Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Speed it up
I’ve been feeling really run down lately. Honestly, I think I’ve been training too hard. Way back when I only rode a mountain bike (and occasionally raced), I was just a little tired after a ride. Back around October of last year, I started training for the XTERRA Uwharrie. Up to that point I had never really trained for any kind of athletic event. I just sort of tried harder at an event, and occasionally stepped it up a bit on a ride or a run. Competing in (let alone finishing) a triathlon actually required some sort of training. I bought a book, entitled Your First Triathlon, by Joel Friel. I loosely followed some of the training plans that were listed in the book, and enjoyed a new level of fitness in the process. I started swimming, and I noticed improvements on a weekly basis. I actually did a little distance running too, instead of my usual “I think Ill run a 5K and suck at it this weekend.” I got into a routine, which consisted of regular swimming, running, and of course, mountain biking. I gradually increased the distances, and never had any issues. When it was time for the XTERRA, I was ready. I tapered off my training before the event (thanks to Joel Friel’s book), and finished my first off-road triathlon in about two and a half hours. I kept up my training after the event (after a short recovery period), and entered another off-road tri. I did the Recon Off-Road Triathlon and managed a third place finish in the Clydesdale division, even though I had a slight mishap on the swim portion of the event.
I decided to step up my training even more, since I noticed a definite increase in my mountain biking endurance. I bought a road bike, and I started to go on super-long rides, three days a week. In the Wednesday night Charlotte Mountain Bike Series races, I starting improving more and more each week. So naturally, I stepped it up again. I started neglecting my recovery time more and more, and eventually I was going all-out almost every day. It took me a while to figure out that I was doing too much, so I had to make a decision. I cut out the swimming for a while, for two reasons. First, the Aquatic Center was closed for two weeks for their annual maintenance, and second, I didn’t have any more triathlon events on the horizon. I cut back on the running too, because I knew my legs needed a break. I ran a 5k back in July, and I fared well, despite not running so much. Even with the decreased training volume, I was still hammering away on the road bike. I guess I was afraid of losing some of the bike fitness I had gained, so I was reluctant to cut out the road riding too.
Fast forward to present-day, my legs still feel like Jell-O. I felt guilty not competing in the Rivers Edge Mountain Bike Marathon this past weekend, even though I was on site to volunteer (as I usually do for the bigger events.) Just watching everyone give it all they had inspired me. I didn’t think I was ready, since I was training too hard and felt like doo-doo. It looks like I have no choice now. The summer series is winding down, and there are only five races left. Due to weather-related cancellations, I have to do these five events over the next two weeks (yay, make-up races!), instead of weekly. The good news is I won’t have much time to ride the road bike, even if I wanted to. Like race-promoter extraordinaire Neal Boyd put it, “You better eat your Wheaties.”
With all of the racing I’m trying to do, I still think I should try something bigger than cross-country racing and triathlons. To make up for my guilt, I have set a goal to compete in the Tree Shaker 12 hour mountain bike race in October. They have a six hour option, but I would rather find a teammate and do the longer race. Yeah, I know it will still probably be six hours for me even with a teammate, but this way I would get to do at least some laps at night.
With a little over a month to go, I should probably get my shit together.