Monday, October 12, 2009

And the Heat Just Keeps on Coming!

When John & I signed up for the Arizona Ironman last November, we figured that we would get to do our long runs and rides during the month of October. We expected the Summer heat to have dissipated and cool mornings greeting us as we logged our longest runs and rides. We figured the water temperatures would cool enough to allow us to start practicing our open water swims with the full wetsuits we know we will need for the cold river water in Tempe in November. The weather gods have not cooperated.

We hear from our friends getting ready to run the Chicago Marathon how its literally freezing in Chicago. Meanwhile, we continue with a solid week of record breaking hot days the entire week. I end up cutting my long run Thursday morning somewhat short to a 12 miler due to the heat and my dehydration. Saturday morning, I go to the beach for a planned 2 hours open what swim, but am greeted with rough seas. I return home, do a 10K on the treadmill and go watch my son's soccer game at 10:30 AM in a heat that wilts the young soccer players.

Saturday afternoon, John & I travel to Miami to verify that the local bike shop that Tri Bike Transport uses is still in existence. The shop has changed hands, their web site is not active and the phone number is disconnected. When we get finally get to the shop located in Coral Gables, we are pleased to find the shop indeed is still in business and the staff well informed about the whole bike transport situation. We are not so lucky at the triathlon store, Tri Village, located even further south. John wants a new full wetsuit, but we show up just at the 5 PM closing time. While I'm able to buy some new goggles and some nutrition supplies, the clerk is unwilling to spend the time it would take for John to try on a wet suit. The guy must of had a hot date planned, because he is unwilling to give us the extra time it would take to try and buy a wetsuit. John is not pleased with this lack of customer service. He will not be purchasing a wet suit from Tri Village. Given that we drove down from Fort Lauderdale to southern Maimi-Dade County, I concur with his decision.

As I scope out the Sunday morning weather, I see it will be another in the string of hot days reaching into the mid to upper 90s by 10 AM. I make several calls to fellow riders, but get no takers to my offer to join me in my century ride. John decides he will do his 2 hour swim Sunday morning and his long ride on Columbus Day. Having my own business, I don't feel I can kill half a day on Monday and stick to my plan to ride Sunday.

I start off with 3 other riders, but they all decide to cut the ride short. At about the 20 mile mark, 2 of our group turns back. At mile 25, Tony turns. He is in taper mode for his half ironman in Austin in 2 weeks. I can't blame him. I find a group of 3 other aerobarred tri riders and get a little more of a group ride. But by mile 35, no one is going further north to Palm Beach. I'm on my own. As Tony said before he turned at 25: "Trianing for a full ironman is a lonely pursuit."

I had never made the ride all the way up A1a from Fort Lauderdale to the end of Palm Beach. Its actually a very pretty ride along the Ocean in Palm Beach with patches of shade trees along the way. However, there are also long stretches of open exposed roadway with the sun beating hotter and hotter as the morning progresses. I miss the Texaco gas station my trainer Penn told me about. Fortunately, I have a third water bottle on board and can make it back to another refueling stop. As I work me way back south, I note that there are fewer and fewer bicyclist on the road. Its just too hot to be doing a very long ride and all the smart riders are near the end of their rides or already home. Only an idiot would go on a century ride on a record breaking hot day. That would be me.

I keep working the fluids and nutrition and think that perhaps this is good training for Arizona. Who knows, it might be this hot in Tempe during my the ride portion during the middle of the day. As the miles progress and the temperatures continue to rise, I decide that this is not such a great concept. With every traffic light I have to stop at, I squirt my helmet and head with some water. I'm no longer concerned about heat conditioning as I am about heat exhaustion. I get toward the end of my ride and start to think that I could possibly pass out from this heat. Its near high noon. I decide to cut me ride a bit short and shave 6 miles from the century mark. I finish up at 94 miles and pull into my garage. I go directly upstairs into my bathroom, peal off my riding jersey and shorts and turn on the shower, making sure to keep the water cold. The rest of the day, I keep drinking water. I take a leak once.

Meanwhile, John did his 2 hours open water swim that morning starting about 7 AM. He reports back that the water felt warm. It was clearly too warm to even think about trying out a wet suit. As he planned, this morning he did his century and found it to be similarly hot, hot, hot. At one stop light on his return portion of his ride, he tapped on a drivers window. When the guy opened his window, John asked, "Can you share some of that air conditioning, buddy. Its really hot out here."

The seas were too rough again for me to attempt my 2 hours swim. I also feel like I needed a day to recover from the body slam the heat delivered to me on Sunday. I'll watch the conditions and give it a go in the next day or so.

Speaking of the Chicago Marathon, friend Miranda Jamieson ran a 3:33:42 in Chicago on Sunday in 30 degree temperatures. That's a Boston Qualifier. Way to go, Miranda! By the way, if you could bring some of that cold weather back with you, I'd really appreciate it.


Missy said...

Dang, I'd love to send you some of the coolness! It must be cutting off right at the FLA line, I swear. BUT, got training for AZ, true, true.

Jen Jones said...

This has been a cruel summer! Our winter better be awesome, Momma Nature owes us.