As far as long bike rides go, today ended up being a really good day on the bike. The aftermath is what made this day a mixed bag.
The big test for me today was how my Achilles would react to a long ride. I skipped my long ride last weekend. The weekend before that I had to cut my ride short. I had doubts about how it would react today, but I'm at a point in my training where I'm going to have to suck it up and just deal with it. I also decided to try something different today. Probably not the smartest idea on a long ride, but I think it did help me get through the ride today. In order to further reduce strain on my Achilles, I decided to use my heel cups from my Achilles brace in each cycling shoe. It ended up helping a lot I think. I did have pain, but it wasn't unbearable and was much better than the last couple of rides. Overall I ended the ride pretty pleased with how it went. However, I can't really imagine hopping off the bike and running a marathon the way it felt today. We'll leave that to another day.
Let's start with the ride. I met up with my coach and 3 other people at the parking lot used for transition for our local 140.6 race, the Redman Triathlon. We decided to ride out of town on the Redman course and then follow Waterloo road all the way into Okarche. In Okarche, we made a pit stop and refilled the bottles before heading south on Highway 81 to El Reno. My coach's parents live in El Reno so we made another stop to refill the bottles and jumped in the pool to attempt to cool off for the remainder of the ride. The water wasn't cool by any means, but the wet bike jersey and tri shorts made for a refreshing few miles before I dried out again. From El Reno we headed east back to OKC and made a half loop around Lake Hefner before getting back to our cars. All in all, it was a nice 76ish mile ride in a little over 4 hours. I really enjoyed riding with this group because everyone was about the same pace and we pushed each other too. I still felt strong at the end of the ride so this was a big confidence boost in my overall fitness. I feel like I'm right where I need to be even with the setbacks the last few weeks. My run fitness obviously isn't there, but there's really not much I can do about that aspect right now. My swim and bike feel great so I'm happy with 2 out of the 3. For my first Ironman training cycle, I'll take it.
Here's the disappointing part of the day though. It's now 7PM in the evening, about 7 hours post ride and my Achilles is pretty sore. I've also developed a little nodule on the lower outside portion of my right Achilles. I had a similar issue before my first marathon and it made it nearly impossible to run. I'm icing, applying the anti-inflammatory cream, and have my compression socks on to help ease the inflammation. Right now the nodule is small so that's the plus side. I will definitely be taking tomorrow as a rest day and will resume my elliptical substitution this week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can continue to manage the Achilles and get in my long rides. That's my main focus currently. I'm taking it step-by-step and day-by-day for now.