#86 Get some rest sleepy-head

Yes.  Like that.

Coming off of the solid, but draining 1/2 Iron weekend in Providence last weekend, I decided that I would follow through with my plan to take this week to freshen up a bit with some recovery and rest and let the training hours drop substantially off.  As a tactic, this is tough because the natural instinct (at least mine) is to worry about how much you’re losing……when the truth is, you’re gaining and gaining big.  My theory here is that by taking a few days completely off and then building some intense but short sessions in, I would have some time to recharge the physical, mental and emotional batteries enough to hit the last 2 weeks of hard training, well, hard…..and then use the final 2 weeks to peak out right at the right time.  Of course, this is just theory and so much can still not work out as planned……but I’m feeling like if I can get a few things to fall in place, I’ll be able to enter race day knowing that I’ve done everything I can to prepare and just let go……this trust in my training is super important and although there’s always SOMETHING more that can be done, for me it’s about getting to the starting line healthy and with every cylinder ready to fire.

If I could only grow a beard like that

On Monday and Tuesday, the training order was pretty simple really – get sleep……as much as possible and have the local bike shop take a look at the crash victim to make sure I’m not doing more harm than good riding it.  I did NOTHING on Monday……NOTHING.  This was super weird and Lindsay had a good time watching me milling around like a lost soul trying desperately to find something (non-work-related) to do.  I’m sure the “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest” quality about it made it funny to watch….just sort of pacing like I couldn’t find the bread crumbs home.

Tuesday – I got a short strength session in just to stay loose and stretch out some.  I also took the bike in; and with a little bit more pacing, this time like someone in the hospital waiting for “the news”, Gardner simply said (as he tightened a screw)……”These things are tougher than people think……it’s not as pretty as when you got it…..but it’s OK”.  WHEW!  That would’ve been a huge setback and instead a relief.  Luck changing?

Wednesday was the last day of “easy does it” for me, so I snuck in a 45-ish minute Elliptigo session.  Enough to get the blood pumping, but certainly not intense.  I love watching the people as they see me heading their way and then the “wait, what?” look on their face as they realize it’s not a bike.  Great recovery device and perfect for my goal that day.

Thursday I got some easy riding in, about 35 miles of it.  Not terribly long but a good way to gently let the legs know that it was time to wake up.

Friday I was pressed for time, so what better way to get some work done than mile “cut-downs” 2 x 3 miles.  This little gem of a workout is pretty simple in concept, go out for a run and every mile, cut the pace down (i.e. go faster) by some reasonable percentage.  AMAZING what fresh legs can do.  I went out at what I thought was a reasonable pace (turned out faster than race pace) but at the 1 mile mark I decided I’d still try to cut it down by 15-20 seconds per mile…….it turned out I cut it down by nearly 35 seconds….whew fresh legs!  But, I was this far, so I might as well give it a try to cut it down another little bit……I really didn’t think I could cut it down and keep it there for another mile…..but I DID!  Dropped it down another 10 seconds per mile for the 3rd mile.  Although I was pretty tired by the end of that mile, I was feeling really really good about the pacing.  Short lived though, b/c it was time to do it again on the way back.  This time I took mile one REALLY EASY to make sure I could keep it together……but the workout went pretty well and I managed to push out another 3 miles at a pace I was happy with.  Sessions like this are a good boost for the psyche and reinforce to me that if I can keep a positive rest balance and frame of mind, I should be darn near where I want to on race day.

On Saturday training was boxed out by other commitments, which I let go pretty well with the idea that – this was it – last weekend I could really do that.

Today, I managed to get in a tough 30-ish miles on the bike (>2500 feet of climbing in 30 miles), but that was the idea…..beat up the legs and run after.  The last 10% of the ride was with some drizzle, which although cuts the speed down for safety some, wasn’t entirely unwelcome (we need it bad)…..until I got off to run.  STEAM BATH.  Fortunately the real thunderstorms, you know the kind that drop the temp by 10 degrees in 10 minutes didn’t roll through (until now as I type), but the wet roads and hot humid air makes for a seriously unwelcoming environment.  

Overheat Much? 
I ran 5 miles pretty hard and it went fine, however I was a sweaty mess when I was done and feeling sort of burnt.  I made my way into the bathroom and ran the cold bath.  It was the first time (ever) that I got in and within 30 seconds it felt “refreshing”.  It usually takes the first 3-4 minutes of what sounds like some sort of personal Lamaze class for me to get in chest deep…..today, not so much.  Well……first hot AND humid training session of the season.  Let’s hope 8/11 is NOT like that.

And now, 26 days out from the big-race and staring at 2 weeks of the good stuff…..over training……the cherry on top.  It won’t be easy, but this is the stuff great race experiences are made of….and so, it’s head down and work hard.

Ready for anything,

Mike E.