After last weeks discovery of weight loss, a significant amount that took me through a plateau I had been stuck at for many, many years, it was easy to want to slack off a little. It was also easy to fall right back into obsessively checking the scale. Bad choice. I jumped right back on that emotional roller coaster and honestly, my diet, my training, and my emotional well-being have suffered for it. Back to the information black out!!
Speaking of information black outs. I got my new Overlord the other day. I have now become a minion of the Timex Overlord (also known as the Timex Global Trainer. I like Overlord better!) and my data files are once again full of detailed information. Hopefully, it is accurate information. I don't know exactly how long the Garmin had been lying to me but it's possible that it has been quite some time. I did an interval workout on the trainer the other day and was greeted by horrifying results! My RPE (rate of perceived exertion) and my heart rate didn't match up AT ALL!!
I did seven threshold intervals that were (at least to me) fairly long, followed by a long block of steady state. The total workout including time between intervals, warm up, and cool down, was a little over two hours. Lately, my interval work has been on the roads and based solely on RPE, as the Garmin Overlord had gone the way of King George. I returned to the old format of doing the intervals on the trainer and using the HR info to provide the markers for a solid suffer-fest. And WOW!!! Suffer I did. I didn't even make it to threshold on most of the intervals and some of the averages were closer to endurance than threshold. I found myself blowing the intensity out of the water trying to bring my HR up but then being unable to sustain even a lesser intensity for the remainder of the workout. I didn't feel like I was not willing to suffer but rather like I was going all out, far harder than I should have, and blowing up without ever seeing my heart rate reach the desired levels. (Of course this is a question for DW, and I have no doubt it will get discussed at length during our phone conference Monday.)
Still, the point is that it was a humbling workout. After feeling a bit invincible, between a really killer run workout the day before, and the weight loss, I then felt totally let down by this performance. I think, though, that is is something that is probably pretty common with athletes and it is just an indicator of the fact that I may not have been working at the desired intensity for a little while. Also, having the numbers in front of me again, I got so wrapped up in them that I lost perspective, hammering to reach a numerical goal and tossing the more subtle feedback coming from my body right out the window. It was like I got a little taste of success and made a greedy grab for more. Of course, the monkey cannot get his hand out of the jar while holding ALL of the dates (Aesop)! Adhering to heart rate data is a little bit of patience with a little bit of intuition, and a big blob of common sense. It takes time for the ticker to respond to the workload and when you are working close to your max, it is easy to go out too hard trying to get to the target number.
Another thing in play in that workout was my trainer and bike set-up. I have had chronic issues with this for a while and the consequences have been breaking loose once and crashing, once breaking a skewer, and often times having so much inconsistency in the resistance it feels like the bike is leaping between it's chain rings. This time I could feel an alarming lateral wiggle. Then the bike started shifting on it's own. I looked down and could see the wheel sliding sideways so far it was pulling the chain onto different cassette rings. This is not good!! I had visions of cracks in my frame and ruined cassettes and derailleurs. No matter what, NOT GOOD!! I finally called my local bike shop back in Florida since I have yet to develop a relationship with any of the shops here, and they helped me to trouble shoot the issues. TJ also reminded me that I owe him a pizza because my bike was so trashed the last time it came in for a tune up.
I love my old local shop, The Flying Wheel, in Royal Palm Beach, FL. The shop owner, Gary, has a true love for the sport and takes any new riders under his wing, offering advice and assistance. His enthusiasm is infectious and he qualifies as an ambassador for the sport. TJ is "wrench extraordinaire"! The atmosphere is wonderful, low-key and I really, really miss it! I really hope I can find a "home" in Austin like I had there.