Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Racing the Terminator T-1000

Coach has a new game to play. It’s called let’s try out the Computrainer 10mile TT race course with no warm up. Woohoo! Coach’s new toy is courtesy of some of his coaching arrangements, so I get to be a guinea pig in testing it out. So Coach set it up, plugged in all the wires, booted up the laptop, completed the rider data and hit Go! 1 km in I mentioned I’d not done any warm up ie Oh by the way… where is my warm up?? (I was eyeing off the gradient graph at the bottom of the screen and could see ouchsville looming fast). Well, you’re late for your start, was the reply. And then: you had your warm up when we calibrated the bike. O yeah.. I remember: That was the bit where I was pedalling like crazy and the handset kept saying “UP”. Change gear, keep pedalling like crazy. UP! Demands the handset; more pedalling, bigger gear. UP! What MORE??!! Ok ok… pedal pedal pedal. Sheesh, no sympathy for the sick woman!

So off I go, pedalling against the liquid metal cyborg from Terminator #478. He drafts off me – sneaky cheek! Then I get to draft off him, and then, the little metal man takes off – bastard! After 5 km I decide to settle in and just ride the thing, but there is this little bit of agitation niggling at the back of my head, like a rat scratching to get out, knowing the metal cyborg terminator man is in front of me and gaining time. Not happy, being beaten by a cartoon man, and legs that will only work so far. But I was working harder than I have done in the previous month, and didn’t fall off the bike/trainer. That's gotta be good. If my body was up to it, I would have run a repeat. I want one! Terminator show-down looming for the future! Ergo is going to be very boring after this....


Tuesday, 29 July 2008

On the come back

Training is slowly heading towards a more normal routine and output. I’m sneaking in a few efforts here and there, and gave myself a bit of a tester on Saturday, which I think blew me out for Sunday unfortunately. But it won’t be long before we can ramp intensity up again, plus volume, and get fully back on track.

Saturday I had an excellent session in the A Go Go Shed, back to pre-virus levels. Even though these sessions are strenuous (gotta love those stiff, brittle hammies for the next day or two) I came away feeling energised. I finished the session jumping on and off the bench box. I was really keen to do this, and was stoked when Marty said, come on Lawrence, let’s jump on the box! Last time was on my birthday and it was a pitiful struggle. This time I easily PBed my jump reps, and had to be dragged off the box kicking, I was having so much fun. Earlier, poor Mr Legs wasn’t too happy when I threw away the medicine ball we’d been passing between us in disgust: “It’s not heavy enough Marty, we need the bigger one!” Mr Legs groaned and rolled his eyes “Marty, get her under control!” as Marty handed me the ball with his trademark cheeky grin. I think Mr Legs still wishes I was totally viral!

We finished Saturday’s training off with a cruise along the Eastern Bike Path and a lap of the Boulie. It probably wasn’t a good idea in hindsight: I saw hills, and a chance to test what I’ve lost and where I am at. Happily, the hills weren’t a major issue, although I didn’t do any big chain ring riding, as I would normally on the Boulie. Fortunately I kept leaving an over-A Go Goed Mr Legs behind on the hills, which gave me the opportunity to stop and wait at the top (ie rest and get my HR down) for him to catch me up. I had a sweet moment rolling up “Challenge Hill”: about midway, sitting on a cruisy and very comfortable 18kph, I turned to find Mr Legs on my wheel. So I kicked up the rpms by a couple of revs, brought my speed up to 20kph in a few strokes and after 20 metres checked behind me again. I had expected Mr Legs to still be there. He wasn’t. I think he actually rolled back down the hill a bit. Ooops.

Sunday was a write-off after, in hindsight, overtaxing myself on Saturday. So lesson learnt: take it easy, don’t get overconfident yet, take that afternoon weekend nap and bugger the housework, eat when hungry (and I was hungry all of Saturday), remember the protein shakes, go to bed before the overtired headache starts. IE be patient gwasshopper.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Don't Stand on My Dog

Quote of the week: Don't stand on my dog, or I cut your head off!

Cadel Evans in the media throng after stage 15.

Happy

Three days training in a row. That's the first time in many weeks. Going for day 4 tonight. Happy? YES!

Bloods back and reviewed by the doctor on Monday show a couple of viruses have been visiting, including EB, plus some vitamin/mineral/amino acid deficiencies. So training is still a day by day thing, but looking better as the days go by, and improving each week (which isn't hard considering!). Trying to work out why, I think it boils down to a mild virus to start with in May, plus an increase in training load by adding the strength and conditioning, and not supporting that increase with diet and recovery. Basically, I let myself get a bit run down, despite feeling really good (invincible), and didn't recognise it (because I was feeling really good/invincible).

11 weeks tils Worlds. The next 6 weeks will be testing: 1) to regain fitness and strength lost, plus add on the bits we needed to add on at this point anyway and 2) getting my body through it all without any relapse. Fortunately we have some strategies in place for # 2 (and #1 as well, but that goes without saying!), based around diet, sleep, and general recovery. I'd love a part-time job that pays full-time but I don't think it will happen anytime soon. I have a funny feeling the next 11 weeks may well be the toughest training I'll have ever done. Coach, bring it on! (but let's start next week??)

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

A little bit of culture

I’m still in not-in-full-training mode, so Mr Legs and I did something quite rare over the weekend – we went to the movies! Between the two of us, we have a few pairs of freebie tickets, as a result of services rendered to cycling, and being special employee of the moment. Finally, on Saturday, an opportunity presented to use them (rain,wind, freezing cold, classic winter in Melbourne), so we took ourselves off to see the latest Batman movie at the local Cineplex. Christian Bale was as boring and flat as ever, trying to be terribly intense but instead managing an excellent impersonation of, well, a cardboard cut out. Thank holy card decks, Batman, for Heath Ledger, who added colour and a touch of brilliance to the movie, and was a real pleasure to watch. The movie is long, but the action and pace carries that time pretty well. Overall I enjoyed it, and loved the goth noir-ness of it all, which is what 21st century Batman movies are about.

On Sunday we saw something a little different to Saturday’s fare: Wicked, or as the tickets indicated “Broadway’s Wicked”. This is important. It took me a while to work out what was with all the American accents. When Glinda the Good comes out with a whiney, nasal Bronx accent, something just doesn’t feel right in the ear. Apart from that one grating element, the show was lush and lavish and smart and clever. Mr Legs and I were sitting in a row of escaped Sex in the City fans, sipping Ozmopolitans from flashing green martini glasses, which made the whole production even more entertaining, and the seating row smell like a trendy cocktail bar.
Very Wicked indeed!

I topped off a weekend of Culture by watching the dvd Tideland yesterday. Don’t believe what Rotten Tomatoes says, it was fascinating and visually stunning and entertaining, if a little warped. Just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Time to Feel Good

Full of Vitamin C juicy goodness. As the site says: time to feel good!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Of Big Chain Rings and French Champs

I had a little morale booster last night on the ergo in Coach's shed. Why am I still going to ergo when all I am doing is rolling over the pedals in my viral state? To catch up on any goss with Coach of course! And… to make sure I don’t whimp out on a workout. About 20 minutes into the session, I started to get hot, really hot. So hot that as I stripped off the outer layers I was wondering if I was having a pre-menopausal hot flush, considering how freezing the air temperature actually was. 5 minutes later, I was still hot, sweat rolling off me, and my legs were beginning to feel tired. I was struggling to get my rpm over 95. O oh, I thought, here we go, the beginning of the end of this session. Then I looked down. At the big chain ring. And at the chain running over the big ring. I had a bit of a chuckle, a sigh of relief, and realised that I must be slowly getting over this virus for it take so long for me to notice the size of the gear I was pedalling. I gave myself another 5minutes then dropped it onto the small chain ring and finished off the hour pedalling over 100rpm. In reality I wasn’t pushing tall gears, but a week ago I couldn’t have done what I did last night. So I am hoping it won’t be much longer (next week?) before I am getting back into some effective training (and training more than 2 days in a row without having to take a recovery day), and I can start thinking about the next few months training, rather than 1) am I going to be able to make it through the current easy ride and 2) will I feel ok tomorrow?

In other news: Longo wins another national title, this time on the track in the Individual Pursuit. When an older cyclist dominates in such a way, it begins to make you wonder how could that be? Sure Longo is an immensely talented and dedicated athlete, but her capacity for winning this year is beginning to make me question the standard of her native competition. Smack me and call me a cynic if you like! It is easy to slip into the stereotyping of older women, and as a masters athlete, I should know better!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Something to Think About

Courtesy of Liz Reap's Living the Dream blog:

Do you have what it takes to train twice a day, at the right intensities, and with the right people? To put cycling first, above everything else, plan out the year, and give up all sorts of things you love? To create proposals, make phone calls, do what it takes to get on the best equipment? Will you stretch, rest, sleep enough and make time for friends and family. Will you work at eating the best food and learn to do without-all in the name of winning bike races?

"Is it in you?" pretty much covers it all.

Grumpy and Over It

It’s been a quiet week on the blogging front because, well, there’s no point boring you with tales of my ongoing grappling with a virus, and little training done. Needless to say, it’s tedious, I’m over it, and am now in the process of blood testing, doctor’s advice (ie rest, stay off the bike, it will pass) blah blah.

It’s now been 3 weeks, which means I am 3 weeks closer to Worlds, with 3 weeks of training blown out the window. What a freakin’ waste of time. Time that was needed to finish off my strengthening block, time needed to continually improve endurance and aerobic capacity. Worlds are now 13.5 training weeks away. I’m getting antsy, frustrated, swinging from being totally over the whole cycling thing to being desperate to get back on the bike again to start working seriously hard again.

And in the end, there’s nothing I can do about it til this little alien visitor has spent itself running amok and partying in my cells, or my body tells it to bugger right off. The hard bit is working out if feeling good on the day means that the virus thing has actually gone, or, well, I’m just feeling good from rest. So currently I’m damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.