I can't seem to construct a successful training week these days. Extra work hours, juggling running with cycling and hot weather all conspire against me. I got in some great off-road riding this past weekend, even some intensity up Burke Mountain. But the real training payload comes during the work week. It is my short lunch sessions that deliver the most value per Joule expended.
The riding on Saturday and Sunday left me pretty ragged on Monday. I felt guilty about running only once last week. I plan to run the CIGNA Corporate 5k in a few weeks. Upwards of 200 people from my company will be running in it with 5000 others. I have to keep enough running in my schedule so I don't injure myself. I don't have any serious goals, but it would be nice to break a six minute pace for a 5k.
So in my physically trashed, guilt ridden state, I ran 9k on Monday when I should have taken a complete rest day. I played a little with my stride too, like trying to really open it up down the long Exit 10 overpass hill. The dew point was about 70F. Running sucks when it is that muggy. I bet I lost four pounds in 40 minutes. I didn't think I ran very hard, but I was even more wrecked later in the day.
Then comes Tuesday, which is VOmax intervals day. I have a hillclimb race on Saturday, so I had to get a little early week intensity in, right? I wasn't even walking normally, yet I headed out at lunch with SteveG for some short hill intervals.
Sometimes after 30 minutes, stubborn legs come around and deliver some semblance of performance. I wasn't feeling the love today. Then mid ride, Steve flatted. This was after saying he should really replace his tire before the ride. Have you ever seen somebody intentionally head out on a tire with exposed casing the whole way around the tire? The tire had hair. There was zero tread cap left on a Michelin Pro3 Race with about 6000 miles on it. Those tires are good for only 3000 miles. On a MTB ride last fall with Steve, he abandoned after the third flat. Same deal. Tube was bulging out sidewall splits in about 10 places. He gets tires at near cost from his buddy that owns an LBS. Go figure. I told Steve he could count on getting more crap from me here...
Anyway, the break must have done me some good, as I found a little bit of my legs after that. Unfortunately, the hilly section of the ride was about over. Some lively pulls quickly got us back to work. It seems I've had a number of training weeks go this way this summer. Rarely dipping deeply into the VOmax realm has to have some negative impact on cycling performance. Training has gravitated towards the junky middle. Things were much easier when running wasn't in the mix.
Now it's contemplation time. Do I recover the rest of the week and attempt a PR on Mt Ascutney on Saturday? The forecast looks the worst ever for a hillclimb race. Temps will nearly reach 100F on Thursday and Friday with little cooling over Friday night. There's just isn't any cooling when grinding 8mph up a 12-15% grade. I can count on 1-2 minutes added to my time for every 10F above 70F. So what would be the point of driving all the way out there for a 30 minute effort that represents how bad I suck in heat?
I've had some bad heat experiences over the years. During a study at UNH, I learned just how quickly my core body temp rises in heat. I am very inefficient at cooling myself, and if I'm indeed a fast twitch guy, that is a double whammy. Fast twitch is more wasteful and produces more excess heat than slow twitch. I find when I hit these thermal limits, it takes me days to recover. My abdominal cavity is left in a funky state. Organ damage? Who knows. People say everybody suffers in the heat. That is only partially true. Not everybody suffers the same in the heat.
I'll probably take my heat lumps on Ascutney, pout about it afterwards, then look forward to a long trail ride somewhere on Sunday when it should be cooler.