Hell and back?

I posted on Facebook on Saturday that I had been to hell and back.   After I posted it I sort of regretted it.  My ride that day was hell but not like the hell that my friend Katie goes through every time she has a round of chemo.  THAT IS HELL.  This just felt like hell at the time.

Backing up a little bit, this weekend I was due to run with the marathon group and do another 100 miler (my 4th since Leadville).  I also got an invite to a skybox at the bears game on Sunday.  How was I going to fit it all in?  As much as I did and re-did the math in my head there was no way I was going to be able to do the ride on Sunday before the game.  So after the run group, I went home to get ready for a late start 100 mile bike ride.  I’m not sure if it was because I was on my own or if it was because it was so late or if it was the weather but I just did not want to go on this ride.  I lay down on the bed and tried to rest.  Finally after a plea for motivation on Facebook I got up and put my cycling gear on and organized my food and drink.  I had originally planned on driving to Highland Park and doing 2 50 mile loops out there.  As it was so late I decided to leave from the house, hit the North Branch Trail and do a loop up at Highland Park, refueling at the VQ there.  I typically don’t like riding from the house because you can’t get a good pace going with all the stops and starts for lights, stop signs, getting lost and crossing over roads as part of the trail.  The North Branch Trail is pretty windy.

The first 3rd of my ride took me to VQ, Highland Park.  I felt decent, it took me longer than it should have due to city traffic and stops and starts on the trail.  I used the facilities and loaded up on water.  I set off for the 2nd 3rd of my journey borrowing off of routes that I’ve done with the group.  Some nice flat stretches where I could finally get some good time in aero. The whole time I was looking at the skies the forecast had said rain at 4:30.  Well sure enough about half way through the sky’s open up.  I stopped and put my rain jacket it on but the rain was so hard that it didn’t help much.  My shoes were filling with water.   I kept going, trying to reach my half way point before turning back but felt a little insecure as I was riding with no lights in bad rain on a busy road.  On my way back I opted for the path which would lead me back East to connect with another path.  Unfortunately I forgot that this first path was partially gravel.  I was being pelleted by small grains of gravel; you might say my legs were having a micro-dermabrasion treatment.  It did stop raining and again I was able to get some good miles on the way back towards VQ.  As I passed the turn off to VQ I decided to keep going.  If I needed more water I would stop at a gas station.  Well not a few minutes later the sky’s opened up once again.  I pulled up under a bridge and pulled out my phone and answered a couple of texts.  People telling me to stay safe.  AT that time it was thundering and lightening.  I proceeded to get back on my bike as it let off a bit and headed south towards the botanical gardens.    I stopped in at a gas station at the corner of highway hell and nowhere as the rains came down in torrents.

Standing at the gas station waiting for rain to stop

Standing at the gas station waiting for rain to stop

I stood there hoping it would pass; getting a few sympathy looks and comments from people pulling up in their nice warm DRY cars, I secretly was hoping that someone would offer me a lift.  Yes it was that bad that I would get in a car with a stranger, even the bald buy in the big jeep. Well about 30 minutes later I was still there and starting to get cold.  Finally I had enough of waiting and started off again.  Cold, wet and miserable it continued to rain.  I made my way on a particularly rough patch of sidewalk (near the highway turn offs) to get to the gardens where I would connect with the North Branch Trail again.  My last 3rd, I was moaning and groaning in sheer misery.  My hands felt frozen as I held my bike tight to control it over the sidewalks and through the rain.  Finally it stopped once again.  On the North Branch Trail, although it stopped raining I had the aftermath to deal with.  There was a ton of debris all over the path.  Big branches and multiple chestnuts were strewn all over.  It was a nightmare to navigate my tri bike through it.  How I wished I had my mountain bike I tell you!  The rain also brought out all the animals from the woods.  I felt like I was in a Mary Poppins movie.  As I rode along birds bathing would fly away from my path.





random animals

random animals

more debris

more debris

Bunny rabbits and squirrels were having a hay day.  Then I came upon a pack (?) of deer!  There were many of them and all very close to the edge of the path.  I slowed down and proceeded with caution.  I know they know that I killed one of their own earlier in the season with the car!  I was shocked at how many there were and how they just all came out of the woods.    Of course as I make my way down the path the rain started again.  At that point the jacket was still on and I just had to put my head down and bear with it.  In the meantime as all this was going on my Dexcom was buzzing up a storm with low blood sugars.  I was yelling and screaming at that thing like there was no tomorrow.  I began to treat it like a contest, as if this inanimate object can feel I got great pleasure out of how long I could ignore it without taking it out and turning off the alarm… oh yes that is right little dex I have the mental will power of a ?? what?  Dandelion? I beat you! Ha! See readings – dexcom 10513

I finally got to the end of the path where I was going to finish 10 miles on the road.  And of course due to the waiting around it was going to get dark.  I had no lights.  I just kept going.  I finally turned on to Irving Park with 3 miles to go.  There is no bike lane here and it was officially dark.  I proceeded making my way through the Saturday night hustle and bustle.  It me in my soaking wet lycra versus the ladies in cabs with their high heels and curled hair.  The final straw was that it rained one last time as I was about 1.5 miles from home.  Sure why not!  86 miles later, I got in to the garage and peeled off my soaking clothes and immediately hopped into a hot shower.  I couldn’t even talk.  I wanted a hot shower and a drink badly!  An hour later we were out having big beers to see fellow triathlete appear in a comedy show – the blackout diaries… hilarious!!


So if it rains during ironman Arizona or if I have to navigate debris I should be all set. I dug deep.

This week is crazy work week and luckily a cut back week woo hoo !!! Only two hours on the bike on Saturday and a 5 mile run on Sunday WHILE I get to watch my marathoners compete in the Chicago marathon!!! Good luck to them all.  I know I posted this pic already but I love it.


Finally a big congrats to Dan Jackson and Jill Farnham of our marathon group who ran this past weekend!!! In Dan’s words.. woo hooo!


About Gillian

I am a type 1 diabetic diagnosed at the age of 30. I run marathons, participate in bike races , ironman triathlons and everything in between.
This entry was posted in Coaching, Ironman Arizona Training, Training, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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