Recovery week. It's one of those times I realize the benefits of having a coach. After last week's race in Calgary, my body felt surprisingly good. On Monday, Bryan and I made the 8-hour drive back to Spokane (Nine Mile Falls), opting to knock it out in one day rather than take two. If we accomplished nothing else, we allowed my mother the opportunity to sleep in her own bed one day sooner than previously planned. (House-sitting at the Rowe household is not for the faint of heart.) Yet I'll proffer a second achievement. I didn't find myself trying to run an "easy" run the day after my race.
I've made the mistake of attempting an easy workout, namely a run, the day after a race. In the end, it cost me the benefits of what a recovery week is supposed to supply. This past week, however, I feel I've upheld my "coachable athlete" status, following Derek's suggested return to activity to a "T."
This morning, the hour and a half bike ride I had scheduled lacked specific details. I know Derek well enough to know this meant I was to ride by feel. Since no "easy" or "100 watts and NO MORE" suggestions filled my Comments box, I opted for 9 x 3 minute intervals at 93% of FTP (functional threshold power). Given that I'd successfully run 4 hill repeats yesterday without any subsequent pain anywhere, I likely wasn't too far off the mark. Maybe? My massage on Wednesday by Elements at Wandermere pretty much smoothed everything out and left me confident (relatively speaking) that I could muster a challenge today.
I'm glad I did it. In fact, instead of 9 intervals, I seemed to have lost my mind somewhere and finished 13 of them. When you wake up at 0400 in the morning and embark upon a challenge, past experience has told me not to discount the impossible. Just make sure you have had a cup of coffee and hopefully that PWP (pre-workout poop.)
In this first week of recovery, but also in this week of preparation for one last push toward my goal race this year, I have made a point to focus on three key elements. First, my muscle imbalances throughout my hips and core appear to have improved since CDA 70.3, but still require some significant attention. My afternoons and evenings, upon returning home from work and then again after dinner, generally involve a lot of time on the floor with hairy dogs and mewing cats. They all love to serve as my cheerleaders.
Second, I have some serious work to do on my feet. As long as my muscles all work together, my running time and form can use some focused effort. I'm fairly confident my running this year has not been nearly as consistent, nor rigorous, enough to make me a worthy contender in any of these races. Yet.
Finally, Bryan suggests (kindly and carefully) that my bike split times might significantly improve if I pay a little attention to my power-to-weight ratio. Essentially, he has told me I need to lose some weight. So it has been with great disdain that I have officially divorced the dessert. We have separated for 4 weeks now. I've had only marginal success. My new relationship with water and raw vegetables (instead of cooking them) is supposed to make me feel more full. I haven't felt full for weeks.
In the end, I've committed to finding strength to better embrace my runs. Seeing Bryan in his recliner eating ice cream by the spoonful (from the carton, no less) is something I've not yet fully wrapped my head around. Doesn't he understand the importance of portion control?
"Because I can," he reminds me. "I have, like, 6% body fat, remember?"
Sure thing, buddy. Sure. Thing.
Excuse me while I go find myself a carrot. Oh yes, and some water. A lot of water.