…to see if I’m an eel?
Just kidding. Figured I shouldn’t lead with a picture of road rash, so here’s a shot from Cozumel first. It was Tuesday, not today, and it was mos def not intentional. Since we were camping at Krause Springs and had our pick of the days, we had saved our long bike ride for said morning as it looked like it would have the best weather. Of course, that all changed and instead it was super rainy.
Since humans are waterproof, we set out in the early morning anyway and had a fairly pleasant ride (even if I was grumbling about the hills a bit, they weren’t too bad). We planned an out and back on country roads and spent some unplanned time noodling around a new subdivision in the middle of nowhere. On the way back, I sped too fast over a bridge and I didn’t realize the water was over my wheel (it wasn’t on the way out) until too late and I fishtailed out, and went down sideways and slid to a stop.
I was a little shaken, but after a minute I realized two things: 1) I was in one piece and while I was bruised to hell, nothing was broken and 2) my road rash was really stingy and I knew it was gross from road grime. So, I got back on the bike quickly and we rode the 4-5 miles back to camp. Joel asked if I wanted to do another loop anyway, and I declined – I wanted to get my leg cleaned up and I wanted to assess the full scope of what my body was dealing with before pushing through. I could tell my adrenaline was still pumping even when I had to log onto work to give a quick presentation (yep, yep, more WFC), so my body definitely could have been hiding some worse injuries than it was letting on.
The rest of the week wasn’t great, but obviously could have been worse. I was able to help pack up camp and rested Wednesday. I took a walk on Thursday morning (Joel ran, I figured that was a bad idea for me) and my knees still felt icky and bruised after 30 mins of ambling around. So, I had a 3 day pity party where I grumbled about YET ANOTHER SETBACK, but today, I got my arse to the gym. I spent 30 rather quality minutes on a spin bike and swam 1800 yards (not quickly but I’ve done worse and distance PR for 2021, woot woot!). I’ve got a training plan and I’m going to actually follow it this week. It’s pathetic, but let’s list it out for posterity:
- Monday: 30 minute TT bike/2 mile run/walk brick, weights
- Tuesday: 1.5-2k swim
- Wednesday: weights/off
- Thursday: 3 mile run/walk
- Friday: 1.5-2k swim, weights
- Saturday: 30-40 mile road bike outdoors + 1 mile run/walk (if I can swing it)
- Sunday: off
I’ve got 11 weeks. I feel confident on the swim since I’m pretty much there at race distance, though I need to start getting in the lake at some point (that sounds like an August thing to me!). I feel confident I’ll be able to work up to the distance on my road bike, though I’m a little iffy riding on my tri bike in aero right now. I’m up to 20-25 mins so far. Next goal is to work my way up to an hour on the trainer and then go play outside on non-traffic-y or closed roads and work my way up to 3 hours there. The run is the biggest question mark and I just need to stop hurting myself (intentionally) so I can get out there and build some endurance and spend time on my feet without my back protesting too much.
This morning before my workout, I thought, “why have I lost my edge?” I used to LIVE for finding my limits, pushing myself to the point of puke, sweat, and tears, finding the bottom of my pain cave, and since 2020, I just can’t bring myself to do it. As I started my bike today, the answer came to me. It’s rough seeking out pain when I’ve been constantly in it with my back issues for almost the last year. Why would I go hunting the thing that’s there? So, I decided to pursue a little bit of it, just for nostalgia’s sake, just to try.
I realized another thing today, after hammering some previously pathetic but right now kind of impressive for me watts and dripping buckets of sweat on the bike: it’s not the same kind of pain. Self-inflicted training pain-for-progress feels so much different because it has the beautiful after-effect of pleasure (endorphins). I can assure you, waking up in the middle of the night and needing to grip the wall to slowly navigate your cranky body upright comes with exactly ZERO endorphins. Maybe negative endorphins, if that’s possible. So, I’ve been sorely missing the payoff even though I’ve been paying the price for months and months.
Swimming is improving, and running is a thing again, but I’m still building the strength and flexibility in both these sports to get to a point where my pace isn’t limited by my body’s muscular condition. It’s simply impossible for me to really breathe hard, my ME just won’t move that fast. However, cycling… this sport is the place where I seem to be able to possibly start hurting myself a little (intentionally and productively – not by crashing) again. So, I shall do just that and hope it will bleed over into the other two sports in the coming months.