Step Back!

Today marks the start of the 15th week of Boston training. For those of you who have followed an 18 week training schedule, you know what that means. It means that this week is the highest mileage week in the training schedule. On the schedule this week is my last 20 miler, and a total of 58 miles for the week. I have to say, I will be glad when it is over. Not that I love the taper weeks, but it will be nice to be able to go for a bike ride, or a hike or a kickboxing class, and not have to worry about it cutting into precious running time.

Speaking of a bike ride, last week was a step back week, which means that my long run was only 12 miles and the total mileage for the week was a lot lower than this upcoming week. This did give me a little bit more freedom and I ran with it (ha! no pun intended).

On Sunday, I ran a 5k for Jill's Virtual St Patrick's Day run. It was a great day for it and I gave it my all, finishing in 21:46.

Then I bought a few more accessories for the bike (U-lock and cushy seat cover), I took it out for it's first REAL ride. I have been using it to run errands, like going to the grocery store or library, which are only about a mile from my house. There is one big hill between my house and the grocery store though and I can ride all the way up it one way but coming back it is steeper on that side and I have had to walk it up.

So I was pretty nervous about attempting a longer bike ride. There were a few things I worried about.

(1) That I would get hit by a car. Other people on the road don't always pay attention! I know this, because as a runner, I have come VERY close to being hit a few times. I always feel a bit smaller when a bus comes within a few inches of me. I feel very small in fact.

(2) That I would have to walk up all the hills. Ah, failure, how we fear thee.

(3) That my butt would be on fire by mile 4. Hence the new cushy seat cover.

bike ready
The Beast, with a new hat for the seat and a fancy St. Patty's day U-lock.

As a runner, we have the same issues. Chafe, pains, fear of failure, and feelings of fragility. So I am used to them. So I said to myself that it is no different than what I am used to, and I got to it. My running friend broke her toe and she asked me if I wanted to ride to a pub that was about 16 miles from my house. Why not? You only live once. YOLO!

It went well. In fact, it went better than I thought it would. I did NOT get run over. We started in Oakland, going through the town for about 7 miles before we got to the SF Bay Trail, where we stayed until we reached Richmond. We stopped for a St. Patrick's day beer at a local pub and then we headed back. We tackled one big hill on the way back and I didn't get off the bike once. The cushioned butt pad was fabulous!

Point Richmond
Point Richmond

When I got back to Oakland, I had a humongous burrito and then headed for my final two miles to get home. Unfortunately, the last mile has another fairly steep hill (0 ft - 200 ft in about a half a mile) and I just couldn't do it. These legs were toast and they had really started to realize it when I sat down to eat the burrito.  But I made it. So that's one ride over.

See that hill at the very end? It was brutal!

Total miles: 41.4
Average speed: 11.3 mph

I am pretty excited, because I have always thought I would like to try a triathlon, but it's the biking that was my biggest fear. Now I just need to get over this week's "hill" in my Boston Training (and the Marathon itself) and then I can work on getting better at my biking skills! 

What did you do for St. Patrick's Day? Have you ever done a long bike ride? How do you combat butt soreness?


  1. That hill at the end does look crazy! Great job with the bike ride. My bike is kind of heavy and it makes biking a lot of work, but since it isn't really my passion and i hardly ever use it I keep it.

    Boston is getting close!

  2. First off - happy tapering! Man, I can't imagine running 58 miles in a week. I am not even running that much in a month these days which is pathetic!

    That is great that you got out for a nice long bike ride. I love that you stopped for a beer along the way! I did not do anything to observe St. Patty's Day. I didn't even leave my condo! I studied and then did another round of throwing things away and started to pack the suitcase I will check for my flight to Charlotte as I need to bring things like an air mattress, sheets, etc since my things won't arrive until I've been in Charlotte a couple of days. So yah, not the most festive day but so it goes!

  3. That hill is bananas!!! Similar to that disgusting hill in New Bedford!!! I got over it....barely! I was talking with the hubs and we should be in Framingham for the marathon!!! That'll be mile 7ish so you'll still be fresh! So excited for you!

  4. Congrats on tackling your first long bike ride! One of these days I'm going to get on a bike and see what happens. One of these days...
    Good luck on your high-mileage week!

  5. Hurray for taper! My biking fears are similar to yours - I am afraid of the traffic here. The city is geting better about it, and has installed several bike lanes, but for the most part bikers and pedestrians are not treated well here. I just know a bus will clip me on Claiborne ave if I try to bike to work.

  6. great job on the 5k!!! I hear you about marathon training big miles - it seems like all I'm doing right now if working, eating, sleeping, running or planning when I will run. I'm lucky I have a flexible schedule.

    I would agree riding on the road is nerve racking. I like firm and hard bike saddles, but it takes awhile to build up what I call "crotch endurance". congrats on your 16 mile ride!

  7. Yay - congrats! I bet now that you're through this first ride, you're going to be more receptive to more long rides in the future! Chicago has a fun, 30-mile ride where they shut down Lake Shore Drive (the major thoroughfare along the lake) to cars and open it up to bikes. There is one part that goes over a bridge and most of us huff and puff and then stop at the top for a photo opportunity. Last year, I took a photo of a woman who was biking solo. She's from San Francisco and couldn't help but giggle at all of us Midwesterners complaining about one lonesome hill. =)

  8. Awesome job!! My longest ride was 30 miles but I hope to get in a longer one once the weather gets better here. I find the more I ride, the more my butt gets used to it. But the first few times are painful! I ran the virtual on Sunday, did you wear green?:)

  9. Love your bike. When I first started cycling I was terrified of riding in traffic. I was so afraid of getting hit. People just don't pay attention! Plus, my butt was on fire after only about 5 miles when I first started riding.

  10. That sounds like a pretty fun ride this weekend! I'd be afraid of getting hit by a car if I were on a bike too. People just don't pay attention like they should.

  11. Nice pace for the St Pats Day race! Unless you count hour long spin classes no I've never been on what I would consider a long ride. Nice job tackling that hill!

  12. Enjoy the step back, it's crazy how close Boston is!! And nice work on the bike- you could definitely handle a triathlon.


Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!