices), I presume you would want to do really well. In that case I would choose the option that would allow you to do that (would leave you with the freshest legs?).

I don't really know or understand all of the talk about A vs B races yet in detail, except on a rudimentary level.

Great triptych photo of your reaction to each section of the ride. funny!

thanks too for your comments on my race results!

Calyx Meredith said...

Glad you found out about the course change early enough to think through your options! I think that changing your expectations to match the new conditions makes sense, but I suppose the question is which goal causes more sparks in your heart - the back to back full courses or kicking ass on both timewise, but having one be shorter than the other. Good luck deciding!

lindsay said...

i also wonder what coach says? at first glance, i would say do the full GF with modified plans and make B2B your A race. :) i have no idea if that is ridiculously too much though as i am not a tri-er.

skoshi said...

wow--that's a really tough decision you've given yourself. I know I haven't kept up, but I always thought that GF was your "A" race and B2B was to follow more for fun and family, without too great an expectation because it was 2 weeks after an IM. This may have nothing to do with it, but B2B's downhill current in the swim will give you an abnormally fast swim (which for someone like me is pretty much a necessity--you'll see when you catch up on your reading), but for you, I'm not sure if your finish time will feel "real" (no slight intended to anyone and their goals--I'm doing B2B also), because it might feel like the swim was aided. B2B also has a half distance, so if you continued with GF as your "A" race, you could scale back your B2B distance, as well as modify your goals. Finally and just a thought, maybe you could do the B2B half as a relay team and make it a family affair.
I guess I'm just throwing out more choices (but I do think family affair might be pretty cool). Anyway, I look forward to meeting you. I'll send good thoughts your way and I'm sure you'll find the right decision for you.

MaineSport said...

Modify your goals. Sure there are hills there, and Sugarloaf is the biggest, but I wouldn't call it a deal breaker at all. Turn the end of the race into an interval workout, working the ups, gliding the downs. At that point in the race, the changing positions will feel really good. Turn this all into a positive and go kick ass!

Jade Lady said...

I think you have to go with your gut instinct.

jen said...

Whew! Sounds like a really tough ride. You are amazing though- I would be thrilled with such a strong pace and that was your “slug” pace?!! Incredible.

Well I personally think you are a little coo coo in general, and that doing back to back Ironman distance races was crazy to begin with… but this is the woman who does marathons every weekend and never stops smiling. J So while I do believe you could still complete both races, I will take the chance to say Make B2B Your “A” race and your only Iron race! So I pick either option B or C (where you do GF alternate events). Of those, I would say do the Aquabike- what a great training day! And still do your “modified” goals on that… you’ll need to recover and be 100% ready for B2B. Hope this helps! I know you’ll do great no matter what you choose.

Kevin said...

You have had some amazing hardcore feats. I guess my question would be how much harder is the bike ride now then it had been? Not sure what your goals were for GF, but maybe go into it with a plan B to back off if it truly does feel much harder then you expected

Irish Blue said...

I'm still laughing about the banana!

Vickie said...

Its easy to get behind on the blogs with all the training! I think what you do depends on what you really want to achieve. Is it possible to take it easy on GF as a training day to save yourself for B2B? Do you have the goal to finish both races? Since you haven't completed an IM yet, you don't really know how long it will take you to recover sufficiently to use the 2nd one as an A race. I would think that would become a B race under the circumstances.

RoadBunner said...

Go with your gut! I have to say, I also agree with those who say if YOU say it is bad then it must be REALLY bad :) From all of the options it seems you like the idea of downsizing the first race.

EndorphinBuzz said...

Only you know what you can do and what your goals are but I would tend to go easy on the GF while keeping the same distance and use it as training/learning before you can go full tilt for B2B.