Well, there were a few critics of Epic Day saying that it was too much training and we would never recover enough to be able to do anything for the next month, but I didn't listen. I know deep down that what makes me tick is finding out just how far and how much I can push my body each and every day. Week in and week out. And that is really what epic day is all about. Epic is really just throwing together HUGE miles and HOURS of training into one day and really seeing how your body deals with it all.
So without further adieu, here is the rundown of Epic Day #1:
8am - I pushed off the wall to begin a straight 4,200 yard set (2.4 miles) at the Webster Aquatic center. The pool was cold and I struggled with diving in, but I knew once I was in it, the yards and the laps would just come. I started my watch and dove in. I thought a lot, as I normally do when I am training by myself, about various topics. What was to come today, how would I fare in the 2 hour run after I got off the bike, what was my nutrition strategy going to be? I didn't have the answers to any of these questions, but I kept on going. I figured, I would just do my best, eat when I was hungry and just try to finish out the day. This was training after all, it wasn't a race, I just needed to go the distance.
1k clicked away under 14 minutes and I realized that I was going a little quick for such a long distance set, so I backed off. I knew there was going to be many more hours of the day and I didn't want to fry my arms right off the first 1,000 in the pool. I just kept swimming and wanted to keep it nice and relaxed at a good pace. 2k goes by and I split my watch again noticing I had slowed the pace to about 14:39. That was a little better, my mind was wandering and I wasn't breathing too heavy. This was more comfortable. I picked my head up shortly after 2k to see a familiar face and John Hunter looked at me and plainly said, "better late than never..." and he hopped in the lane next to me. It was a relief to have at least John there as I was thinking thru the first 2,000 yards that this was going to be a solo effort today (which would make it even more difficult) John and I swam the next 2,200 yards and the final time for me was 61:26 for 4,200 yards. It felt really comfortable and if I can swim a 61 in Panama City Beach FL for IRONMAN, I'd be plenty happy.
We exited the pool and agreed to meet at Fleet Feet at 10:30 am to embark on our 100 mile ride. John was late as per normal :) and needed to get a bento box for all of his nutrition at Park Ave bike shop before we left. To make a long story short, we left at 11:20am and headed down route 65 south. We appeared to be skirting a storm and I convinced John NOT to bring his rain coat (bad idea) We rode south until somewhere around Geneseo we hit Conesus Lake and decided it would be best to circle it twice for the mileage. It was peaceful and overcast around the lake, but more importantly it was flat. We were stopping about every 15 miles for old man John to "relieve himself" and that was odd because I was the one who was downing the most fluids. We made a scheduled stop at mile 60 to reload the water bottles and buy some gatorade and Johns front tire went down shortly after that near mile 75. At that point the heavens decided to open up on us and it dropped about 10-15 degrees. We were stopped under the overhang of the front door of a really small creepy townie bar in Lakeville. John was putting in a new tube and I was shivering trying to stay warm in the cold rain as drunks walked past us and asked if we were getting wet. (meanwhile we were soaked to the BONE).
We pushed off and headed thru Henrietta towards Rochester and the wind whipped right thru us both. There was no drafting and we made our way slowly back towards Fleet Feet. We pulled in at 99.5 miles and decided to make it legit by cruising around for the extra half mile to make it an even 100 mile trip. The pace was 17.5 mph according to my odometer and the time was 5 hours and 45 minutes of ride time (not counting John's flat or the refueling stop)
John decided to change in the Fleet Feet parking lot and begin running immediately, I decided to head home and drop the bike off and change into dry socks and clothes. I ate some pasta on the way back (again bad idea) and met John as he was finishing up the first loop of the FF Happy hour trail of 4.3 miles. I hopped out of the car to join him and put on the Fuel Belt and began running. Suprisingly, my legs weren't as shelled as I thought they would be. I had burned thru almost 4,000 calories on the bike alone and was doing well replacing them and getting the calories into my system on the bike. The run was another story though. The first lap with John was good, it felt ok and I felt like I would be able to do a marathon if need be. John left after my first lap (his second) and left me to hit the remaining hour and twenty five minutes by myself. The next lap was not as bad as I thought it would be and I began to try and take in nutrition at this point. One GU and some water and I thought I would be fine. Unbeknownst to me, my stomach was still trying to digest thru the pasta I ate on the drive over. Nothing was really getting absorbed and I was starting to burp and taste the gel again. I was getting a little worried, but nieve me, I thought I would be ok.
The third lap was a little tougher and my heart rate seemed to be staying in check. I was ripping off good splits 34/32/33 and seeming to keep a constant pace, but I could tell I was having GI troubles. The second gel was taken and it didn't settle well. I kept it down and pondered about stopping, but thought about how much it would suck to have to write that I stopped and walked on the run. So I just kept slugging along. I finished the lap and the hills didn't get any easier. I began lap#4 at one hour and 4o minutes into the run and decided to run 10 minutes out and then return to my car. I did and never walked once. I finished the 2 hours still standing and was able to drive home. I felt accomplished and I knew this was a good confidence builder and a deposit into the "bank of ironman" for withdrawal on 11/4/06.
The next day was a different story though. I woke up and ran with Erin Varley and Rachel Ciesluk in the Temple Beth El 5k and watched Erin run to a PR (BT) , the legs felt ok and I was shocked that they were still moving. They just kept getting worse and worse until I went to bed that night. Yesterday, (monday) I felt like I had been swung at at missed and I was doing pretty bad. Not hobbling, but still recovering from the 8 hours and 45 minutes of training on Saturday. Today, (tuesday) is the first day I think I am going back to putting in the miles as I feel ok enough to get on the bike and lace up the running shoes. I'll let you all know how it goes later on. All in all it was a humbling good experience.
There will be more Epic Days as the season goes on and anyone who wants to put in MONSTER miles and hours feel free to join me., Again it is a HUGE confidence builder on how much your body can handle in a given day. I hope to see you all at the races soon and perhaps maybe even at Hammerfest 6 coming up on 6/25/06. There will be a Hammerfest update coming soon, but save the date. Till then, take care and cheers.