Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 Cow Creek Country Classic Ride

(or How I Discovered What Dehydration
and Debilitating Cramps Feel Like)

Let me start with a few observations about myself.

First, I am not a cyclist. I ride my bike a few times a year, mostly 100km or century rides. But I don’t train. That is not an exaggeration. When it comes to cycling: I. Do. Not. Train.

Second, I am out of shape. Since ultramarathon season ended a few months ago, I’ve run here and there and lifted, but I am nowhere near as fit as I was back in February. My conditioning has me, to quote Paul Simon, “soft in the middle now.”

Third, I have an inflated self-image when it comes to my endurance abilities. I tend to overestimate my capacity to cover long distances in less than desirable conditions.

Now, keeping all three observations in my mind, choosing to participate in a 100 mile bike ride in June in North Texas during a red ozone alert and 100+ degree heat might—just might—NOT have been the best decision.

I met up with pAppy and The Flying Pumpkin at the Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy about 15 minutes before the start of the ride. TFP has been hammering it pretty steadily for awhile, and his cycling endurance these days is impressive. The two of us were set for the 100; pAppy was going for 36 miles. (yawn)

10 miles into the ride, TFP had already zoomed ahead. I resigned myself to hanging back, taking it easy. After 20 miles, I was averaging around 15 mph, including rest stops. It was hot, but I was sucking down water and Gatorade. Two bottles and 1.5 liter Nathan pack were there to ensure that I didn’t run out of water.

At mile 40, we veered southwest. The temperatures were beginning to soar. Fatigue was setting in. After mile 50, I convinced TFP to knock down the 100 to a 75 mile attempt. No complaints.

At the mile 62 rest stop, TFP motored past me. I took some extra time and decided I needed a few more calories. “We got hotdogs! Anybody want a hotdog?” Well, sure, I thought, why not a hotdog? Sounds good.

This was not a wise decision.

Five miles later, I found myself on the side of Highway 77, retching away. The hotdog and all other contents of my stomach soon splattered on the asphalt shoulder as 18 wheelers whizzed by. I was nauseous, dehydrated, and just all around ugh. I tried to ride, but my legs teetered on the edge of complete cramping.
So I walked.
And walked.
After about ten minutes, I tried to ride again. It was slow, but I was moving. I took a swig of Gatorade only to spit it immediately up. Not good. 14 miles to go, and I couldn’t keep fluids down.
Let me emphasize: NOT. GOOD.


Somehow, I made it back to the start/finish. I was a bit woozy. I took a quick shower, forced myself to chug a bottle of water, and got back in the car for the 45 minute drive to Fort Worth. Famished (remember, I'd thrown up everything in my stomach and then some), I made my way to Chic-fil-a to pick up some chicken nuggets.
Anybody want to take a guess about what happened a few minutes later?
Here’s a hint—bleh, bleh, bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh! Oh yes, my friends. I had to pull over on the side of Highway 287 to yet again hurl.

All puked out and exhausted, I finally got to the house, where I collapsed on the couch. Thank goodness I’m home and it’s done, right?
Right?
Wrong.

For some reason, my right inner thigh decided to spasm and lock up on me. Pain. Pain. Pain. After I massaged it out, I drank 60 or so ounces of Nuun and another 60 or so ounces of water. Sometime around 5 p.m., my body eventually normalized.

So… uh… all in all, it kinda sucked.

But no worries, amigos. I still made it up for a 5 mile run with Ezra the next morning. I.I.T.S.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oh, yeah. And we are under a Red Ozone Alert.

What's a Red Ozone Alert? So glad you asked:
An OZONE ALERT will be declared when the ozone forecast is code red, indicating
that prolonged outdoor exertion is unhealthy for everyone.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tomorrow's forecast:

Sunny. Highs around 103.

Why wouldn't you want to go for a 100 mile bike ride?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On Miles' recommendation, I picked up "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen."

The author, Christopher McDougall, is a former war correspondent for the Associated Press, and he tells one heck of a story. This is the first "running" book that I'm fairly certain non-runners will enjoy. McDougall is a great storyteller who writes with a sharp wit and wild exuberance.

Here's a summary:

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matchedby uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Training was going well. I did a nice 20 mile run last Saturday morning with pAppy and Jballs. We met on the Trinity Trails just below Hoffbrau Steaks at 5:30 a.m. The heat was a killer, and the pace was pretty slow, but we gutted it out. I finished around 8:45 a.m., completely soaked. Note to self: apply more Sport Shield and/or Body Glide.

After the run and the shower and the big breakfast/lunch (brunch?), I was walking down the stairs while holding Ezra, and I misjudged the last step, tripped, and fell. I clutched Ezra tightly so he did not hit the ground, but in doing so completely sacrificed my right knee, as it took the brunt of my weight along with Ezra's additional 30 pounds. The knee has been a bit achy ever since.

Not to be deterred, I'm going for 18 this Saturday. Come big or go home.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Buying a house, selling a house, moving out of a house, moving into a house. House, house, house. Like sand through the hour glass, these are the days of my life.

The final move is imminent, and I am ready. Hopefully, our Bunting home will sell soon, as the thought of carrying two mortgages still sends a mild wave of naseau over me. We've had several looks, but no bites. Yet. I believe. I believe. I believe.

While I powered through back-to-back long runs two weeks ago, I haven't managed to log anything over 6 miles lately. Last weekend, Rachelle T., a law school friend, came to visit, which slightly skewed my workouts. And by "slightly skewed" I mean "completely obliterated." It started Friday evening with a light meal at El Rancho Grande. And by "light meal" I mean "very heavy." Saturday included breakfast burritos from Day Break Cafe, leftover Mexican for lunch, and burgers for dinner. Sunday treated us to breakfast tacos, sandwiches, multiple beers at The Colonial, a nice Italian dinner at Taverna, and dessert tacos from Reata.

I worked out this week--lifting, running, spinning. We're trying not to buy too many groceries because we don't want to move them. This sounds good in theory. In reality, it results in lots of take out and my continued practice of eating like my ship is going down. Alas.

And now it's Friday evening, and Nell and I are headed to Beastro at the Fort Worth Zoo. (Ezra is with Nana and Pop.)

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