okay, so there really wasn't that much sweat, it was only 60 degrees after all and the tears didn't come until later but the rain - oh was there rain.
the plan was to ride for 2.5 hours by getting in 2 laps at Fiesta and then taking Morena up to the top where i would attempt as many hill repeats as my body would allow. i began the ride at 9AM, over to Fiesta for the laps where, for once, i passed at least 6 people which ordinarily wouldn't have been as monumental except that these people were not all 90 year olds - a great feat in my eyes seeing as how they were all a part of one of the "elite training groups" in San Diego and the fact that there were some gnarly ass winds pushing me every which way. i couldn't lean too much one way because i'd end up swerving too much the other way. i kept it in my big chain ring and pounded out two steady laps - and yes i pushed it but i held strong, not killing myself - a sustained chain of energy throughout each lap. as i finished up the last of the dreaded island, i felt a small tickle of rain on my fingers. the sky looked pretty menacing...rain was coming and i needed to decide the best course of action because i don't ride in the rain - not at all.
when i heard that Denner did IM Lake Placid in the pouring rain last year and did it well, i was in complete awe. how could anyone push a steady pace, much less compete in a race when its pouring down rain? its so dangerous. so unpredictable. so temperamental. so...scary.
i had two optional routes back to my place. i would not be pushing my luck and trying to get in the full 2.5 hours, i just wanted to make it back home safely. option one: go back the way i came which included heavy traffic, two on/off ramps to deal with and a very narrow bridge to contend with. option two: make a full circle, making my way through heavy traffic and a couple of dicey intersections, rounding out to Nimitz and back to my place. i thought i'd take the lesser of the two evils and hit the latter of the options - bad idea. i rode directly into the rain. 30 min on the dry yet blustering island into dark skies, slick roads and irritated drivers wondering why in the hell someone would be out riding their bikes in this mess. as people would honk, i would just grip my bars a little harder and think "well i can't just sit here people, i have to get home one way or another!" and pushed on. in the end, i was soaked to the bone - freezing cold and glad to be on steady ground.
total trip was only around 17 miles, averaging 16.5 mph and i think just over an hour of ride time. by the time i got off my bike, my knee was THROBBING. i don't know if it was the rain, the cold, the fact that i pushed it or a combination of the three. i limped back up to my apartment and drew a hot bath to get the cold ache out of my bones and hopefully out of my knee. as i sat in the hot steam and boiling water, i closed my eyes and let myself feel all the pain and the disappointment of this ride. i had pushed it, but not anything insane. if i couldn't even do an 17 mile ride with a steady push containing no major climbs how in God's name am i to do an IM with a run tacked on at the end? my dad's knees kill him everyday of his life. he recently had knee surgery on each leg and the next step is knee reconstruction. he is 58. he never ran like i did and yet he's in pain all the time. i'm 28 and have done a lot of running in my life (both physically and metaphysically but the former is the point of this post) and i'm in constant pain right now - what will it be like when i'm 58? will i be in a wheel chair because it hurts too much to walk? what the hell am i to do with this information, with these thoughts? what do you do when your body is broken, when your mental is broken - swirling, twirling and ending in a broken spirit of unimaginable space? i let my body go limp and my head slip under the clear water that encompassed me, letting the tears float up and broach the surface, breaking the glass-like wall that divided me from the rest of the world even if it was just for a moment...