The Slow Down

I had it coming to me.  I wrote a blog post extolling the benefits of rest and recovery, listening to your body, resting and changing up the plan when something goes awry, and WHAM.  It was like I walked into a brick wall.
I have been ramping up my mileage in preparation for the Alexander 380, a 380 mile gravel race / ride in mid-May.  I’ve never biked more than 107 miles or so on gravel in one go, and I’ve never ridden my bike continuously longer than 9 hours, so CLEARLY I’m qualified to attempt something like this.  Although if I’m being honest, I have a pattern of biting off more than I can chew when it comes to athletic endeavors, and most of the time it tends to work out ok.
My engineering (engi-nerd-ing?) tendencies have me scheming all the things that could occur at the Alexander, and testing these out different scenarios leading into the race.  But hey, we already covered that.

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Alexander Training: Eat crap from gas stations during long rides, monitor gastrointestinal effects.

About two weeks ago, I knew I had been fighting a respiratory bug but headed out on my ill-conceived hilly route anyway — I have a mantra that goes something like this — if I’m not too sick for Urgent Care on Saturday morning, the ride must go on.”  Midway through the route I could tell I was dragging, so I began cutting it short.  First, I skipped a few of the minimum maintenance road slogs.  Next, I hit up a larger than planned segment of pavement instead of heading back out into the peanut-buttery gravel abyss.  Lastly, I caught sight of a local paved rails-to-trails recreational trail and I slunk back to my car, soft pedaling into town.  I got quite the stares from the recreational riders out for their Saturday stroll on their hydrids — I had gone without a fender that day, and I had a light brown line up my back from the spray!

The following Monday I was “rewarded” with an ever worsening cold, which landed me at the doctor’s office.  I had this little cutie to accompany me as he was home from school with a fever!  Tuesday brought no relief.  I tossed myself onto a plane to Atlanta for work, still wearing the damn mask.  I arrived in town and almost immediately went into work to pull an all-nighter.  After a few days of hectic schedules plus the cold, I knew it was time to throw in the towel when I got back home Thursday night.

 

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Me and the tiny sick one.  He said he wouldn’t smile for our selfie because his mama wasn’t feeling well.

For me, throwing in the towel means stopping all discretionary activities.  I worked only when I had to, stopped all exercise (a biiiiiig deal, trust me), and even took Friday off of work to sleep in, leisurely clean out the work email inbox, and then sleep some more.  I gave up on cleaning the house for a bit and only tackled the necessities.  I thought I had this thing licked after a weekend of rest….

Monday came and when I got home I discovered a very ill dog.  (I have a labrador retriever / basset hound mix, or a “bassador” as some like to call them.  I rescued him almost 10 years ago and he is my shadow whenever I am home!)  I cleaned up the mess and went on hound-watch.  Tuesday also brought some interpersonal challenges with people on my life, and a hard day for the kiddo too.

 

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“Hark!  WTF is all this snow?!”  He was buried up past his stomach!!  He’s a short little guy.

Tuesday night was a gravel group ride that had a less than stellar outcome ….  I’ll leave the story here for now.  To be continued…

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