Friday, June 22, 2012

It's Coming and I Am Waiting

It got on a truck in Los Angeles around two am.  It will roll down the highway towards Texas for the next couple of days.  This is worse than waiting for Santa.  

In other news, last week was officially the biggest week of braiding I have ever done.  I braided 63 horses.  The most remarkable part was the fact that I was done at a very respectable hour each day.  It did however result in impaired training efforts culminating in a total breakdown of the program by the early parts of this week.  

Monday's long ride turned into a test of mental endurance.  I planned to ride out to the lake, do three small loops and ride back which should have given me the requisite three hours with a bunch of climbing.  I rode out and did one loop and barely survived it.  I was struggling so badly, I resorted to my granny gear on the smaller climbs that normally don't even warrant a switch to the small chain ring.  My back was screaming!  The biggest limiter to climbing for me isn't leg burn or breathing (though those are always present), it is back pain.  As the terrain points up, my back clamps down.  I know this is a function of bike fit but I have never seemed to have any success relieving it at all.  Some days are just better than others.  This day was developing into one of the worst I had ever had.

At around an hour, I was pretty waxed and I fumbled around in my jersey pocket to find the sleeve of Cliff Shot Bloks I had stashed.  I pre-tear these when I use them to make it easy to eat on the move.  The jersey du jour had only one large zippered pocket.  The package caught on my cell phone and when I finally wrenched them free, the bloks shot forth like slippery little cannon balls!  I didn't have the presence of mind to stop the bike and pick them up.  Normally, that would have been out of the question but I was already so trashed, it might have been a good idea.  Later, when I rode past them again (and again), I deeply regretted the decision to leave them there.

I came to the first place that I could turn to do the planned small loops.  I made a decision to call the ride and head for home.  My back was screaming, it was close to 100 degrees, I could barely turn the cranks, the water in my bottle was blazing hot, I barely made it up the bigger hills as it was and the wind was picking up... and home was still a solid 40 mins away which would bring the ride to around two hours.  

On my way back, I stopped at a light.  I was pretty wobbly and the hill was steep, so I was rocking the bike back and forth (not intentionally).  I realized that the bike wasn't rolling. In fact, it was resisting me so strongly, that I couldn't make it move without a big effort.  Front brake check... good.  Back brake?  Oh WOW!!  At some point the back brake had clamped down and gotten stuck.  I had been riding with the brake on.  No wonder I was hurting.  I reached back before the light turned green and gave it a push, then stopped where it was safe and properly fixed it.

At that point, I wasn't far from the last place I could turn back and go for another loop, so I decided to go for it.  Sometimes if I commit to the task, I find the energy even when it seems like there's nothing left.  Turning at this point made the loop much bigger, possibly even bigger than three of the small loops.  Too bad I wasn't really up for it (remember those Shot Bloks?).  I got three quarters of the way through the second loop and when I turned towards the biggest hills, I turned around.  I knew deep down I wasn't going to make it to the top.  The pain in my back exceeded any kidney punch and it was robbing me of all my ability to generate power.  I was running 10-15 mph slower than usual on the flats and downhills.  Barely making it to the top of the climbs.  I was DONE, bonked, trashed, waxed... pick your colorful term.  I was also out of water.  

I had been going slower than usual and ran out of water early.  I didn't really consider this when I turned around.  Had I kept going I would have come to a gas station in a couple of miles.  Instead, by turning around I added miles to the route and it meant no place to stop and fill up.  I did finally get water at a store not far from home but by then I was already really dehydrated and the damage was done.  

Later that night I tried to swim.  With each push off the wall, my quads would seize up and my knee, still swollen and bruised from a fall (see this post) would get this lovely, exploding into pieces feeling.  Since that knee has already seen a surgeon's knife twice, it gets a certain amount of respect.  After an 800 yd warm up, I called it.  I got out, limped to the locker room and toweled off feeling more than a little dejected.  

I paid for this for days,  I tried to run the next day... not happening, not even a little.  I immediately developed a screaming headache and could barely lift my legs.  I logged 1.6 miles at 12:28 per mile... a true personal worst.  I could barely function, laundry may as well have been conquering Europe.  Tuesday night (Tuesdays are the days I don't get to sleep) was pure misery, Wednesday I slept ALL day!!  Thursday night I ran but only an easy run.  I ran out of steam quickly.  And tonight, I am looking at a weekend as busy as the last but with temps soaring up towards 105+.  (FWIW, they will reach nearly 110 by Tuesday.)  I realize that I sacrificed an entire weeks training to that busy week and that tragic ride.  

Enough about that and on to happier things.  I have a present coming.  It is almost my birthday and I have something special on it's way.  


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