This past weekend I decided to run my first stand-alone 5k in about 4-5 years and my first organized bike ride in probably 2 years! I love the LKN Excursion and have done it a few times in the past when training for Ironman, and this year (or maybe last?), they added a 5k before the ride. I was gonna be up there to do the ride I might as well get a run in too! Efficiency at its finest.
The 5k was up first and it certainly reminded me why I don’t tend to do them very often – they’re REALLY hard. My overall lack of fast twitch muscles also doesn’t bode well for short distance, fast run running but I work with what I have. 🙂 I tried to remind myself that the run was primarily a workout, but in the back of my mind it was also as a little “test” to see how well (or not well) all my cross-training / athletic conditioning type workouts are doing for my fitness vs. solely swim, bike, run.
I lined up about 4 people back from the front behind a few speedsters with the goal of running a little below or right at 24 minutes. I thought that would be a push, but feasible given I haven’t been running much. The first mile I felt good (you usually always do), the second mile I felt not-quite-as-good, and the third I felt like complete dog doo. My mile splits went from fast, to fast-ish, to slow-ish. I found some speed for the first ~15 minutes, and then it slowly escaped me but I pressed on despite a massive, overwhelming urge to walk about 2.2 miles in. There is something to be said to just knowing how to suffer, I suppose. I finished in 21:54 which was enough for 5th female / 1st age group. Small field 🙂 If only I could have stayed on pace mile 3 with mile 1 and 2…but overall I was pleased to achieve my goal for the day! 5k – check!
In years past, any opportunity to ride a 100 mile supported, organized ride, I was all over it. This year, I was not – I opted for the ~65 miler at LKN Excursion. I had a bit of trepidation about my 60+ mile bike ride fitness as the longest ride I’ve done in quite some time is about 50 (without a 5k sufferfest beforehand) but figured why the hell not give it a try! I expressed my 65-mile trepidation to my friend and his response was “you’ll be fine, we’ll just sit up front and hammer”. Welllllll ok. 🙂 Definitely not the “we’ll just ride easy” response I thought I’d get – time to put on my big girl pants!
The weather was great, hot and humid which I’ll take any day on my bike over windy and cold (side rant: people – it’s July, it’s North Carolina – it’s hot, it’s humid – fact! If you don’t like the heat, this is likely not your state. If you’re surprised by the heat “this year”, I don’t understand – it’s hot every. single. year! Complaining doen’st make it cooler. End rant – back to business). I set out with the front group and felt great riding their pace and even doing a little work upfront myself. After 10 or so miles we got organized into our small-ish group and were able to do some really fun pace lining, put out a nice fast pace, and enjoy riding hard at times, and not quite as hard at others. I had forgotten (with all my due respect) just how awful some people handle their bikes and how awful they are to ride in groups with, but overall, it was a safe, fun ride with great people.
Sadly, about 25-30 miles in, that humid 5k started to take a toll on me. I forgot my salt tabs (which help with cramping) and tore through my 2 bottles of water/nutrition on my bike within the first 60-90 minutes so I was left scratching my head about what I was going to do with ~90 min of riding left to do an no fuel. For a 60 mile ride, most people will have enough nutrition on their bike so they don’t have to stop. And if you actually get in with a good group of people to ride with, you don’t a.) want to ask the whole group stop (cause they won’t – especialy when timing chips are involved) and b.) want to stop because then your group will take off. With my great group surrounding me, I blew past the rest station at mile 30 but by mile 45 my calves were cramping so terribly on every pedal stroke I knew I had to get some fluid and nutrition. THANKFULLY, three awesome guys said they would stop with me, I guzzled a whole bottle of Gatorade, crammed two salty crackers in my mouth, topped off and we were back on the road. We didn’t have the big group we had before but at least there were 4 of us to share the work. We still managed a decent pace after the stop and still had just as good of a time for the last ~20 miles. I felt very thankful they stopped with me – riding alone is the pits!
If you are training for something or just like to ride, I highly recommend this ride in the future. Great course, great support, and great people! I’m glad I decided to do this event and will likely be supporting in the future!
I wrapped up my day after a coma-like nap at the Justin Timberlake concert where I danced myself into the ground, had entirely too much to drink and had a really awesome time with my three favorite girls! It was quite the day – needless to say, Sunday was “less awesome” but totally worth it!