Keri and I headed up to Wisconsin to ride the Dairyland Dare 100k - some of the Moo Crew and club members were riding the 200K. We planned on meeting them Saturday morning in Dodgeville. I picked Keri up from work Friday afternoon. I was starving. I packed grapes, frosted pretzels, water and gatorade to snack on. As we inched our way out of the city, during rush hour, I nibbled and then began taking handfuls of food to try and fill my grumbling stomach. The snacks weren't working, I needed real food. As we approached Rosemont, I almost caused an accident when I saw the neon sign for Magnums Steak House. I was so distracted by the thought of a big juicy steak and baked potato that I almost slammed into the car in front of me. We finally made it to Janesville Wisconsin and stopped at Texas Roadhouse. It wasn't Magnums but it did taste good. The restaurant added a Thelma and Louise feel to our road trip. Country music, pales of peanuts, the only thing missing was the convertible. We got to the hotel around 9:30, tired and ready for bed. I didn't pack my bed roll for this trip. Well, I should have because this Country Inn and Suites had feathers pillows. I requested foam when I made the reservation but because we got there late they had no foam left. UGH! So, I took 2 bath towels folded them in half and placed them on top of the pillows. I then took some allergy medicine and hoped for the best. My pillow topping reeked of bleach and thoughts of puffy eyes and an itchy nose made my eyes, nose and the rest of my body itch. Eventually I did fall to sleep and slept pretty good until the alarm went off. The towels worked because my eyes weren't swollen. My nose was itchy but I think it was from the bleach.
We got to Dodgeville and found Bubba right a way. The rest of the group was driving in from their campsite. While we waited we prepared our bikes, got our chips and used the bathroom. The group arrived and we headed off a little after 7 a.m. I knew this would be a difficult ride but I was going to take it a mile at a time. My legs felt good and mind was clear. I was able to stay seated on all the climbs before the first rest stop. Yah hoo! Keri was doing great and we saw the gang getting ready to leave the rest area. I told the guys to be careful and please call me when they were done riding so I knew they were safe. Off they went. Well, the weather wasn't cooperating. The clouds covered the sun and the sky was rumbling louder than my stomach the night before. Then the lightening started and the rain came. Keri and I finished our bananas and bagels and continued on. We weren't riding for more than a minute when we realized our cleats were sticking to our pedals, we couldn't get them out. Freeing our feet became our main focus. We struggled for about a quarter mile. We passed several other riders experiencing the same thing. This was so freaky. We managed to clip out, clean the sand off the bottom cleat and keep going. But this was something we struggled with for the rest of the ride. With each stop I would play with the tension on the pedal. Finally by the last rest stop I had fixed the problem. Before reaching that rest stop tho we did a lot of climbing. I can't believe how calm I kept my mind and how still I was able to keep my body as I pushed my pedals and defeated each hill. One after the other, I mentally crossed them off the map. I would see people getting off their bikes and walking up but I would try not to look at them. It was my bike and the road, actually my pedals, my feet/legs and the road. I got stronger as I conquered each rise of the pavement. I tried to remember what I had done leading up to this ride. What did I eat, when did I go to bed, how much water did I drink. I know all of these things played a role in how good I was feeling. I had to make a mental note to myself, remember this feeling when you are in Madison, if you can do this ride feeling this way then you can do Madison feeling this way. Ok, now, how many frosted pretzels had I eaten? Was it half the can or just a quarter?
By the end of the ride the rain had stopped, the sun was out and the wind picked up. I think we were riding about 5 hours and 15 minutes. Keri felt great and so did I. We saw Ken at the finish. He was cramping bad and decided to head back before the cramps became paralyzing. It was perfect timing. We all changed and packed up the cars. Then headed into a pavilion for some fresh vegi's, chicken and pasta. I can't say enough good things about this ride. It was extremely organized. Communication was clear from the day I registered. The course was well marked. The rest stops were well stocked. We received a t-shirt and glass with our packet. There was plenty of sag support on the route. The race organizers should be feeling good this morning on how well this ride went. I encourage anyone reading this to try the Dairyland Dare next year. You won't be disappointed with the challenge or what is provided to support your ride.
Well Sunday morning came really quick. I knew it would. I packed my stuff for Sunday on Thursday. I had everything ready so I could sleep as late as possible. 4:10 and the alarm sounded. I turned it off as quick as I could so it wouldn't completely wake up the hubby. Kissed him and the kids and went to get ready. Choked down a Powerbar while getting dressed. Was able to get a bottle of water down as well. Did about 3 minutes of yoga and it was 4:30 - time to go. Threw the bag in the car, opened the garage door - it was raining. Crap. Ran back in the house and grabbed a rain poncho for me and Caroline. She was coming with me. As I was pulling out of the garage she was pulling up. She got in and off we went. Fortunately the rain stopped before we got to 95th street. Was able to park the car by tri - beach for free!!! Called Bubba - he had to run 20 miles, I had to run for 3:15 minutes - we figured it was about the same time/distance so we met up. Oh, forgot to mention that we signed up for the Chicago Distance Classic (CDC). Our plan was to run for as long as we could before the race, run the race and what ever we needed after, we would just fill in. Put my timing chip and bib # on, (that Caroline was nice enough to pick up for me) grabbed a bottle of gatorade from the car and off the 3 of us went.
I love to run. It's weird, some people are like, "love to run? - I run to the refrigerator during a commercial, that all the running I like to do", not me. Maybe it's because early on it was my comfort time. My time to try and figure out life, to think or when I ran with music, my time to listen to music with out someone telling me to turn it down or change the song. Running also brings out my competitive side. I had to keep telling myself - I need to keep a 10 minute mile pace. Today I wasn't running to get a fast time but running to complete a distance in a certain amount of time. I couldn't let myself be distracted by the clock or catching another runner.
We started out at a good pace. We got 3 miles in at - what do ya know - a 10 minute pace. We used the pap's and headed to the start. Reminded Caroline and Dennis I was going to keep a 10 minute mile pace. Caroline laughed and said that I've never kept that pace - but then encouraged me that I could do it. Then off they both went to run their races. I finished the gatorade and threw away bottle. I was standing with the 10 min. pace group and it was time to use the bathroom again. The race was starting in, oh, about 3 minutes. There was no time. No problem, I was taking it easy today. If I remembered correctly, this race had pap's all around the course. The horn sounded, off me and 8,000 other runners went. By mile 1 I was regretting my decision to wait. Checked the pace clock. I was around 9:40 - that was good. Mile 2, same thing but no pap. Mile 3 - good time, no pap. UGH! Ok, the next open Starbuck, McDonalds or ally that I see, I'm going. Mile 4 - 40:45. I sped up a little. I'm thinking it was the urge to go that made me pick up the pace. Then finally, there it was. A grey port-a-potty. I knew it was going to be bad because it was at a construction site but I didn't care. I had to go. There was a line of 6 women. Ok, 2 minutes each woman that's going to put me 12 minutes behind. Things moved quickly. I was off on my estimate. When I made it to mile 5, I was 6 minutes off my pace. This is when I made my mistake. I thought, no problem, I can make it up. I started to run. Ok, mile 7, lost a minute, mile 8 lost a minute and a half, mile 9 boom another minute. By mile 10 I had gained the time I had lost and then some. I checked my Garmin at that point and I was running a 7:30 pace at that moment. Ok, slow down. Stop running. Hmmm. What was the 10 minute pace finish again? Just slow down. I got things in check and slowed things down. But it was to late. The damage was down. Because if I did finish in 2 hours 10 minutes, I had pushed myself, running fast, when I really needed to just take it easy and jog this race not race this race. I was beating myself up because I had just beaten myself up. What was I thinking. I lost the site of what this was supposed to be doing. Note to myself, no more running a race to just train in. It doesn't work. Maybe I can do it in a tri but not running. Crossed the finish line with a clock time of 2:06 and change - chip time turned about to be 3 minutes less. I was not happy. The group met at the fountain. Before we knew it we were off and running again. I was tired. Really, really tired. I still had an hour swim I had to get in. We made it to the beach and then headed to our cars to get our swim stuff.
Caroline and I changed in a nice, clean Starbucks bathroom. Since I was there I figured a Chai Tea Latte wouldn't hurt. I felt better after drinking it. Made it to the beach. Bubba had already started. Told Caroline I would see her in an hour. Decided to try and swim without the wetsuit. The water was cold but felt good. Swam for a while and decided that I needed the wetsuit. The water was a little choppy, I was tired and I kept stopping and starting my swim. Thought the suit would make me more comfortable. It was a good decision. Once I had it on, I was able to swim without fear. I had every intention of turning around at 400 M but there was this couple swimming together. The man asked me what point we were at and I told him. He asked me were 800 M was and I pointed to the buoy, 400 M away. He asked his girlfriend what she thought about continuing and she said, well, since they were out there they may as well continue. That was all I needed to hear. I put my head down and swam to the next buoy. The current was a little strong on the way back and my stroke got sloppier than on the way out. My head felt heavy and I had trouble breathing. I stopped at one point and let out this huge belly burp. While burping I looked to the shore and there was this runner parallel to me. While still running he turned around and gave me this big thumbs up and then turned back and kept running. I couldn't stop laughing, well I did stop and continued to swim to the beach. It took me 49 minutes to swim a mile. I was happy with it. I was tired. I wanted to go home. Caroline was tired too. It was a long training week-end and it was over! The taper begins. 4 weeks and counting down.