Monday, February 1, 2016

That Not-So-Fresh Feeling

In my last post, I discussed doing things that I am bad at. Since then I’ve taken a couple of weeks’ break and put my brain power toward reconnecting with the things I’m good at work. I’ve also discovered two new things that I’m bad at: 1) Descending in snow. 2) Recovery.

Sometimes you get that not-so-fresh feeling, but don't let anyone tell you that douche is the answer.

The first item I discovered having finally gotten to use my fat bike for fat biking purposes the last two weekends. I would say that it’s harder than I thought, but I think I just forgot how hard I expected it to be when we went so long without snow. Riding uphill is about what I expected, but the out-of-control descending is not. I guess I thought it would be like racing ‘cross in mud, but with the added advantage of super-wide tires. However, snow/slush behaves very differently and I’ve found myself on the ground a lot the last two Sundays, but luckily I’ve been going slowly and/or landed in a pile of snow. I’m still sporting more bruises than I ever have in January, though. I also must admit that, despite my frustration with the second item (recovery), I’m still probably sporting the best fitness that I ever have in January, as well.

The closest Rothrock gets to #ridegroomed.

Since getting to a pretty dark place with binge eating at the end of the year, I’m now over four weeks “clean”. Since abstaining from food entirely is not an option the way it is with drugs and alcohol, “clean” means that I’ve been sticking to a set of rules to keep potential “abusive” eating reigned in. This means that at work I eat only homemade leftovers for lunch and maybe a snack of pistachios in the afternoon if I’m hungry. I’m allowing myself one restaurant dinner per week where the only rule is don’t order something that I know will make feel gross afterward (example: French fries are cool, but an entire entrée of fried crap is not.) One beer a week is allowed, too. Basically, I’m trying to draw a reasonable line between orthorexia and junk food free-for-all to approximate where people who have a healthy relationship with food stay naturally.

As a result of sticking to these rules, I’m starting to see bones and muscles that I haven’t seen in a while, but I’m still weeks away from letting myself onto a scale, as I don’t need any bad news tripping me up. The plan is to stick to rules for as long as practically possible, so that when life inevitably requires deviation from them, I have the resiliency to get back on track quickly. Ideally, I’ll get to a place where being potential overeating situations no longer causes me anxiety, but that might be a while.

The structure in my eating and structure in my training go hand-in-hand, just as they also tend go off the rails together when they do. I’ve been doing quite well at getting two weeknight weight workouts and two weeknight interval sessions on the trainer since returning from winter break. I started January with the grand plan of two trainer interval workouts, two weight workouts, two easy rides, and one long, race-specific ride per week. With a 100-miler coming up in the summer, I wanted to push my boundaries of both work capacity and ride frequency. I also knew that my body had not handled that kind of workload for a looong time, so I would have to be patient and feel out what it was actually capable of while working towards that goal.

I started the intervals at a very low volume and kept easy rides to true one hour, strict heart rate ceiling enforced recovery days. Still I have not managed a decent long ride since Marty’s Fat 50, when I had barely begun training after winter break. I guess I still had some fitness from the long rides that I did in December, but was still fresh from holiday rest. Then I went out and blew myself up for 4 hours, came home, and immediately jumped into a rigorous training plan. Since then, a lot of the planned easy rides have become complete rest days, and I’m still not feeling recovered enough to ride long and hard on the weekends. It’s the tough call between laying a good foundation for the summer and trying to perform well at the February fat bike races.

Now I’m looking at going into an 80-mile fat bike race on Sunday no rides over 25 miles in four weeks. To be fair, 25 miles with 2700 feet of climbing on a fat bike in soft slush is not nothing, but it’s also not 80 miles, either. Thankfully, we’re in for definitely flat and probably snow-free trails for the weekend. Do I know deep down that I’m still capable of riding that long even though I haven’t done so lately? Yes. Do I feel confident with no recent blazing long rides under my belt? No. I will definitely be riding to finish rather than racing for places on Sunday, but based on the pre-reg list, the series has already been whittled to four women, so any finish will still be an improvement in my standing.

I think Marty’s proved that fresh is greater than fit for these long races, so I’m going to do my best to rest up this week. February is when all of the structure I laid out in January will be tested. Three races in four weeks means a lot more meals eaten away from home and erring on the side of training less to be fresh without skipping workouts just out of laziness. I’ll admit this all makes me a little anxious, but I’ve been looking forward to these February races for months. Hopefully with some self-awareness and support I can make it through February stronger and more confident than I am now.

1 comment:

Joe Biker said...

Good luck Lindsay. Been a while since I read your blog. Like your little rule. One of mine is always pack 3 raw fruits and 3 raw veggies in my lunch.