How desperate was I to avoid my 5 hour ride outside today ? Or rather, how much would I have preferred just to spin in the comfort of my basement, with an hour earlier start ?
About eight o'clock last night I texted Eric to find out whether it would be better training for Arizona to spin or head out in the cold this morning.
I've been working with Eric eight years now and I have called him for advice maybe a dozen times, mostly around IM time. I have never texted him.
Of course, I knew what his answer would be- it was silly even to ask. Bundle up and get out there, he replied.
I've done plenty of outdoor riding in the cold, and I'm not adverse to the cold. When I get a couple of beers in me and tell you about how in high school I used to run - while it was snowing- in track shorts and a half-shirt, it's not just the beer talking. I really used to do that- and I lived in upstate New York, where below zero was frequent, and it was fahrenheit.
But the truth is, if I had owned a trainer when I was 16, I would have put my three-speed on it and cut my running down to three or four days a week.
In the end, I didn't even bother with a heavy cycling jacket or booties, and I was fine.
In the fifth hour, I did a time trial effort. I'd separated from Steve Surprise, who had suggested at about three hours that I ride ahead and just turn around in an hour. I was on a tighter schedule. I did just that, turning around at four hours- an hour from home, and rode as hard as I could to catch Steve.
Only Steve had stayed on Route 1 when I'd veered off by the Surf Club. On the way home, I was chasing him and he was behind me, which was great because I never stopped working hard. I got home, disappointed I hadn't made the catch, put on my running shoes and headed out.
At first I was running really, really well, jamming along listening to 3 Doors Down.
For the first 4 hours on the bike, I was doing really well- 2 Clif Shots, 2 Clif Shot Blocks and three bottles of Gatorade,. But in the last hour I was going close to race pace and ate nothing and drank only 2/3 of my bottle.
What happened 14 minutes into my run was almost inevitable. I crashed, hard. A real bonk.
And that same biochemical deficiency that saps your strength, that makes your stomach turn over and your legs crash, also affects you mentally. I immediately went into hyper-doubt mode.
This is exactly what happened to me at Firm-Man (twice in the same run).
This is what happened to me last time in Arizona. In fact, this is exactly what I'm trying to build confidence to protect against with a long brick, and instead I'm proving I don't have what it takes to go long.
Too many of my long bikes had too little effort on the run.
I didn't sleep enough last night.
I'm going straight home, go in the house and lie on the floor for a while in a pool of self-loathing.
And then, I decided instead of feeling sorry for myself I'd eat the Clif Shots in the back of my jersey. I wolfed down five blocks (I dropped one).
Two minutes later ? The bonk was over. I ran another 35 minutes. I ran by my house to add on eight more hilly minutes. I remembered that bonks or no bonks, I had a good run and a decent race at Firm-Man.
I ended the run listening to 'Spybreak (Short One)' (the Propeller Heads from the Matrix) and that brought the following thought:
There is no bonk