This has been among the longest periods that I’ve gone without posting, but I promise it’s not been without reason. I’ve only raced a few times since my last post, and I don’t like to post much if I don’t have anything to say (which should give you a little insight as to how those races went for me), and my training hasn’t been much to talk about either.
I’ll give you a brief summary of my two races:
The greater Big Bear area has become one of my most daunting foes, because it is there that I experience bonking more frequently than any other place. My first bonk at a race was at Rim Nordic in 2010 when I was put in my place shortly after claiming that I felt good about mountain bike racing. The US Cup races in Big Bear have not been good to me either, although it happens unpredictably to me up there, but when I bonk, I bonk hard! I even bonked on a fun ride! Needless to say, I was feeling nervous about the last Rim Nordic race of the summer series, but I knew the team needed points to stay in the lead of the Small Team Competition and decided to race. I felt good at the start of the race until my chain broke. I had resigned myself into accepting that I would DNF, but when I got back to camp, the guys all said, “No DNFs on this team.” Before I knew it, I had a new chain and was back on course and finished the race. I’m happy to report that I was not DFL, either! Not bad…not great. The good news was that the team earned enough points to win the Small Team Competition overall.
Then the Turn and Burn 6-Hour race came along and I signed up to do it solo. I had a goal to complete 8 laps, and went through the first half of the race feeling pretty good. I was with Chris Bautista the entire first half, feeling like I was enjoying this endurance race business when my hamstring started to object. I cramped and decided to walk a little in the middle of lap 4, and could only muster two subsequent laps. Eight laps would have been good enough to win my race, but my hamstrings would hear nothing of it.
After the disappointing 6-hour race, I dedicated my time to running, in preparation for the Long Beach Half-Marathon, and honestly feel like my training was coming along rather well. I wasn’t going to break records or anything, although I was hoping I would put in my best time ever and get close to a 2-hour finish time. The plan was to show up to the run with a few people from work, and actually run the entire thing with Kim again, like last year. The Friday night before the Half I started feeling a little sniffly and sneezy at the football game at school, then it got worse on Saturday when I could barely manage the 1-mile walk home from registration at the convention center. Then I woke up Sunday morning with a baby elephant sitting on my chest, so, like Jerry Seinfeld, I chose not to run!
I had missed the Surf City Half in February because I had come down with pneumonia for the second time in two years, and I didn’t want to go through that again. I offered my race entry to a friend, but he’d partied the night before and didn’t wake up in time.
Following the absence from the run, I went into a bit of a slump. I was completely unmotivated to ride or to run; I stopped cooking, and I ate badly. I had planned on racing cyclocross this year and haven’t been to a race since. I’m afraid to step on a scale for fear that it will show me that I’ve gained 10 or 15 pounds. It hasn’t helped that work has been so busy, and Isa’s basketball schedule is very unpredictable right now because they use the gym whenever it’s available. It’s been good for her and I’ve been able to get a lot more work done while I wait, but my training has indeed suffered.
I have been looking for inspiration where ever I can find it. Seeing ‘cross pictures on Facebook helps, riding my bike on the weekends has certainly helped, and I’ve finally got myself a plan to follow, thanks to TrainingPeaks. I also figure that I needed the rest. I was reading a blog post from Joe Friel where he talks about the typical rest period:
Rest and recovery doesn’t necessarily mean time off the bike, although some of that is ok. For most athletes it means “active” R&R which involves riding short durations at low intensity (usually zone 1). There are 3 times when R&R is common for a young rider: weekly, monthly and annually. Weekly is roughly about every other day (but perhaps slightly less often sometimes as when preparing for a stage race or in the base period when training sessions may not be as stressful). This weekly recovery is incomplete so fatigue still continues to accumulate but it is kept under control. Monthly R&R is usually 3-5 consecutive days after about 3 weeks of hard training. This allows for more extensive recovery–yet still incomplete–and prevents overtraining. At the end of the season R&R lasts 1-4 weeks and produces complete recovery which often means eliminating niggling injuries and psychological burnout from being focused for so many months on race preparation. For older athletes (35+) there is usually more frequent R&R which also may last longer.
So, my R&R is over. It’s time to get ready for ‘cross at the Greek, and Turkey Trot ‘Cross, and some other cyclocross races, then the Surf City Half and US Cup MTB races in 2015! Also, I’m getting myself ready for the Whole30 pretty soon, I just need to pace myself a little.
I hope to put out the reports as the races start to add up. See you on the bike!