Specifically: came upon a longest, at the time, combined weekend to date (three weekends ago) – 90 mile Saturday on the bike, 18 mile Sunday run. On Saturday, rode from Lost Creek/360 up through Arboretum over and up to Parmer, rode Parmer and then some more Parmer, and then headed back – at the Arboretum 80 miles in, with only 360 back to Lost Creek. A difficult, but not unusually so ride up to that point – sunny, humid, windy, rolling hills – pretty par for the course this summer. Well once back onto 360 heading south, bonkety. bonkety. bonk. Legs were gone, just drug myself back. But riding 360 South after 80 miles of sunny, humid winds, not surprised to struggle.
The long run on the following Sunday, also about par for the course, well closer to a bogey. Two ~9 mile loops on the road, hot, humid, rolling hills. First loop, okay. Second loop – “what’s that, I can’t hear you over concert that is the sound of my feet dragging across the scalding concrete harmonizing with my inner whine?”
Long story short, sure, sure – tough weekend, it happens. And then the new week began…gone, all the confidence I had been squirreling away, one little jewel at a time over the preceding weeks, all of the strength I had begun to feel in my legs and engine, all of the calm determination that I had been using to fuel my steady effort to strive for consistency. Gone. Emotions all over the place, uncontrollably, yes even, uhm, eye sweat (that’s code for weepy workouts). Days passed in this week, and still the legs would not come back.
And I came to discover my dear training friend to be experiencing a similar sort of week. Somehow this was comforting. Talking it over, it was clear that despite eating seemingly all of the time, and avoiding staying up too, too late – still not enough food and sleep. Next weekend came, regrouped, let go of as much of the anxiety I was carrying I could, and attacked it with an invigorated commitment to fueling and recovery. I never would have believed I would find myself needing to eat when I had already eaten enough throughout the day so that I was full, and did not want another bite. But I did. And I napped, and went to bed early. And then handily rocked that weekend, 100 miles in the saddle on Saturday and 20 miles on the trail on Sunday, felt spectacular, had giddie-up to spare. It worked. And I recovered, although I must admit I’m a still a tad gun-shy, fearful of a repeat appearance of such a week.
All who have gone down this path have said, “the bottom will drop out.” Not to be dramatic… this was, to put it into perspective, merely a training set back, moody emotional moment(s). But, wow. It for me was the real deal, these were moments that were tough to shake off, I suspect in some part in light of the significant amount of work that is yet to be done and the hope that goes with working so hard towards a goal. It was, for me, a new appreciation of the degree to which these physical challenges are inexorably linked to the mental and emotional landscapes.
Note to self: I will not sabotage my own aspirations and ability with self-doubt.