This past weekend, I ran a last minute half marathon as well as finished up 9 day virtual Tour of Sufferlandria on the bike. Needless to say, my legs are pretty beat up from it all.
Tour Of Sufferlandria
The Tour of Sufferlandria was advertised as “The world’s toughest indoor cycling tour.” And while it was my only indoor tour to date, I have to agree. TrainerRoad and The Sufferfest videos joined forces to offer a 9 day tour during which time you would ride all 12 Sufferfest videos. TrainerRoad is software that you run on your computer which communicates with your ANT+ devices to generate a “virtual power” profile. Using the virtual power, you are given an onscreen workout to follow. If you are interested in learning more about TrainerRoad, check out DC Rainmaker’s the king of all things fitness tech) posts about it (here and here). Or just head to TrainerRoad and sign up for a free 30-day trial.
Overall, the tour was a blast and I would definitely do it again next year. It really motivated me to get on the trainer each day so that I wouldn’t get “dropped.” In fact, I might even incorporate a mini 5 or 7 day “tour” into my training plan this year.
Day 1 – 1/26/2013 – Hell Hath No Fury
I started the day with a 10 mile run that was at a much harder pace than planned. And with part of the run through some sandy, slushy snow, my legs were wore out. Never the less, I hopped on the trainer to spin it out. It actually helped my legs recover a bit and I felt better when I was done. 8 more days of this? I can handle that.
Day 2 – 1/27/2013 – The Hunted
Bright and early, Jennie and I headed to Holland for the Frostbite Marathon Relay (recap here). My legs felt pretty sluggish the entire day but again, after I forced myself onto the bike, I felt better.
Day 3 – 1/28/2013 – Extra Shot & Fight Club
This was my first time doing the Extra Shot video. I didn’t really realize what an Extra Shot was until it was too late. It is basically a 20 minute race simulation that you normally do at the end of a workout. Because of that, there is no warm up incorporated into the video. And I didn’t plan for a warm up either. So, right out of the gate, I was trying to push a race pace.
Once I got to Fight Club, my legs were pretty beat up. Nevertheless I suffered through all 5 laps of time trialing effort with plenty attacks built in to keep the legs guessing.
It was actually a beautiful day outside and I sort of wished I could have ridden outside. However, it was still pretty wet and slushy so I would have spent more time cleaning my bike than running.
The weather tricked me though and convinced me to sign up for a half marathon on the following Saturday. Cue foreboding music.
Day 4 – 1/29/2013 – A Very Dark Place
Another brick day. I started with AVDP which is probably The Sufferfest video I have done the most out of all of them.
Afterwards, I met up with my run group for an 8 mile run with 4 miles of fartleks. It didn’t go so well. By the 6th fartlek interval my legs were calling it quits.
Day 5 – 1/30/2013 – Angels
Another crazy day of multiple workouts. I have a Wednesday night spin class that I had already signed up for and didn’t want to miss. I also didn’t want to get dropped. So, that meant hopping on the trainer in the morning to get in Angels.
That evening, I did another 1:15 ride with my class. Somehow, both Angels and my class ended up being low cadence, hard effort, climbing workouts.
I divided up the two workouts with a quick swim at lunch which probably helped my legs recover a bit in between.
The Tour was even tiring out Bailey.
Day 6 – 1/31/2013 – The Wretched & Long Scream
Day 6 was completely new to me. I had never done either The Wretched or Long Scream before. The Long Scream is a 30 minute race effort similar to the Extra Shot. Wow did that hurt, but I could feel my legs getting stronger the whole way through and actually set a 30 minute power PR in TrainerRoad.
In between the two videos, I had to stop by the team car (the kitchen) to refuel quickly.
Before the ride, I actually took a minute to race my saddle height. One of the guys at my Wednesday night class who does bike fits mentioned that he thought it looked a bit low. I had been meaning to get a proper re-adjustment because I had tweaked my position a bit at the end of last year. I ended up bring my saddle up 7-8mm and it made a big difference – more comfortable and more power.
Day 7 – 2/1/2013 – The Downward Spiral
I took a day of work on Friday because I had a lot to get done around the house. My dad helped install a new water heater. Ours wasn’t broke, but it was 21 years old and we needed to move it as part of the basement remodel any ways. After that, I worked on the basement some more. By the time I finished up, riding was the last thing I wanted to do. Nevertheless, fear of getting dropped got me on the trainer.
Day 8 – 2/2/2013 – There Is No Try & Revolver
Holy ouch. I didn’t realize these were two full length videos. I assumed that one was going to be a shorter (20-30 minute) extra shot. Somehow I saved my longest day for after a half marathon (report below). Smart move Kevin. Smart move.
Day 9 – 2/3/2013 – Local Hero
My legs were pretty beat up after the race on Saturday. We also had a party with family on Sunday afternoon. So, my ride ended up getting pushed back all the way to the Super Bowl. Jennie and I watched the first quarter of the Super Bowl before heading down stairs and hoping on the trainer together. Jennie rode alongside me for the final ride of the tour. Boy was I happy to be done!
Groundhog Day Half Marathon
As I mentioned above, Saturday was the Groundhog Day Half Marathon. This was a brand new race this year offered by Don Kern – the same guy who does the Grand Rapids Marathon. In true “Groundhog Day” (the movie) fashion, the course was repetitive loops. Three, 4.4 mile loops for the half, 6 for the full. I registered for the race semi-last minute the Monday before the race. On Monday, it had warmed up to around 50*, all the snow had melted, and it seemed like a great way to do a new race and get a long run in.
Fast forward to Saturday. Between Friday and Saturday we got about 8-10” of fresh snow on the ground. Because this race was entirely on the trail system near Millennium Park, it wasn’t going to be plowed. They were very forthcoming about this fact so I knew this going in.
Overall, it was a great race. Well, maybe “race” isn’t the right word. It was by no means a competitive race for me (or really for anyone I would guess) because of the conditions. It was more a fun long run with a couple hundred crazy friends.
They tried to send off the runners in a waves to keep us relatively spread out. The trail is a standard bike trail so not terribly wide. On top of that, it was really like running on a two-track trail. A 4-wheeler had driven the trail prior to the race leaving 2 ruts that the runners tried to stay in. That meant sticking to one side of the trail and then hopping to the other when you need to be passed. It was like running and plyometrics combined!
Because of the looped course, Jennie and Bailey got to hang out in the car in between loops.
"No, I’m not spoiled at all.”
It wasn’t too long before I was finished with my first loop. Back across the Start/Finish line, around a pole, and off to do it again. I ran most of the first loop entirely by myself and didn’t see too many other people.
I decided to rock the Hokas for this race and actually used my YakTrax which I hadn’t used in two years – we didn’t get nearly enough snow last year to make them helpful. They were almost a necessity for this race.
After hitting the turn around to start the 3rd loop, I picked up Bailey from Jennie and he joined me for the final loop. Yes, I know dogs are not officially allowed, but no one seemed to mind. I actually think Bailey got cheered for more than I did on the final loop. In fact, I am almost positive about it. He had a blast too. His tail was going a mile a minute the whole loop.
The 3rd loop was actually the slowest of the 3 though. Not going to blame Bailey though. It just started to get crowded as we caught up to some racers on their 2nd loop. Don’t want to complain too much, but there were some runners who could have been more courteous and moved over to single file rather than bunching up and blocking the whole trail. Had I been racing more competitively, it would have been a bigger pain, but as it was, the only inconvenience was having to trudge through the deep powder to get around them rather than being able to stick to the hard pack.
“Alright, I’m done. Where’s my biscuit?”
After the race, we headed back into the heated tent. Similarly to the Grand Rapids Marathon, they had chili, beer, and other goodies awaiting the athletes.
You gotta love winner’s awards – chainsaw carved groundhog trophy’s. If only I were faster… As it was, I missed out on an AG award by one place. I had a bunch of speedies in my age group – I would have been 1st if I was 30. Oh well! I’m happy with my race sweatshirt and finishers medal though – both sporting a running groundhog wearing sunglasses. I’m pretty sure both of those make it worth it.
Overall, it was a fun race. Super challenging, but that is part of what makes it fun.
|Laps||36:38, 37:03, 38:16|