Not sure where that saying came from, but if the lemons are feeling run down, having a sore knee and a big event come up for the Saturday you had scheduled your second 100 mile ride, and lemonade is changing your peak week to recovery week instead, then ladies and gentlemen, I made lemonade this week. As a “self-coached” athlete I have both the joy and burden of making my own training schedule. The burden being that I can never be sure that what I’m doing is right and the joy in that I can change it however I please without wondering if my coach is going to be displeased or disappointed. I’m not sure what a coach would have said about my decision to change peak week to recovery week, but my body is sure loving it so I think it’s going to work out just fine.
As I mentioned in my previous week recap, I finished my 20 mile run (which yes, many argue you don’t even need to do so maybe that was my first mistake) feeling pretty crappy. I had a great 88 mile ride the previous day but my body just wasn’t happy about running over 20 miles the next day, especially a run that included multiple hills including a 1 mile hill at 6.5% grade. I didn’t, however, mention that after the 88 mile ride on Saturday my left knee cap was a bit tender. When I ran, it didn’t get worse, but I could definitely tell that something wasn’t right. I took it as a good sign that the pain didn’t seem to be aggravated by running 24.5 miles on it, but it probably wasn’t the smartest way to advance the healing process.
The week was already going to be unusual as Mike and I have to drive to LA on Friday night for an all day adventure on Saturday that I cannot discuss quite yet. The daydoes involve physical activity and I need to be rested, so I have to keep my rest day as is on Friday. We had thought we had to be in LA on Wednesday, so we took the day off but turns out that I was needed Saturday instead. So, Mike and I decided we’d make up our scheduled 100 mile Saturday ride on Wednesday instead. However, come Monday morning, my knee still hurt and I was really tired during Master’s Swim. The workout involved a lot of fast intervals and the last interval was a 400 “fast.” I had to go to the back of my lane and take it easy because I couldn’t physically get myself to push my body that hard for yet another fast interval (more than half of the main set of 2,700 yards had the word fast in it). I decided right then and there that Monday night would be an easy night.
Monday at work my knee continued to ache and when I got home, Mike informed me that his achilles, which had been hurting during his 20 mile run, was still sore. We both decided that our bodies were sending us a signal – REST. So, we decided right then and there to make this week a recovery week rather than try to jam our 100 mile ride in during the week and stress ourselves out. Tuesday morning I went to the gym on my own to do some swimming and I could tell that my decision was the right one – I was feeling sluggish. That night, I went out for a run of an undetermined length (schedule said 8, I rationalized 6) and within 1 mile determined that it would be only 4 miles. Although my knee felt absolutely fine, my legs felt like concrete, weighing me down. My pace was ungodly slow and my mind just kept wishing that the run was over. I came home and skipped my planned Ab Ripper and stretched and foam rolled for a solid 20 minutes, something I should be doing every day but rarely do.
We decided to take a mental health day with our vacation day Wednesday and instead of slogging through 100 hilly miles as planned, we slept in (10.5 hours for me!), walked to get coffee, lazily enjoyed it, and then went out for a leisurely 40 mile bike ride along the coast. As soon as we got on the road I knew that turning this week into a recovery week was absolutely the best thing I could have done. My legs felt light and fresh and my mood was improved. The ride seemed SO short and when we returned, we felt good enough to do P90X Ab Ripper and some push-ups and pull-ups. We then showered, had lunch at our favorite hippy mexican food restaurant that is usually closed by the time we get off the bikes at 3 or 4 p.m., ran some errands and headed over to Mike’s parents house to go in the pool and jacuzzi, sip mai tais and BBQ. It was glorious.
The overachiever in me is disappointed that I won’t have time to get in my 2nd 100 mile bike ride, but I am reassuring myself that I am more than ok with just the one. I’ve already gotten in 7 rides of 70 miles or more, five of which were on routes with a similar or harder elevation profile to that of CdA. Depending on how we feel, we will probably get in a solid 65 miler on Monday and then about 75 or 80 miles the following weekend. I am VERY new cyclist with less than 11 months of experience, so my biggest concern since I signed up for this race has been the bike portion. I have no worries about my preparedness for the swim or run, other than of course surviving a black eye or broken nose during the mass swim start or suffering GI issues during the marathon, but the bike has always been the most intimidating in terms of fitness requirements. I think I would have done more damage than good trying to cram this week full of hard workouts and I have to just trust in everything I have done up to this point. One month from today, all this hard work is going to pay off and it won’t matter whether I rode 100 miles one time or ten times when I cross that finish line.
What signs to you use to decide when to revise your plan or just push through it? What is your favorite way to recharge your batteries?