OK, I take back all those bad things I said about my workout buddy David. We got the workout done today and I never would have gotten as much accomplished without him along! And I certainly never would have gotten up at 4AM to get onto the track at 5AM. Well, 5:10 or so, actually, I was late since the girls woke up and needed attention, but anyway. . . .
I arrived at the track when it was PITCH BLACK outside. David had already completed a mile! I managed a sleepy ~5K warmup jog (plus several walking laps since my Shredded Wheat wasn't settling well enough in my stomach - definitely no more of that before workouts!).
Then we headed out on the road on the bike as soon as it was light enough. I wore my heart rate meter (also known as Nancy's $65 personal powermeter sans bells and whistles), which I usually don't because it chafes.
I made a couple changes on this ride - the first was that I added Carbo-pro maltodextrin (half cup per 2 quarts) and extra salt (1 tsp per 2 quarts) to my Gatorade, which I think helped enormously to keep my energy high - I kept feeling stronger the whole workout! (Note to self: I need to practice making a concentrated formula in one water bottle, probably marked off at one-hour consumption intervals, and mix it on the fly in my aerobottle with water on course so that I can use it in two 56-mile rounds on the Ironman course. I'm not fond of carrying a gel flask on the bike since I always seem to have problems closing it tightly and it leaking sticky goop somewhere.)
The first 35 miles I had my watch beeper on at 10-minute intervals, and we rode at a comfortable pace for 7-8 minutes, then picked up the pace to increase my heart rate by ~10 bpm for 2-3 minutes, repeated throughout.
For the last 16 miles I rode at a continuous 10-15 bpm higher heart rate (~150 bpm) than my comfortable pace (~135 bpm)
I ended up with an average speed 0.3-0.5 mph higher than most of my other training rides in the 3-hour range (16.7 mph). I even had enough energy afterwards to run another track 5K just about 3 minutes off (33:44) my PR time in suffocating humidity.
I'm going to keep up a similar approach on my 3-4 hour rides. I think my leg strength is okay (since my bike times on Eagleman-flat and Steelhead-hilly half Ironman courses were nearly the same), but I primarily need to improve on my ability to sustain a cycling effort at a higher heart rate. Build stamina, in other words, to get faster.
But in two weeks, we launch the 100+-milers, hopefully at least two before Chesapeakeman. The first of which will be at a slow and easy "just finish the sucker" pace.
Another note to self: Suck it up, lube effectively, and wear the damn heart rate meter. Even though you hate it. It helps.
Bank of Ironman deposit - check!