It was a big training week-end. Three members of the Moo crew and I headed up to Madison for a training ride on Friday. Bubba drove me and Brian (I remembered to provide danishes this time) and we met Doug at Firemans Park. I immediately noticed there were no port-a-potties. UGH! Ok, I would either start peeing on the bike by default, something I wasn't ready for or we had to find a bathroom. I remembered there was a gas station about a mile from where we were, it was on the route back to Madison so that was the direction we headed in. Made the quick stop and the ride got started. We rode 10 miles out and then 10 back. It was a steady pace, one that I had no trouble keeping up with. I knew the guys were just warming up and that I would be riding by myself soon. I was prepared for that. I spent a half hour the night before getting the directions and the map and laminating them together with tape. I had a fully charged cell phone and the general knowledge of changing a tire. I was good to go a lone. As we rode, I would separate from the group, they would stop and wait and I would catch up. About 25 miles into the first loop I told them not to wait for me anymore. Doug did his best to tell me they weren't waiting they needed to stop, I called him a big fat liar (which is funny to me because his body fat is probably all of 7%). I think I even swore, which was a cue that he knew I was serious, I didn't want them to wait. So, off they went.
The sun was burning off the remaining clouds from the rain. The humidity had set in. My legs were feeling stiff and it was obvious that the feeling was going to stay with me the entire ride. I was glad that I wasn't beating myself up mentally because I didn't keep up with the group. I just rode. One mile at a time, just one mile at a time. I held my map with a death grip against my right handle bar. I knew I wouldn't be seeing the guys anymore. The thought scared me, just a little. A couple of "what ifs" popped in my head. The "what if" I dropped the map and it blew away came to me just as I was making one of the final climbs on my first loop. I hated this climb. Its dead center, when I say that I mean there is no tree coverage for shade and no barns around to provide a shadow, it's dead center in the middle of no where. And just when you think you've made it to the top, nope there's more climbing. I felt the map starting slip from my hand as soon as I turned the corner and started my up hill battle. "The map's not falling, the map's not falling, butt back, toes forward, heals even and steady." The map slipped a little more. "I'm not going to drop it". It slipped more. I was just about half way up when I notice a dead possum in the road. No way, I told myself. No way are you going to drop the map. Well, if there is such a thing as a self proclaimed prophecy this was it. It happened. I passed the possum and felt the last of the paper, covered with tape, slip away. I didn't have to look. I knew where it was going to land. I stopped and put down the trusty kickstand. Walked to the dead possum (holding by breath) and picked up my map. I waved it in the air, as if I was going to blow off any dead possum germs it may have picked up and then stuffed it in my shirt. I walked my bike the rest of the way up the hill. I was sweating uncontrollably now. I wanted to start crying. I took in a big gulp of water, did a gel, and some more water. Got back on the bike and pedaled on.
That's it, I'm not doing the second loop. I'll just go to Fireman's park and wait 2 - 3 hours for the guys. Heck, they're probably starting their second loop now it won't be a long wait. Yup, I'm stopping. I don't need to do 2 loops. I'm good with one. Then I got lost. I was in Verona and got lost. I only had about a mile and a half to the park. I looked for land marks but nothing was familiar. Until I saw the street Paloi. Thankfully I could only go one way and I took it. Sure enough I rode right past the park. Thoughts of finding my way over took any thought of giving up. I pedaled on. One mile at a time.
I was about 2.5 miles into the second loop and my phone rang. Tried to answer it, I saw that it was Doug but I think I hung up on him because he wasn't there when the phone finally reached my ear. Was ready to call him back and my good friend Deb's called me. "Hey, is this a good time?" She starts every phone call that way. "Um, well, no, I'm up in Madison riding the course." I said. "Oh, I'll let you go. Hey, good luck. Hey, calling me when you're done so I know you're ok. Love you." she said. "I will, I love you too, bye." I said. No sooner did that call end Doug called back. "Hey are you ok?" he asked. "Yup, I'm ok, are you?" I asked. "Yeah, where are you?" He asked. "Im on Sugar River Road." I said. "You started your second loop - she started her second loop - we're waiting for you at Firemans Park." he said. (Now, let me see if I can put into words what I was feeling that this point. I was glad they waited for me, that made me feel good. I was surprised they stopped. For some reason I had it my head that we were just going to ride. I felt this sense of terror that they were now behind me and that I would have to once again watch them pass me and ride away.) I said something back to him like I couldn't stop. I didn't think we were going to stop. I had to keep going. He said don't worry about it and that he would see me in a couple of minutes. I feel bad now that I didn't apologize for making them wait. (I shot them an email this morning saying I was sorry.) At the end of the call I hung up and stood there frozen. I didn't want to see them. I checked the time. It was 12:38. I called home and talked to my mom. Told her where I was and that everything was going fine and that I would call her on our way home. Got on my bike and just pedaled.
I didn't look at my watch or my cateye. I just pedaled. The thought of being chased pushed me for the next hour. And that hour flew by. Doug caught me exactly where I thought he would. He asked if I had enough water and even doubted that I did. I assured him I was fine. I was fighting a stitch but knew it would pass. He told me that he knew it would hurt but he had to keep pounding. I told him to go get 'em and off he went. I passed Mt. Horeb High School and thought for sure Dennis and Brian would be coming up on me anytime. I decided to stop at a gas station and use the washroom and get some cold water. Got off my bike and waited for D and B. Called Dennis to see where he was but got his voicemail. I knew they were going to pass me at this point. Used the washroom, got a banana, water, blue Gatorade and off I went.
Saw a lot of cyclists after the stop. Smile, nod, wave. One mile at a time. The sun was out in full force. The humidity was strong. By this point I knew where turn and when to anticipate my next turn. The stiffness in my legs made the climbing tough but it wasn't so bad that I felt defeated. Saw my possum friend. Made my way thru the country roads. Saw a UPS driver about 15 miles from finishing. A strange "what if" popped in my head so I decided to stop and call Keri. I told her where I was. I kept fading in and out and she told me to call her when I was done. Off I went.
The ride was tough physically but mentally, well, I was really happy with how I handled things. I was entering Verona and I realized I was almost done! I only had a couple of miles left. I started to cry. Just out of the blue the tears came down. I was actually laughing and crying at the same time. My phone rang and it was Dennis wanting to know where I was. Told him I was just entering Verona and I would see him in a couple of minutes. I got lost again! So decided to take the same route I took last time. Found Paloi and then the park. Just about 7 hours. I was so happy, I couldn't stand it! Dennis later told me that he thought I was on EPO when he didn't see me on the course. EPO! That's funny. He said it got to the point where he thought he was seeing me but really didn't. I told him how I tried to call and that I was probably going a little faster than normal because I knew he was behind me. I thanked him for pushing me. I think I did. If I didn't - thanks Dennis. Thanks Brian. Thanks Doug.
Saturday Scott I. drove me, Caroline, Tom F., Mike B., Gil and Tom R. to the lake front, my earlier post describes that fun experience. I failed to mention that my husband Scott brought the kids to the beach to play while I trained. I loved seeing them having fun.
After the swim my run started out slow. I was tired from the ride on Friday. Caroline, Tom F. and I ran together. Scott, Gil, Tom R. and Mike B. ran ahead of us. They said they would keep about a 9 min. pace - truthfully I think it was quicker than that. We were averaging about 9:45. The conversation kept my mind off of being tired. The first hour flew by. Before we knew it we were at Montrose Harbor. The weather was perfect for a long run. It was also perfect for flying kites and we saw some some really cool ones. Tom F. was feeling good but decided to turn around and head back, he's recovering from a leg injury and didn't want to chance reinjuring it. Caroline and I moved forward, talking and laughing. We got to the end of the path and on the turn around saw the guys. Huh?! How did that happen? Of course we picked up our pace. ;) Once again, the thought of being caught and passed was in my head. We were able to hold them off for a good couple of miles. Then we heard Gil and Mike on our heals. Then Scott and Tom R. were there too. Mike broke away from us and Gil chased him down, getting an extra push, and giving us a good laugh, by trying to keep up with a vintage style, bright green, bicycle. By now the humidity had all of looking like we just finished our swim, not finishing up a 15.5 mile run. Scott I. was fighting an ear infection and the antibiotics where taxing his muscles. He was looking better than he was feeling. Tom R. broke away from us. We only had a mile left. I called my Scott and told him we were almost there. As I got closer to the beach I could see them. Gracie would run into the water and would be chased out by the waves. Zak just ran parrell to the water and stayed close to the beach. Then Grace would chase him to the water. My Scott was talking to Tom F. It was a great site. God I thought. This is my life. It doesn't get any better than this.
I got my stuff from Scott I.'s car. I told the group I wouldn't be seeing them on Sunday. It was a day off. I would be sleeping, eating and having fun with the family. Told Scott to be careful driving home. Caught up with the family and we spent the rest of the day together. On the way home we made a quick stop at Garrett's popcorn. That stuff is so good. My kids got on education on homeless people while I ran in and got a bag of carmel corn and a bag of cheese corn. We spent the rest of the ride eating and reliving what had gone on that morning. Kids fell asleep about 20 minutes from the house.
Sunday was filled with family stuff. We got to go to church at 11 instead of at 5 on Saturday evening. Maybe next time I'll write about how Zak had to tickle the girl's toes in the pew in front of ours, while we were kneeling and praying. We went to the grocery story and stocked up on stuff. Came home, changed, ate lunch and went to the park for a game of tag. While running around I was thinking, hey - thought this was my day off from running! Made it home in time to shower and change back into the good clothes and off we went to meet my sister, mom, Keri and nephews for dinner. It was a great day capped off with some good books. Nothing like Dr. Suess to finish off a long day of family fun. Lights were out at our house by 8:45. :)