I’m happy to say that on our bunch ride today, I found out that the only other person silly enough to ride in the atrocious weather last Saturday, was just as miserable a me at the end of the ride. Jamie is an experienced cyclist who has taught be everything I know about road cycling. He said he was the coldest he has ever been at the end of the ride. Rather than standing at the door and pathetically calling for help when he got home, had had to take some time to blow on his hands to warm then enough to unzip a pocket to remove his house keys.
I wrote the previous paragraph two weeks ago. Time flies when you’re having fun. Since then I’ve had a much appreciated recovery week, with only two swims in my programme. Given the option of swimming with my coach OR doing my own thing, I opted for the latter. The same time was involved, but with a little less stress. Swimming after work rather than at 5.30 a.m. was a pleasant change and I managed to do some 1km straight swims. It’s hard to believe that in four months time I’ll being doing 4km straight. There’s plenty of hard work to do between now and then.
My gym programme has been altered and I’m going for heavier weights and less reps to build strength. I had a quick session with a PT last week, just to makes sure that I was using the correct technique and that I was lifting heavy enough weights; I wasn’t. So, I guess I will be feeling sore the day after gym sessions from now on.
The feet. It’s still a little of two steps forward and one back, but I feel as though I’m getting there. I think I ‘ve read everything there is to read on plantar fasciitis, and done all that I can, apart from seeing a specialist. Once conclusion I did come to, after all of the reading and the prompting from my friends Stef., was that my minimalist running shoes may be the reason for my plantar fasciitis and also the reason why the recovery has been so long, despite being so disciplined about doing exercises, icing, taping, rolling etc. Six months before I noticed the heel pain, I changed to minimalist shoes. Just over a week ago I began wearing my old running shoes during the day. The morning pain and twinges have decreased markedly. One thing I am certain of, is that I will continue to foam roll my calves and soleus muscles long after my feet are completely healed. I don’t ever want to have this problem again.
A marathon on a bike… That’s what yesterday’s Bunch Ride felt like. The post-ride feelings were just what I have experienced after running a marathon and today I actually slept in, had breakfast and went back to bed for a bit. The 154 km ride was partially in preparation for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge on November 29th. The last 40 km was a killer as I expected it would be, because my biggest ride before that was last Saturday at 108km. On the positive side, the Taupo ride is the same distance as yesterday, but the elevation gain is over 1000m less, so it should be an easier ride.
I have four months in which to do sufficient training to run a marathon after a ride 30km longer than I did yesterday. What that tells me is that the SERIOUS training is still to come. Fortunately the workload at work will decrease markedly in about ten days, just in time for the really hard training to begin.
My next challenge, and one of the biggest for me, will be swimming in open water. Because I like to know what I’m in for, I watched some brave swimmers taking their first swims of the season in Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake) two weeks ago. With a 2 degree morning yesterday, I’m still not prepared to say when I will take my first plunge. It’s not just the cold water that I’m balking on. I tried to swim in the pool in my wetsuit a couple of weeks ago, and was not expecting the claustrophobic feeling of having the wetsuit tight around my chest. I’m told it will be something I will get used to. The sooner that is done the better.
November is going to be a month of new experiences and challenges: open water swimming (in a wetsuit), my first BIG cycling event, my first triathlon and running off the bike (assuming that my feet are fully recovered). I’m ‘warily excited’.