I'm a veteran. Yea Me.
Could you read the sarcasm there?
That's how I feel on 11/11 when people thank me for my service. I'm proud that I served and am definitely a better person because of it. Because I served and was injured, 100% of my education was paid for, allowing me to do what I do now. What I do now, I feel, does improve the lives our others and will improve the quality of our country. What I do now is a service to others. But what I did while in the service ... I was a statistic. That's how I feel anyway.
But enough of that. I have a week and a day before El Tour de Tucson. 111 miles, nearly 3000 feet of climbing and I've got a sub-six hour time in my sights. My first century had more climbing and I completed it solo, unsupported, in exactly 6 hours of riding time. This is supported and with others, but is 10 miles longer and I'll be counting total time, not seat time. I'm not sure at all if I can swing it!
I started tapering this week and am amazed how sore and tired my legs really are. Last week I rode 220 miles and had some INSANE workouts. I just never stopped. I'd refused to acknowledge that I was sore. Instead I'd just focus and push and push some more.
But this week I took off Sunday and Monday and did a short run Tuesday evening and thought, "Whoa...my thighs are burning, heavy and tired." Wednesday I had to ride my bicycle home from work (my truck died) and thought, "Whoa...my hamstrings are heavy, burning and DEAD." Yesterday (Thursday) I went on a 25 mile tempo ride and though, "Wow...still dead, even with all of the extra rest!" And I woke up this morning with sore legs, again. Normally, that same workout yesterday leaves me no residual effects the following day. Guess I nailed my workouts last week!
This week I've ridden 30 so far. I'll ride 65 Saturday and then 30 next Tuesday and 15 or so on Thursday. I'm eating...trying to eat, but with my lowered physical output, I'm not that hungry. I'm trying to eat bananas and take magnesium and calcium daily, but I forget. Life is so busy right now that I tend to forget about the race. But then when I think about it, my pulse begins to pick up a bit and I feel a shot of adrenaline...already!
Let's not romanticized too much: I'm glad the training for the tour is done. I loved the challenge and was thirsty for the suffering because now, I can't wait to see what I can do next Saturday!
After that is a half marathon, my first, on 12/11. I've done practically no training for it. Not because I've had other priorities, but because of injury. I'm pretty sure the remaining left leg issues I have are ITB related. I'm still not as flexible on that side by a long shot but everything else is nearly 100%. The remaining symptoms and pattern of irritation match very closely to what I've read of ITB syndrome. I'm using my gift certificate from my 5K last month to purchase a foam roller today!
Monday I had a good run, just four miles, but rolling hills (downhill is worse on the injury), and came in at a comfortable 8:45 pace. The last two weeks I've run as fast as I can pain free, which has been around 10:30. Ugh. But before the re-aggravation I'd been running comfortably around 7:45-ish. That's fun to me. Running at 10:30 is labor.
Today I have a 10K trail run in the late afternoon. I signed up for it MONTHS ago, long before I planned on doing the tour. I'm going to try and finish it in under 50 minutes without pain. That's my goal. It's just a "tempo" run.
So I'm not excited about the half marathon...not one bit. I was in September, but not now. However, I have a game plan for after the race. I'm going to dedicate the following two months to strengthening my legs and core, working on form and technique, as well as to losing the remaining excess weight I have, about 20 pounds, and a lot of that will be upper body muscle. Benching 300 pounds is of no use when trying to run 26 miles.
I'm going to dedicate the following four months to building a solid running base. My marathon goal is to finish my first in the Fall of 2012 in under 4 hours. That's a substantial goal, but the fear of failure combined with the excitement of significant accomplishment is a perfect fuel mixture for my motor!