I'm still on a training high from my three day training camp with Michelle, maybe that's why I'm still up at 9:41 PM composing this entry (or maybe it's all the e21 recovery pills Michelle was pushing on me...gladly received I might add). I'll do another blog on my experience with this remarkable little pill. All I can say is that Michelle is the real deal. Our first bike ride was a 109 miler to Hawi, and I was scared shitless. Yeah, it was blowing like hell that day, but even more scary was the speed at which we started the ride. I had already been on Kona for close to one week, and I had gone on several group rides, mostly with men, and not once, did we start a ride as fast as the day I rode with Michelle. If you could see Michelle ride a bike, you would get a strong sense that she is in her element. All the way out to Hawi, even more scary than the wind pushing me off my bike, was the fear that I would bonk trying to keep her pace. But with each check of the body, I was hanging in there and gaining confidence. On the way back from Hawi, this guy on a Trek Speed Concept wearing a Radio Shack kit (i.e. he looked like pro) went flying by us and yes, Michelle hopped on his wheel. I was immediately dropped and for two miles or so, I was riding about 15 meters behind them, in no man's land, torn if I should be sensible and drop back or just commit to a potential blow up and sprint onto a wheel. I eventually decided to sprint and get on their wheel. After 5 or so minutes of being on their wheel, I realized that I had some spunk in me, especially on the little risers so I decided to take the lead. It was both scary and exhilarating. I was scared that I would bonk because the effort was just too hard for a 109-miler, and exhilarated because I was hanging in there. We hammered it all the way home, splitting a 5:13 for 100 miles. The ride was such a confidence booster because I actually felt strong the last 20 miles, a rarity for me.
The second day started with an hour warm-up followed by 8 x 5 minute hill climbs in the big ring, holding 30-40 rpm's. Michelle asked me if I had any IT band issues, and when I responded no, she said that I had the green light to grind the gears so hard that I was going to rip my knee caps off, or some part of my glute/hip muscles (she didn't quite say this but this was the feeling I had). During the warm-up, I felt like death. But once we started the hill climbs, I really really enjoyed the nature of the workout. We were able to keep a low heart rate and rather than fatiguing our heart, we were fatiguing our muscles. Before the workout, Michelle said we had the green light to ride as much as 4 hours and I was thinking, yea right. But after the hill climbs, somehow I was so motivated to ride and we ended up getting in 3.5 hours and 63 more miles of saddle time. After the ride, it was an 8 mile run off the bike, and I felt absolutely freaking amazing! It was pure type 1 fun as I was running, and I was getting goose bumps during the run because I was so happy because I felt so great. We finished the day with a pool swim at Kona Aquatics.
The final day started with a morning ocean swim followed by a great breakfast sitting on the rocks right by the water. Michelle was being the poster child for the benefits of being a coffee drinker, and I was struggling to stay awake. The plan was to back up two solid days of training with an ironman effort focused long run. And we nailed it! In fact, we nailed every workout, and that my friends, is why I'm on such a training high.
Michelle was an awesome training partner, but a picture-taker, not so much. My camera is kaput, finito and though she brought a camera, it never made an appearance. Where Michelle lacks in picture taking, she more than makes up as a training partner. She is both tenacious and detailed. I've never ridden with anyone who carries ALL of their nutrition for every ride. I was a patron of at least 3-4 different markets while Michelle never stepped foot in one. The other great thing about Michelle is that she always thinks like a coach. I have a tendency to sabotage workouts because of stupid things like going out too hard, or not paying attention to nutrition. She was always saying things like, if you bonk because you are riding too hard or not eating enough, I'm not pulling you home. At every point during our training, she always appeared to be in control. Our time together was a perfect balance of intensity, relaxation, and laughter. Can you tell I'm now a big Mama Simmons fan? And finally, when I think about this training camp, I have to thank her husband (Scott) for agreeing to let his wife fly to some island to stay with some man she met over the internet. You gotta love the 21st century.
70.3 Liuzhou Race Story
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