Thursday, February 07, 2008

Simulation...tion...tion...tion

I don't talk about the bike all that much.

You guys probably think all I do is swim. And sometimes run. And occasionally fall off my Swiss Ball of Pain.

Mainly because I just don't tend to mention my bike time recently. I dunno why. I guess because lots of it is getting on and plugging away. Sometimes it's intervals of gears -- hard for a while, easier for a while, repeat until you're toast. Sometimes it's a series of efficiency drills -- spin for a while at at comfortable cadence, then for a while at a faster cadence, then for a while in a cadence that makes you feel like roadrunner on a fly wheel. Repeat until you're toast.

And don't get me wrong. I freaking LOVE all this bike training. Maybe that's why I don't write about it as much as the stuff that makes me crazy...like that lady at the pool, who was nasty to me, who I will never forgive for removing me from her aerobics lane to shiver on the deck waiting for another lane to open. She knew I wasn't with those meathead guys who would ruin her class, but she just had to threaten me with a foam bar bell. Wave it at me, like some aquatic equivalent of the middle finger. Somebody pull a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct in lanes 1-2.

I'm off topic again. Focus.

I've been doing a lot of biking. In fact, more biking than anything else. That's what happens when you tell your coach that it is (a) your limiter, and (b) your goal to fix.

Oh, and when you have (count them) THREE half iron distances in the race season. Oh...and when the first is in (oh, that's right) very early May. Not to mention the fact that a month later is your return to the hills of West Virginia...the race that tried to chew you up and spit you out. The one you have some serious plans for.

So, this is what happens.

She warned me.

Wednesday night, there I was in the trusty basement on my trusty new-ish bike, yet again spinning away watching Court TV (er...excuse me...Tru TV...the stupidest branding decision in the history of tv...whatever). But this time we were going to do a little simulation.

Simulation.

Sounds fun. I'm down for it.

Let's simulate some hills, shall we? As in, find a solid (no, seriously...a SOLID) base to raise the block for your front wheel something in the neighborhood of 6 inches. Yup, like those two boxes of unused tiles that were supposed to go on the basement floor last summer when we bought them in a frenzy of home improvement ideas, right around the time we were distracted by the kitchen project that (dare I say it?) still isn't done.

Focus.

Up goes the front wheel. On goes Able. Time for what my coach calls "Muscle Tension" intervals. 8 minutes on the biggest gear known to man (I mean, my bike) followed by 95+ spinning in a small one for 10. Repeat.

Let me ask you this...do you know how much harder that is when your bike is propped up to the heavens?? DO YOU KNOW? DO YA?

First my left ankle twinged. Left ankle. Whah? I never have any problems there. Now it's feeling funky. Next? Leetle itty bitty tendons in my knees and calves add to the chorus of reproach for my new lofty post. About an hour in, the coup de gras, was a full blown cramp across the bottom of my right foot. I could feel my toes curling under.

Thankfully, it all ended at 90 minutes and I happily hopped of my perched bike. And I was reminded that *I* was the one who picked an early season half, and *I* was the one who wanted to PR in West Virginia. So *I* was going to see a lot more of these in the future.

And you know what? I've decided I like the pain. No. Check that. I love the pain of things like this. How often -- in your life -- can you do something so tangible and so concrete towards a goal. I didn't have to extrapolate from a swim drill the benefits I would be getting later in my race stroke. I didn't have to estimate or approximate what the impact a recovery run will have on my 1/2 mary splits.

All I had to do to see the point was look down at my legs, grinding away in the biggest gear, and replace the image of my untiled basement floor with a West Virginia back road. Close my eyes and I could feel exactly what it will feel like doing that 45 minute grind up the first part of the mountain.

Training sessions like this are a gift from a coach. You don't need any gymnastics of the mind to realize exactly what you're putting in the bank during those 90 minutes. I didn't need to be a coach to know I was preparing to make the most of that mountain come June.

Most of the time our plans or our coaches (or our watches) -- especially this time of the year -- are telling us to slow down, pace ourselves, don't get too excited. And it's sometimes hard to hold back when you're visualizing strong finishes and pick ups around the competitor in front of you. But occasionally you get a chance to look down and find a pretty darn good approximation of what it will feel like to be out on the road again, tackling hills, racing at your best. And somehow that makes all the calf twinges and foot cramps worth it.

That is, if you have a couple boxes of unused tiles around.

8 comments:

Wes said...

Planning on kicking some ass this year? :-) I just did my first EVA thirty minute trainer ride, and it was rough! I needs more practice :-D

TrainingtoTri said...

Wooohooo you go woman!

AGA said...

Nice! You are going to trample those mountains! Note to elf: I'm jealous, but only a little so lets not get carried away.

GO ABLE!

Kim said...

ehm that does NOT sound fun but damn girl you are gonna crush those races courses this year! im jealous you are doing devilman HIM... most of my team is doing it, but nooo i dont have enough time for recovery before my june 8th HIM. damn it!

JenC said...

Sounds like a riteous workout - just what you need for Mountaineer. Keep up all the great work!

Tea said...

OMG...I so hope we don't race together. You would totally kick my butt. It's ok to be fast...just not in a race that I'M doing. k?

Genesis Multisport said...

Excellent! It's all about the pain!

And is your early-season half Wildflower (just guessing)?

Anonymous said...

GIDDY UP
-elf