Saturday, October 1, 2011

Big Plans

Big Plans:  I always have them.  I'm going to do this and this and that.  It's going to be G R E A T!

Last week my workouts got pushed back and one day's plan bled into the next day.  The end result is that I didn't end up taking a day off, making this week a little tough.

My plan Friday and Saturday was to get in a long, hilly ride Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to get my first trail run since June.  The combination of events, and just the trail run itself, were to be a HUGE test for my **healed** leg.  (The pain is now only in the hip abductor area and could just be bursitis.)

Friday was Home Coming at the high school.  I had to go take my truck to the dump after school and before the ride as I needed it Saturday morning.  Home Coming festivities made it tough to get out of work at a great time.  The end result is that I didn't even start my planned 40 mile ride until after 4:00.  It's dark shortly after 6pm.  Guess I'd see if my new lights worked. 

Windy conditions further slowed my proceedings, compliments of some tropical storm.  Where I normally breeze along a 6 mile stretch of road at 18 to 20, with a few down hills hitting 35, I was struggling to stay above 12 mph.  I was gassed by the time my direction turned to be perpendicular to the prevailing currents. 

As I rode towards Pena Blanca Lake (to the left), I kept a close eye on the time, instead of my cadence or speed.  If I hadn't reached the turn around point of my ride by 5:30, I was going to have to abort the ride.  Cool surprise:  That agreement motivated me to move a little faster than normal on the big hills going to the base of the mountain.

On the return trip, coming up the biggest hill, I was a cyclist at the top obviously battling the same thing I had.  Instead of coming down that hill and fighting the next three hills, he turned around to return home.  I HAD to catch him.  It's a chase, though he didn't know it.

At the top of the hill there was no sign of him.  I kept my cadence high rolling around the corners and riffling down the hill.  Eventually I saw his taillight.  That thing was bright in the twilight.  I was gaining on him, creeping closer and closer.  As I drew closer I could see he had a nice bike, but tennis shoes.  Not a serious rider, so no feather in my cap there.  Matt and I talked for the next 4 miles or so.  We live just a few miles away and had a good talk up the very last climb before really being in the valley.

He was taking the more direct route home, but I wanted to extend my ride a bit.  The sun had already set, but barely.  I clicked on my lamps and raced with renewed focus.  I could clearly see my light on the street in front of me and was thankful I was on an empty street.

As I turned on my street my phone rang.  My concerned wife wondered if I needed a ride.  It's nice to be cared for. 

My legs were toast.  I averaged 16.4 on the 36 miles (the distance is different than mapped).  Usually when I go to the lake I try to stay above 15.  Most rides I try and stay above 18, but the lake is tough.  This route was almost 7 miles longer and contained a lot more climbing, not to mention the wind.  I was happy with my time, but exhausted.  I stretched, ate and dunked myself in a cool bath.

Out of the tub and I got dressed and headed to the school.  My daughter is in the band and I had to stay late after the game.  We got home at 11:00 and I was in bed by 11:30.  So much for an early night.  Saturday morning she had the SAT's, but instead of being there at 9 am, she had to be there at 7:45 and had to have some papers printed.  That meant I had to leave at 7 am.  No early morning run today.

After dropping her off and buying some oatmeal and fruit at the store, I returned home.  My wife has started a branch of Bountiful Baskets in our community and I had to help.  That's why I thought I needed my many things I think, I was wrong.

I finally started my run at 10:30.  The sun was HOT, time to go topless (Part of Operation Dirty Whore).  My hip complained a little at first, like usual.  It loosened up...good.  The trail conditions, though, they SUCKED.  This particular stretch of the De Anza Trail is maintained by volunteers. The summer monsoons knocked over several trees in the path and the weeds and grasses had choked out the trail.  I got lost so many times and everywhere were these weeds with stalks of goat heads.  My toe shoes had some Gollum obsession with them and collected them as precious things between the toes.

My stride broke down to this:  Stop, find the trail, clean the toes, run.  Stop, weave through throny mesquite growths, run.  Stop, climb over tree trunk.  Stop, find the trail, clean the toes, run.

Then my hip started again.  Stop, stretch, run.  Stop, find the trail, clean toes, run.  Stop, weave through throny mesquite growths, run.  Stop, climb over tree trunk.  Stop, stretch.

The end result is that I ended up walking quite a bit.  If I walked through the weeds no problems with the toes.  Plus, my hip was sore.

I completed the 5.5 mile trail run in 1 hour and 8 seconds.  I had hoped for 7 to 8 miles in a similar time.  But, I told myself throughout not to be concerned with time and speed, just to get out healthy and uninjured.  I did manage to avoid further injury (I think), but the speed was disappointing.

I am very happy to have been able to squeeze in those two work outs.  Turns out I may end up being "sponsored" in the Tour de Tucson by my brother in law, provided a wear a jersey with his company advertisement on it.  That's a SWEET deal.

I ended up collected 90 miles this week in two ride and three runs.  The runs were 4, 5 and 5.5 miles.  I didn't take a day off last week and was forced to take of Wednesday.   So, this week I adjusted properly to make Friday and Saturday work so I could have Sunday off to rest.

I'm super excited about riding in the Tour de Tucson and a little nervous about being ready for my half marathon on December 11th.  I've got a 5K race next weekend and a 10K race on Veterans Day.  The following weekend is the Tour.  There's an inaugural race here in my hometown on my daughter's 18th birthday that I'd like to squeeze in.

The riding is exciting right now, but after such a long lasting injury, the running is intimidating.  Time to remain cautious.

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