Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm learning so much ... how dumb could I really be?

I'm 38.  Between the ages of 26 and 37 I was pretty much exercise free.  The exercise I've done in my life before last spring was the sort that involved a little running here and there, hitting the weights now and then, and playing a little basketball or something.

In the next 60 days I have a 111 mile road bike race and a half marathon.  So now not only do I have a mapped training plan, it's two activities.  At the end of every day the past two weeks, I've wondered, "Can I really manage that workout tomorrow?"

Sunday I ran a 5K race, my first, and was very sore Monday.  Monday I went on a 32 mile hilly ride with a friend that's not a serious rider.  I knew the pace would be easy, but didn't know how I'd feel.  I know a 5K isn't much, but I ran really hard and haven't run hard in months!  I almost backed out of Monday's ride.

Tuesday was a real time crunch.  I had about an hour of light in the afternoon.  So I decided to do intervals (on the bike).  Three miles fast, then cruise over the overpasses.  I did 20 miles this fashion and was toast.

Wednesday morning I did NOT want to get out of bed.  I went on a short 2 mile run, then hit the gym for some upper body work.  Wednesdays I teach two classes for the community college in the evenings, so even without a long work out, it's a draining day.

Thursday I had a 40 mile "tempo" workout on the bike.  I agreed that I would not drop below 17.5 mph on the bike.  On flat ground that's no problem.  But, look at the elevation profile.  When I showered Thursday night, I had crusted dry salt that made my eye brows and temples white.  It was awesome confirmation of the effort I gave.

This morning I was supposed to do an 8 mile slow run.  It's my first run of what I'd consider a significant distance since June.  I was anxious and didn't sleep well.  I wasn't sure how I'd feel but with the races around the corner, I had to stay on schedule and give it a shot.

I wanted to keep around a 9:30 pace or so and did a pretty good job.  I had some new vibrams to break in (second pair of toe shoes).

Where I live is hilly, even if you avoid hills.  The first mile is down hill and I did it in 9:01.  Legs felt good, sore left calf had no problems.  Second mile had a climb in it and was 10:11.  I felt great, like I could do this pace all day, even with dead legs from riding.  The third was 9:56 and at the end of mile 4 was a turn around.  4th was 9:30, and 5 was 9:45.  I labored on mile 6 and started thinking about some things that make me angry.  Normally, if I run or ride, or work mad, I'm very efficient.  But this time, I realized, I thought of those things in that fashion because I was tired and didn't have the resistance to reframe the situation appropriately.  Mile 7 had the hill again and was uphill even without the climb, 11:01.  I felt good again and decided to make the last mile my best, at 8:57.

Did I mention I got up at 4 am to do that run?  

That makes for a little over 100 miles going into the weekend.  I have my long ride tomorrow, maybe.  It's going to be a minimum of 85 miles.  We'll see how it goes.  

One thing I'm learning is that dietary advice regarding weight loss is totally useless at the moment.  I eat as much as I want as frequently as I want.  Those people write magazine articles about diet and exercise aren't performing 2 hour tempo workouts on a hilly course.  

I saw a shirt the other day that really captured the sentiment I've had lately, especially on rides like Thursday and mornings like today's. It said, "Nobody says, let's play triathlon."  While I'm not participating in a triathlon, the sentiment was dead-on!

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