Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sometimes, it's just not there

Yesterday morning was simply gorgeous. It was so beautiful that the thought of being indoors on the trainer was unbearable so I decided to hit the road for a quick 1 hour ride/workout. This is doable since I don't have to be into the office until 9:00 and I only live about 15 minutes from work.

At around 6:30 I start getting ready. The only question, after deciding what kit to wear, is what type of intervals do I want to ride. I have been having fun getting a little faster so I decide on speed intervals. Since it will be a short ride, I select a high intensity set of intervals. Basically, you warm up and do internals of 30, 60, 90, 60, and 30 seconds flat out with the same amount of recovery after each. If you have the Michael Barry book, Fitness Cycling, it is workout S5. If you don't have this book, get it!

On the road, I start spinning in the middle ring to warm up. As I am riding, I realize that this is my first time on the bike this week although I have had a couple of great runs. As I keep turning the pedals and warming up I also realize the traffic seems very light so I change my route and head for Annadel State Park. There is a road leading to the park, Channel Drive, that is flat and completely car-free. In other words, perfect for speed intervals.

Now I am watching the stopwatch on my cyclometer. I planned on a 10 minute warm up so at 9:30 into the ride I start to lift the cadence. At 9:45, I shift to big ring and come out of the saddle. At 10 minutes, right on time, I am hammering the pedals as I start the first 30 second interval. And 10 seconds later I am back in the saddle, back in the middle ring and wondering what the hell just happened?

That was because I had nothing in the legs. In fact, they were very soar around the knees. So I try to figure out why I'm so fatigued. Could it be the 127 miles I put in last weekend? Could it be the PR I set on my run the day before? Perhaps it's the fact that on Thursday I ran a workshop for 130 people and spent a good part of the day setting up tables and chairs. Or maybe, just maybe, my legs are mad at me because 30 minutes ago they were propped up on an ottoman while I was drinking coffee and reading about the Giro d'Italia.

With no real reason to push it, I settled into a more leisurely ride and enjoyed the beauty of the morning. After about 30 minutes I finally managed to spin out the soreness and I did get in one decent time trial interval on the way home.

I know we have all had the days. Those days when the legs just won't respond. Sometimes there's an obvious reason (I am blaming this on the tables and chairs) and sometimes there's not. What's my advice when it happens? When I was younger I would tell you to fight through it. But these days, I think you should just roll with it, enjoy the scenery and, in the words of Paul Sherwin, live to fight another day.


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