I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.
Strong. Cadence. Strong. Cadence. I repeat my focusing mantra as I am pushing my limits up the Beeline Highway in pursuit of my husband. It's Sunday, long ride day. With my new bike focus (new as of May) I've been working on incorporating higher mileage and interval training into my plan. I'm trying to get faster for IMAZ. I AM getting faster for IMAZ.
We set off on our 3 hour ride with the plan to warm up for 1 hour, do 3 x 20 minute hard efforts followed by a recovery spin back home. We hit the Beeline and started the first interval. It was a little windy out of the NE and we were headed into it. Coasting comfortably in his shaddow for a moment I realized that I was not going to get the full training benefit of the wind sitting behind my husband. I backed off just a bit till I was legal distance behind him. Now, feeling the full effects of the wind, I began to work.
In my overly-competetive mind, I wanted to keep him in legal distance. Normally, over the course of six miles, he would leave me in the dust as we are both supposed to be at a hard effort, his hard effort being faster than mine. In theory, I probably should have been riding no faster than half IM effort. Instead, I was all out sprint effort maintaining my distance. As we crested the final rise he gained a little bit of space on me, but I finished our first effort only about 10-15 seconds back. I was completely spent, but super proud of my effort.
After recovery, we started the second interval down the Beeline- a 10 mile effort to our turn around at McDowell. I was hauling. With a slight downhill grade for the first couple of miles I was maxed out in my gear and averaging 30 mph. The lower 7 miles are more level and I focused on maintaining my effort and cadence, keeping my heart rate up, but after overdoing it on the first interval I finished well behind my husband for the second interval. We recovered and then hit our final interval, a 4 mile stretch heading back to Gilbert Rd.
By the time the intervals were over, I was definitely fatigued and ready to head back home. Only now, my husband throws the final gauntlet. Whatever my average pace is at that point, it has to be the same when I reach home. No slacking. My pace for the first two hours was 19.1 mph. With 4 miles slightly uphill and into the wind, I had to work to not let my average drop. Thankfully the final 8 miles were and easy spin and I cruised into the driveway at exactly 19.1 mph for 56 miles.
We threw on our running shoes and hit the canal for a transition run. I can tell I'm adjusting to the heat as these runs are much easier than they were a few weeks ago. Don't get me wrong, 100 degrees is hot no matter how you slice it. But I know how much water to carry, and when to push and when to back off.
My final few days leading up to Tahoe are all about rest and recovery. Lots of swimming, mixed with some sleeping in. I may not be in peak shape for Saturday, but I'm damn sure not going to ruin the race by going in tired. 4 days and counting!