Friday, October 10, 2008

The Week of the Mad Dog

I woke up on Monday morning after the Wairarapa race with surprisingly fresh legs, but with a muscle strain in the area of my upper left hamstring/glute. Did that stop me? Not likely. I was up at 6am and off to the gym. I wanted to do a circuit workout and so that's mostly what I did, although I was thwarted somewhat by the 6.50 a.m. bus never arriving. The next bus wasn't till 7.15 and I got to the gym with little time to spare.

I got a bit territorial, taking over my usual cable machine and assembling a power bag and a barbell next to it. I conceded to the day before's exertions by dropping a kilo on the step-back squat and to use a smaller power bag in the walking lunges. I then raced through three sets each of the step-back squat, walking lunges and woodchopper, then moved onto three sets of bosu-ball side step, swing squat and leg press.

My energy levels were pretty good and having to hurry meant that I maintained a pretty good heart rate. My main concern was the pain through my left glute and I was a bit worried that I might be doing more damage.

Did that stop me? Of course not!

After work I headed out for a recovery run in the sun. It's liberating to run without the Garmin and to give myself permission to just run in a way that feels good. I got as far as Freyberg, where I stopped briefly to talk to the leader of the Capitelles, a Welly women's cycling pack. Somehow over the course of the evening, via a series of messages on the Vorb forums, I managed to be convinced into riding with them this Monday (after the Waikanae 100km event). It will be a challenge (a good one) to keep up, but on the shorter rides it's the kind of challenge I need. As Richard says, I need to lay it on the line.

Speaking of Richard, I hadn't been running for long when I came across him walking home and we walked together for a while. He gave me an excellent pep talk, for which I was very grateful.

I ran out to the Point then turned back towards the Terrace, and was able to run faster on the way back than on the way out. It seems it takes about 7km for my fatigued legs to start loosening up. My glute was still a bit sore and I still wasn't sure I was doing the best thing for my body, but mentally I was doing well.

Tuesday turned into one of those Mad Dog marathons. It started after work with a leg workout. I did most of Duck's leg programme, including the squats, bosu side steps, leg press, abductor swiss ball press, box jumps and leg extension. I skipped the walking lunges, if only because my glute was still bothering me.

With ten minutes to spare I ate a banana and headed into the 6.40 RPM class. Dee was teaching and the room was, once again, filled with Gearshifters. 45 minutes later that class was finished and I wolfed down another banana. From then on in the pain began. We had another hour of mostly hill tracks ahead of us. Whereas we had been rowdy and jovial in the first class by midway through the second we all fell slowly silent. With my legs complaining that they were well overdue a rest I switched into HTFU mode. I reminded myself that halfway through Taupo I would probably be feeling pretty tired and that I wouldn't have the option then of turning the dial down and spinning things out. It would have been grim had it not been gratifying and the Mad Dog was baying.

I had another RPM class to get out of the way before the end of the week and for some reason it seemed like a good idea to do it at lunchtime on Wednesday. Never mind that I hadn't gotten home until 9 p.m. the night before and that I was, to put it mildly, a little tired. I wanted to get the day's workout done and I figured it would be nice to have 36 hours before my next bout of cardio.

It wasn't the easiest of classes, despite the instructor Chris choosing some excellent tracks. My heartrate wouldn't budge above 130 and my legs wouldn't listen when I suggested they work a bit harder. It was a relief to have it all over with and I very much enjoyed being able to head home and rest.

I had various appointments for which I thought it better to be awake and alert for on Thursday, so I didn't get up to workout before heading to the office. Instead I headed off to Extreme after work. Upstairs I jumped on a yellow spin bike and enjoyed watching Murray put an Impact class through their paces. Lauren was up there moving remarkably lightly on his feet for his size (which isn't to say he's mammoth, just to say that he's not small either).

Murray's antics and the accompanying thumping music got me going and motivated me to keep my cadence high and my heartrate over 140, though it jumped immediately back to 130 the second I slackened off. Through sheer grim determination I managed to get it up to 150 at one stage. I warmed up for five minutes, went hard for 20 minutes, recovered for ten then went hard for another 20. By the end of it all I was dripping sweat and my glasses kept fogging up. I got off the bike, turned around, and came face to face with a row of empty treadmills. For some reason it seemed like a good idea to change back to my running shoes and jump on one. So I did! I ran two kilometres, finding my legs surprisingly loose, and sprinted the last 500m.

Was I finished? Not yet! I went downstairs and did three sets of pull-ups, push-ups, cable row and tricep extension. Finally the stress of the eventful day were expunged and the Mad Dog placated. It seemed like a good time to head home.

After all that I took Friday off! It was an excellent week and I felt pretty good the whole way through it. I'm happy that my legs seem to be able to cope with the idea of active recovery. I am, however, perturbed by the amount of food I am piling away right now. My weight is not moving up or down, but I'm having to eat constantly to keep it where it is. If I were to eat a 'normal' diet I would, I'm sure, be skeletal. Instead all I can think of is food. Driving home from RPM on Tuesday night Dee and I were fantasising about pizza, satay and desserts. Food has become the other of my two topics of conversation. I am a slave to my stomach.

I owned the Mad Dog this week. The Mad Dog is extremely high maintenance!

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