Today was my first hard workout that wasn't a race since my FTP test four weeks ago. It was 3 x 15 sec. sprints, followed by 5 minutes in Zone 5b, repeated 3 times. It reminded me that I like riding hard, at least when I'm well-rested. I've always loved sprints, but even the 5 minute intervals gave me a pleasant sense of self-satisfaction when they were over. It occurred to me during this workout that with my love of skinsuits and sprints, that I would really like track racing. Too bad the nearest velodrome is about an hour and a half away.
I've always been kind of skeptical about the "runner's high" and other endorphin-related mythology. I've been contemplating this a lot lately, as movement/exercise is a component of my emotional "training plan" for the fall. Even with careful observation, I can say the average zone 1-2 ride does very little to elevate my mood. However, throw some lactic acid in the mix, and I'm suddenly a happy camper. Am I secretly more masochistic than I imagined? I'm kind of liking this.
All of this bodes well for the next couple of month's racing. During my free time this week, I signed up for a Training Peaks personal account. I like the freedom to make my own training decisions right now, but I also like having a calendar and electronic toys to play with. And I have been playing to my little heart's content. I already have my workouts planned through the last 'cross race on December 7th, although I'm sure a few changes will occur. In short, I won't be spending much time on the bike (~5 hours/week), but when I'm riding, I'll be riding hard. It's just the way it goes with the frequent and intense racing of 'cross season: race, recover, and repeat, as needed.
I think this could be a very good thing for me.