Today was a day I've been worried about. Not worried in the biting my nails sense, more just...waiting. Steve only gives me a few days of schedule at a time, I think because he doesn't want to freak me out and because he's watching closely to see how I'm progressing. Last week we biked 100 miles and then ran 12 off the bike at IM race pace. It was a tough day for me. I was still recovering from my crash a few days prior and I was feeling a little off. None the less we managed an 8:06 pace on the run and the day ended soundly. As we packed up to get ready to go, he told me to "get ready" because next week we would do the same but the run would be 18 miles. Whew. Today was that day. 100 bike + 18 run is like ALMOST an Ironman. I mean, it really is the bulk of the work. It's a solid 9 hour day. It was to be unsupported. So, Steve and I just hoofin' it together for the day, talking little, working lots.
We took off on the bike this morning and it was just strange. It was cold, but warm in spots and the wind was coming from the complete wrong direction. Usually we have a tail-wind going out and a head-wind coming back. But this morning we had a head-wind going out. All I could think about was the long day ahead. We usually start off pretty hard due to the tail-wind but today I was more cautious. Steve was not. For the first time since we have been riding this ride together he dropped me. It was a combination of him pushing harder than I wanted to and me thinking about the long day ahead. I didn't want to go any harder than I planned to go in the Ironman, so I rode my own pace. It was also nice to not be taking turns pulling since I will be all along come IM day. I hit the 50 mile mark and was so excited to turn around an get a tail-wind. I had been having LOTS of trouble hitting anything above 17mph and we had a cross wind as well so I was a little shakey too.
I turn and I'm haulin'. It's 7 miles back to Deer Trail where we stop to refuel. It was 7 awesome miles, tail-wind with a dose of side-wind. I roll into the 7-11 a few minutes after Steve, we refuel and it looks like we will stick together the rest of the way back. We get back onto the main road and what do we encounter...head-wind. Literally the wind turned while I was going pee.
What choice do we have? We drag ourselves back, 17 mph, creaming our legs. I look at him towards the end and tell him I don't want to run...I'm scared. He gives me a nice little pep talk, he knows I'm tired, he knows it's hard, but onwards we go.
We transition to run stuff, I leave with a full 2 liters of water in my Nathan backpack, 4 packs of ShotBloks, 2 gels, my phone, some $$ and off we go. 9 miles out, back the way we just biked in, and then 9 back.
We start off just under 9 minute pace and we keep that going. Honestly the miles just tick tick ticked by. Every once and a while I would quip up with something, or he would, but most the time we ran quietly. We were joking about how nice it would be if it rained. It was pretty hot out there. We get to our 9 mile mark. We are back in the town of Watkins and we turn to head home. We see clouds in the distance and there is lots of lightening. I say "Ohh, we get a show". Ha, little did I know.
We run run run, back up up up lots of hills. I wave at every car that drives by in the opposite direction and like 1 lady waves back...if that. It's one thing to do what I did today self supported, but then to not even get any car love...it's just wrong. At about mile 12 we start to think that we may get some rain. At mile 13 it's raining on us.
And then...it was all a blur. Within minutes:
Rain went to hard rain. Hard rain went to small hail. Small hail went to LOTS of small hail. Small Hail got bigger and bigger and faster and faster.
I started waving my hands at every car that drove by. No one would stop. I am getting pelted so hard it was painful. I'm waving my arms and trying to run through it. Cars just drive on by. I am cussing. It's hurting. A car stops 200 yards behind us. I wave at them. They don't budge. Running that far back will mean sure death by hail. I start running for the only tree in sight. Steve too Near the tree is a drainage tunnel. We have refuge.
I call Troy to see if he will come get us. We are still 3.5 miles from the car. I get ahold of Troy, but Steve thinks we will freeze by the time Troy gets here. So we decided to wait for it to pass and then run back. It took 15 minutes. Stuck in the tunnel.
We run towards the car. We get another 2.5 miles and round two starts. This time we have zero shelter nearby so I knock on the window of a guy at a stop sign and beg for a ride to our car. I offer $15 for the 1 mile drive. He won't take the money but gives us a lift.
I think this should give us some good weather karma for IM Canada...or at least we will be experienced.