Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Crucible

Ok, so many of you had to read Arthur Miller's play, "The Crucible" in school. How could you forget all that Salem Witch Trial Awesomeness? It was Arthur Miller's response to McCarthyism and having been interrogated by the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities to name "names" of other people who were in attendance at meetings and gatherings he had attended. Well, I am not talking about that "Crucible", I am talking about the porcelain containers used in a lab or in a forge that can withstand temperatures that would melt or alter its contents.

I live in a crucible. It is called Texas. Frankly, I love it. I don't want to hear your moaning and whining about the heat and the humidity. HTFU!!! I don't want to hear your complain about the sweat running down your butt crack. Go put on some Cool Max!!! I don't want to see you simpering as you exit an air conditioned car or building into the heat. Toughen up Buttercup!!! I don't want to hear you rationalize why you cannot do your workout because of the temperature outside. HYDRATE!!!

I make my own weather. In my sphere of influence, the heat warms me up from being frozen inside some building that is overly air conditioned. In my little world, the humidity keeps the wrinkles at bay and gives me that youthful "dewy" look. In my neck of the woods, sweating lets me release toxins and reminds me to take a cool sip of iced tea (unsweetened please). If I can master heat training, then I have a leg up over you. You have a heat index of 109 degrees?


Yesterday the wind was non-existent. The sky was clear. The mosquitoes were at bay. It was a perfect morning as the sun started to lighten up the sky before it peeked over the horizon. I had 2 hours and 30 minutes of bike/run fun ahead of me. My goal was to be rolling at or before 7 am so that I would be finished by 9:30 and home before the kid got up. There is a park just a short 15 minute drive from my house that provides me with a 4 mile bike loop and many run loop combinations. I had directions from my coach to make the bike long and the run medium in length. I was to focus on keeping the heart rate steady on the bike and to see how things panned out on the run.

When I got to the park, my friend and fellow tri coach, Jay, was there with his TNT group. I parked away from their group and got my bottles and nutrition on the bike and got ready to go. At 6:57 am, I rolled out of the parking lot and headed out on the loop. I like this park because there is very little traffic and the cars that do run through the park know that cyclists and runners are out on the road. I got in almost three laps before the TNT group that Jay coaches hit the road. They had a run/bike/run brick that they were tackling. Jay had told me that there were some pretty fast guys in his group and a few who had done an Ironman as well.

I guess that it is like the bloodhounds when they grab hold of the scent of a rabbit. Those boys had seen me zooming past on my bike and they were out now to chase the rabbit down. Please tell me why it is that there are boys/men who do not like gals who know how to handle a bike and can hold their own out on the road? Why??? Well, many of those boys jumped in the loop right after I passed on the start of my third loop and began the chase. It took them a mile or two to catch up with me and then they screamed on past without an "On your left..." or anything. I have a term for you, and it is not a nice one. My buddy Ryan caught up to me around the 3 mile mark in the loop and we chatted for almost a mile and then I told him to go ahead because I was working on a pace and he was making me work too hard. All I had to focus on was a heart rate of 140 bpm.

I would watch the heart rate get up to 145 or 147 and I knew that I had to drink and calm my breathing. As soon as I took a drink, the heart rate would drop back into the 130's. I fueled and kept up with the salt and electrolytes as if I was racing. I was dialing it in. I kept my bike speed up in the 19-20 mph range the entire time. Because I was rolling along pretty well, I did pass a bunch of people. 24 women and 8 men to be exact. Playing "Fishing" and reeling people in gave me something to do other than watching my heart rate.

After 1 hour and 50 minutes I had finished 8 loops and an out and back on part of the loop to give me a total of 36.27 miles at an average pace of 19.78 mph and I kept the heart rate at an average of 140 bpm. SWEET!!!

As I was quickly transitioning and loading my bike in the car, one of my girlfriends, Lauren, drove by in the parking lot and said she was glad to see me and we needed to get together. I told her that I would see her at the Bridgelands tri the next morning (today) to cheer for her. I had to keep on top of my time to get my run done.

By now, the sun was high in the sky and a few clouds had rolled in. The temps were in the mid 80's by now and I had 40 minutes of running in front of me. As I took off, many of the TNT group were now on their run as well. I just started picking them off one by one. I kept the pace at a place where I knew I could go into cruise control and not have to walk. I felt slow. Even thought I was slow, no one passed me up and was getting the work done. Each loop was .93 mile and I thought about how that was the same distance of an Oly swim. I would have been much slower if I was swimming those loops. After 4 loops I looked at my watch and saw that I still had 5 minutes to go. I could have stopped there and walked to my car in the parking lot but I knew I had to push it and see how far I could go in those last 5 minutes. I thought that I could make it to the back part of the loop where Jay had put an Igloo 5 gallon jug cooler. When I got to the cooler, I still had 2 minutes. Time to reel in two last people. As soon as I caught up and passed them, I looked at my watch and had 15 seconds left. I was able to run 0.6 mile in that 5 minutes. I was able to get 4.3 miles of running in at at 9:19 pace in those 40 minutes. The last loop and a half my cheeks were starting to get tingly feeling which told me that either I was running too hard, I needed salt, or my body temp was getting too high. At 9:35 am when I finished it was 88 degrees with a heat index of 100 degrees. Yeah, I was hot....and not smokin' hot, just HOT.

I walked across the grass to the parking lot where Jay was to say "hello" to him and a few other people I knew. Most people, including the fast guys who had passed me early in their bike workout, looked at me like I was a sweaty alien. I headed to my car, got changed into some dry gear, and high tailed it to the local Taco Cabana and had a big plate of chicken fajita tacos, scrambled eggs, and black beans for a recovery meal. Some of the fast dudes were at the Cabana as well, but no one said a word to me. Strange since I was wearing a TNT visor. Oh well, I guess my sheer awesomeness left them star struck and speechless.....not so much. They probably thought that I was pissy for not saying anything to them.

When I got home, it was just before 11 am and my kid was still in bed. WHAT??!!?? All I can say is that he has a rude awakening coming in two weeks when school starts.

Well, I went out to the Bridgelands Sprint Triathlon and saw a ton of friends race and 15 people that I have coached in the past that were still enjoying the triathlon life. It was a fun morning for me. I will have pictures in the next post.

There is more heat training scheduled for this week and I am ready for it. As I said earlier, I make my own weather. I can withstand the crucible.

Later Gators,



Christi said...

You are a strong woman and I have in awe! Heat training is very difficult but you have it done!!! Congrats to you!

And can I say, I really miss Taco Cabana!!!!

Jay said...

Liz, I love to read your posts... and I will have a word with the boys about etiquette on the bike course and at Taco Cabana... great seeing ya

TNTcoach Ken said...

Daddy always said beware of you fast women.......

Regina said... intimidated don't like to be intimidated, ha!

My friend who lives in Austin also gave me the "good skin" line about all the humidity when I complained about our weather. The difference is you are used to it, we are not!

BTW, I already did Mooseman in June...was just comparing that course with the one I did this past weekend. But thanks for your support!!

Ryan said...

I wish I had a taco cabana here... sadly not.

Hey, anything happen with the insurance and those Zipps?

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