Also; Chicago Marathon training week 9 recap! If you are looking for the rest of my Chicago Marathon training recaps, check out my training page HERE! This week was a bit of an “off” week for running as it was a drop week in mileage and I replaced my long run with the cycling event – the Tour De L’Alberta 2015!
Last year I did the 100km route at this event by myself while my dad did the 150km distance. You can read last year’s recap HERE but I felt really good about it and although it wasn’t “easy” it wasn’t as hard as I expected so this year I signed up for the 160km distance with my dad! They changed the distances that they offered so that one would be a century ride (100 miles = 160km).
We have been trying to get out for a long ride every weekend and capped off the training at a 103km ride a few weeks ago. I definitely could have put in more time cycling if I weren’t training for a marathon but training for multiple events requires a lot of compromise and because the cycle event isn’t a “race” I choose to run over cycle more times than not.
Now onto the recap! The event started in Morinville, AB at 8:00am so we left around 7:15am and got there early to make sure the bikes were ready to go, have a last pee break, and fill up our water bottles. We set out just before 8 in the most perfect cycling conditions ever with very little wind, a nice cool temperature (don’t worry, this changed quickly), and quiet highways.
We became part of a peloton for about the first 50km. We led for the first while and then we were in the middle of the pack for the rest. It was THE best. I have never really ridden like that before and you save SO much energy being part of a group. I really think this helped me save my energy for the rest of the ride because I felt like we had only been cycling for a few minutes when we got to the rest stop at 50km.
The fuelling part: I drank water with Nuun for the first 50km and had half of a banana at that rest stop. At the 91km “lunch” rest stop I had my Clif bar that I brought with me, some more banana, an apple, and some watermelon. They had run out of vegetarian wraps so I was incredibly thankful I stuck the Clif bar in my pocket. There were two more rest stops for the ride and I ate a Gorp bar and more banana the rest of the way. I did pretty good at fuelling myself, which is completely different than how I am with running fuel. I drank most of my water with Nuun tablets because it was SO hot by the time we were about 60km in.
The gear part: I wore bib shorts and a cycling jersey with a sports bra. I applied Body Glide to anywhere and everywhere and I didn’t chafe AT ALL. I wore my HR monitor as I use my Garmin for cycling. I also purchased compression calf sleeves yesterday to wear and they worked wonders on my calves. They didn’t get sore at all and while normally I have to stretch my calves every once and a while on the bike because they get stiff, I didn’t have to at all! Coincidence, placebo effect, or compression sleeves? We will never know.
The actual cycling part: After the 50km rest stop we did join up with another group of cyclists who were taking turns leading the group in single file. I did one stint at the front and about 15km with them I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick with them. Their speed was about 35km/h and I knew for sure my legs would burn out way too fast going that speed. I told my dad I needed to drop back so we slowed a bit and dropped back. While I felt bad because I knew my dad could have kept up with them and he was probably loving being in that atmosphere, I hated it. I am really happy I made that decision and I was even happier when my dad stuck with me. 😉 We biked mostly just the two of us for the rest of the ride, which wasn’t bad because they wind wasn’t as bad as the Weather Network had predicted. It got really hot and by the end it was close to 30 degrees Celsius, but I continued to drink water and felt fine. The course was actually 166.0 km long, but on the home stretch we had the wind at our backs and the adrenaline in our veins.
Our cycling time was just about 5 hours and 40 minutes for an average speed of approximately 30km/h. I am so proud that I did it and can’t believe that I jumped from a 103km ride to a 166km ride and felt as good or better doing the longer distance! It was a great way to spend a day in beautiful rural Alberta!
The long ride capped off my week of training. I used Saturday as a rest day to prepare for the ride and I felt really fresh yesterday morning. While I felt guilty for skipping my long run this week, after the ride I knew I had made the right decision! I only ran 12.27 miles this week, but cycled 103.18 miles sooo… 😉
I got in 5 quality strength training sessions this week which really helps me, especially during mileage drop weeks. I love doing strength training and I know it’s helping my running. 🙂 I totally recommend the Tour De L’Alberta if anyone is looking to do a very non-competitive cycling tour. There are 50km, 100km, and 160km options and loads of people who are there just to ride, chat, and enjoy the day. It’s great! My mom ROCKED the 100km distance and I am so proud of my parents. They are incredibly active role models for me and my brother!
Do you ever replace your long run with other endurance cardio or do you feel it doesn’t ever have the same benefits?
Fuelling on the bike versus fuelling on the run – any tips?