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My first STP in the Books

Would you do it again? That seems to be the first question people ask. Then they ask if I’m sore. What hurts? I finished, upright on my bike on my own power. That was my goal. 10 hours on a bike seat on Saturday and 7 on Sunday. Would I do it again? I don’t know. I put a lot of hours into training. Many Saturdays I’d leave the house at 7 or 730 and not get home until 4pm. As it got closer to the event, I’d often go out on Sundays too. And at least a couple nights during the week. Leave work at 4, head to Log Boom Park, get on my bike and do 30-40 miles, and then head home. Some nights that was fun. Some nights it was hard.

I read recently about perceived effort. It was an interesting article. It was talking about how hard to push yourself to make a difference. The upshot was if it feels hard, don’t push. Do what you can and call it good. But if it feels easy, push. You can go harder. I have to say STP felt easier mentally and physically on Saturday than on Sunday. Sunday I was trying to change my inner voice, and get comfortable on my bike seat. Crossing over the bridge into Oregon meant only 30 more miles. But those were, mentally, the toughest miles I’ve done. But I couldn’t quit. How can you quit when you’re so close. And I hate to quit.

Training for an endurance bike ride is so different from the training I was used to. When you train to walk a half marathon, you know you’ll be done in 3-4 hours. You subsist mainly on gels and chewy blocks; maybe an energy bar. But your body doesn’t crave as much fuel. When you do a duathlon, each section is short – run 3.5, bike 12.5, run 3.5. I would eat half a banana as I ran out the chute for my second run, or eat part of a protein bar as I changed shoes and got my gear for the bike ride. But, again, my body didn’t need as much fuel. I fueled up after the event. But distance biking? Figuring out how to fuel my body before, during and after was a challenge. I realized halfway into my training that the reason my legs were giving out was that I wasn’t getting enough protein. So I started trying to eat more lean protein and added a protein shake on training days. That helped. But I need to start that fueling process earlier in my training. Now I know. And it will make a difference for my next adventure.

So would I do it again? Maybe. I know I’d train a lot differently. More hills. More back to back days. Figure out my fuel needs earlier. And get out of my head. Way out. So maybe not STP. But I will do another endurance event … just not sure what the next adventure will be. For now, I’m scheduled to do a triathlon relay in Vancouver WA in August and then Cycle the Wave in September. I might throw a couple more in there. And I’ll be back on my bike next week.

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