After a weekend of back to back 30 milers, I have had some time to reflect on the growth I've felt lately on my bike.
When I bought my bike in March, I took it out on my first long ride that Saturday and rode 20 miles. I felt so proud of myself, and I also felt like I was ready to take on the world. At the time, 20 felt pretty darn long. It was kind of like the first time I ran 6 miles. I just wanted to call my parents (because I still look forward to my dad's occasional "I haven't even driven that far today" comments) and brag on myself. At the end of the day, if you can't brag to your parents, who can you brag to? (Side note: thanks mom and dad for continuing to baby me like on our home movies...maybe if you hadn't clapped endlessly for me multiple times per recording when I counted to ten you wouldn't have to hear about my weekend endeavors still to this day...I am, though, convinced you really are proud of me.)
|She was so pretty with her clean, white handlebar tape and shiny paint job. She's still beautiful today, just a lot more loved.|
As I headed out the door for 30 miles on Saturday, I realized the shift in perspective when I was thinking that I only had 30 miles to cover. And then I thought the same thing on Sunday when I again had only 30 miles, though this time covering hills and following a previous day's 30.
And I share this not to brag, at all, or suggest that 30 or 20 or even 10 miles on the bike is short. I'm sharing it to show that all this time I'm spending on my bike is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing; it's not only building my endurance and fitness, but it's also building my confidence in these scary, hairy goals I've set for myself.
I've now ridden 40 miles on my bike at least 5 or 6 times. But of note, in the last three weeks, I've ridden a 50 miler, a 60 miler, and some massive (for me and for Florida) hills that were hard and tiring and amazing and confidence-boosting all at the same time.
Tori is also training for a half Ironman, though her's is 2 weeks before mine. Our first 50 miler two+ weeks ago went alright. We were just trying to cover the distance and averaged 15.9 mph, which wasn't blazing any new trails for either of us. We were both thrilled to hit the distance, but I lingered on that darn 15.9 mph for much longer than I should have. In the end, though I realized that hitting 50 miles was only 6 short of what I'll be doing on November 10th, and I felt pretty darn solid after it. And biking up to Brooksville and back from where we started wasn't something to bat an eye at.
With the knowledge of our prior week's ride in our arsenal, Tori and I hit the trail again last weekend with the goal of doing another 50 miles at a faster pace. We started out a little faster up to the 22 mile stopping point on the trail head, stopped for a couple of minutes to fill water bottles, and turned around flying with a tail wind pushing us. We felt so good that we started talking about doing 60 instead of 50. When we got back to our starting point we decided to go for it, and we pushed ourselves to hit the 60 mile marker and to hold a 16.9 mph pace, an entire mile per hour faster and ten miles longer than the ride last week.
Not only had I ridden more than the distance of the Half Ironman, but I had also filled in a few holes in my confidence over my decision to sign up for Chattanooga. I killed a number of birds with that 60 mile stone, and though I went home tired, I wasn't as exhausted as I had been after some of my 40 milers. Success!
And lastly, my back to back 30+ milers this weekend will also go down as a kick butt week. The second one was in San Antonio, and for someone who hasn't ridden a ride with much more then 200-300 feet of elevation, no matter the distance, it was hard!
San Antonio is where the hills are, and apparently everyone in Florida knows it. When I met Beth and Nick in the parking lot, there were 150-200 cyclists all setting up like they were part of one large club ready to hit the roads riding. As they took off in small groups and large groups, I felt a sense of pride in myself to be a part of this community. Though my bike is much less expensive (believe it or not) and I'm quite a bit less experienced, I was still out there and waving hello as we passed other cyclists along the roads.
And hilly roads at that!
|Elevation compared to speed, with elevation in green and speed in blue.|
I was so proud of myself after that ride on Sunday. Though I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be in a little over a year, the starting point wasn't bad. It's going to be a long year of hill training, but all the downhills make the uphills bearable (and I'm talking about real hills here, not the emotions that go along with climbing them). We did the 30 mile San Antonio loop, which had just under 800' of elevation gain.
I later heard from others that there are some bigger hills that we didn't cover, but I'll head back for more of those once I kick off the Ironman training in January. Rev3's course is as flat as a pancake, so my continuation with flat distance rides will continue for the weeks that are left of that training cycle (53 days until race day).
So while there are many days that I look at my Half Ironman training plan, head up to the bike trail, or think about the fact that I registered for an Ironman and feel like a little girl playing dress up in her mom's closet, the time I'm spending on my bike ('in the saddle' if I'm speaking like the people I'm trying to impersonate) is moving me over from those dress up days to feeling more like a big girl.
Don't worry, though. I'll never stop being the same little girl I've always been. I'll just have a few more awkward tan lines to show for it.
What has built your confidence in the training plan you're on?
When's the last time you had to "fake it 'til you make it"?