Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back on the Horse

Sunday's triathlon was a great checkpoint along my path to IMAZ; I'm glad I raced and had a chance to see the payoff of all my hard training.  I'm far from completely recovered (more from the wreck than the race itself) but that doesn't mean I'm not still following my path. 

Long before what happened on Sunday Coach had planned a rest day for Monday, which I gladly observed.  Tuesday it was back to the grind as I slogged through another tough (but fun) hills workout; it was far from painless but I put in some good work nonetheless.  

Wednesday morning though, was another story: with regret I had to bag my swim workout.  Instead of jumping into the pool I hit the weight room for some shoulder and upper body exercises (luckily over the winter I picked up Strength Training for Triathletes which has some decent triathlon-specific exercises). Rather than any major strength training, I focused on loosening up my shoulder (specifically trying to break up the tight, healing skin) and used mild resistance to simulate swimming motions. 

I’m always disappointed to have to skip a workout but if I have to miss one, better that it is a swim.  It seems counter intuitive that I’d be alright with missing a workout in my weakest sport but for now the swim is still something I feel I just need to get through.  I’m certainly getting faster and stronger in the water but I really just need to survive the swim and I’m starting to feel pretty good about my ability to swim the 2.4 miles (despite not having ever swam more than 1.5 miles).  On the other hand, biking and running are where I feel that I continue to make the largest gains and are what will make or break me in Arizona.  Plus I have neither ridden near 112 miles or run close to 26.2 and my long rides and runs are key to my reaching Ironman distances.

In preparation for last night’s interval bike ride I took a quick trip during lunch to buy a new helmet.  I figured that my previous skull cap (which was only about 2 months old) did a good job saving my brain so I bought the exact same one.  

My first bike ride since the wreck (not counting my adrenaline-driven ride during the race) was a weird one.  I’d consider myself to be a fearless rider (both on my bicycle and my motorcycle), but that's not to be confused with being reckless.  As a result of a minor accident (being hit by a very slow moving car) when I was young, a brush with a minivan in college, and riding amid Miami’s fantastic drivers, I am hyper alert of vehicular traffic (uh oh, my old planner lingo is slipping out).  I'm also an assertive rider: I never shy away from using hand signals (most of them courteous) and have been known to give a loud "OY" to make my presence known.  The unforgettable story of my sister being attacked by a single pinecone (which I think knocked her off her bike) also reminds me to always pay close attention to the roadway and any obstacles in my path (made much more difficult by the aero position).  

Back to my ride: I can’t remember the last time I felt so uncomfortable on a bike.  I felt like every crack in the road was trying to attack my tires and launch me from my saddle.  It took awhile, but after at least 30 minutes of ├╝ber-cautious riding I began to relax and was able to put my accident out of my mind.  For the remainder of the ride I was still a bit jumpy but by the time I clipped in this morning I was riding free and easy again.  I had a good ride this morning and an even better run tonight.  I feel like I'm turning the corner in my recovery and I'll be able to put last weekend's little snafu in the history books.

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