Monday, October 24, 2005

Low-Volume Weekend

With my hip and IT band no longer aching, I decided to keep the volume low this weekend and just take things easy until I could see the PT. So Saturday morning I did an hour on the elliptical trainer followed by an hour on the bayou trails. Other than some asthma, I felt pretty good, but I didn't want to push my luck so I didn't let myself get tempted to run longer.

Sunday I went for a bike ride with Dan and his friend Neal. I almost didn't go because I was so short of breath in the morning. Stupid fall allergies! I went up to the maximum on all my meds and tossed back two cups of super-extra-strong coffee. By the time Neal arrived I practically needed to be scraped off the ceiling and I was needing go to the bathroom every ten minutes, but hey, my lungs were clearing and that's what mattered.

We drove to Tom Bass Park in Pearland and followed part of the route used by the annual winter West University Warm-Up ride. As far as routes go, it's pretty good except for the last ten miles, which is through a busy business area and along a freeway.

It was a beautiful day to be out riding-- sunny and cool as if the weather gods had suddenly remembered us after all and decided to give us a little taste of what people in other climes take for granted before the gray rainy days of winter set in. Dan hadn't ridden since the little 31-miler we did on the Fourth of July, so I was surprised when at mile 17 we turned into a headwind and he picked up the pace. Call me crazy, but my ride philosophy is to not go sprinting into headwinds until the last 10-20 miles of a ride, when I know I've got plenty in the tank to see it through to the end. But Neal seemed to think Dan was issuing some sort of a challenge and I finally got irritated with both of them for turning up the volume so early like that. I was even more annoyed when we turned out of the wind and they both slowed down to 16. What was that all about? So I passed them, cruised a few miles at a comfortable 19-20 mph and waited for them at the store that marks the halfway point.

I stuck with the guys for a little bit after that because I wasn't completely certain of the route, but once we were on the long straightaway that would take us almost to the park entrance, I went out on my own again. We were back into the wind at this point and still fifteen miles to go, so I settled in for a long dull session of battling gusts, watching for road kill and waiting for the overpass that would mark the entrance into the dangerous business district.

Once beyond the overpass I slowed down because there were more cars to watch out for and the shoulder quality wasn't as good-- lots of bumps, gravel and debris. I also wanted to give the guys a chance to catch up. And finally Neal sprinted up to my shoulder and told me to pull over at the next gas station. I looked behind me and yes, Dan was back there, but I knew something must not be right if we were stopping now, with only about seven miles to go.

As it turned out he was exhausted and had a nasty hamstring cramp.

And that, gentle reader, is why it is a bad idea to sprint into a headwind at mile 17.

I followed Dan for a couple miles after we left the gas station, just to make sure he was going to be okay. But once we were out of the business district and onto the feeder road with the park just a few miles up, I pulled ahead of him. Neal and I had a good hard ride the rest of the way to the park in the increasingly blustery morning and Dan hung in not far back. He's lucky to have so much natural talent on the bike. I can train and train and train and he can still match or come close to what I can do with no training whatsoever. It would be discouraging if I were the sort to look at it in that light.

We had a nice rest of the day. I bought us some deli food from Central Market, we took a nap, we went for an evening walk at Memorial Park and watched a movie. I would've liked to have done more marathon-specific training this past weekend, but I've succeeded in loosening my hip up a little bit (it makes fancy popping sounds now) and I just keep reminding myself that training myself into a ruptured tendon isn't going to help matters.

So why do I feel like such a slacker?

Recent Workouts
Saturday: 1 hour elliptical, 1 hour run
Sunday: 50 mile bike, 3 mile walk


William said...

I'll bet you could have ridden farther, faster though. Don't forget your effort level was probably different. He must have been pushing it hard to cramp.

And recovery time is another thing. You are probably ready to go again while Dan is/was probably sore.

Comm's said...

its motivating to see you posting such consistant endurance workouts over the weekends.