Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pushing Through It.

The kids gave me yet another cold, and my power has a serious hit. I'm trying to complete every workout, but sometimes I just crumple and have to limp my way through the rest. Other times I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so it isn't all gloom and doom. No matter how bad I fail, I still feel better after I get off the bike than before I got on, which keeps me coming back for more. I could let my failure to complete all of my scheduled intervals at the prescribed intensity get me down, but I have a lot of trainer hours ahead of me before it will really matter. I do what I can, and walk away satisfied with the effort.
 
Every night I sleep with my cheeks full of cough drops like a chipmunk with the sniffles, doped up on cough medicine. Every morning I wake up with a sore throat and clogged up sinuses. One of these days I won't, and the numbers will start creeping back up. I'll start building again, instead of just trying to maintain.
 
I look forward to that day, even though I know the kids will get me sick again the next day. That one day will be magical.

The Snack Bar

My workplace has a very well-stocked snack bar. By well-stocked, I don't mean it has a wide variety of items to allow one to make prudent diet choices while still satisfying their taste buds. No, it is pretty much comprised of the absolute worst "food-esque" items you can find, and vast quantities of them. The few "healthy" items present were purchased in a weak attempt to be a good alternative, taste like cardboard, and usually expire before they are consumed. The snack bar is a monument to everything that is wrong with the food in America.
 
I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame.
 
The joys I temporarily find in the sugary embrace of a cinnamon roll inevitably lead to deep pangs of regret, but I return time and again. I read the label and note the calorie content, but by that time it's too late. I'm already a lost soul. My will power crumbles in the face of processed sugars. I'm a weak man.
 
My lofty goals of losing weight before the new year have been replaced with the target of simply not gaining too much. So far I'm holding steady, thanks to a steady diet of trainer workouts and occasional bouts of nutritional sanity. I'm hoping that I can turn the tide before the end of the year, to turn that corner that allows me to control what I stuff in my mouth. I'm hoping to find the discipline to go back to regularly and reliably counting calories, because last time it was extremely effective when I wanted to lose weight. I'm hoping to get down to where I was a couple years ago, or maybe even a little lighter. I'm hoping, but that isn't the same as doing. Doing requires effort, and lately I've been less inclined to make it.
 
I hope that changes.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Twins.

In my flurry of fall bicycle-related consumerism, I bought a wheel.
 

It's a Chinese-made, 88mm carbon tubular rear wheel. I went in with low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the product- especially given the price. It's nothing mind-blowing, and the wheel components aren't all that impressive. I bought it to back up my disc wheel on my TT bike for hilly TTs or when side-winds made using the disc a white-knuckle fight for control. I may also use it for flat crits and road races, depending on how it rolls. It's certainly not a wheel that will see use every day.
 
The more I look at it, the more I think we're somehow related.
  • We're both fatter than the majority of the competition.
  • We're heavier than the majority of the competition.
  • Our components are of questionable quality.
  • We require specialized care to keep all of those components from flying apart.
  • We may look good to the uninitiated, but anyone with any sort of eye will immediately see through the fa├žade.
 
The snow has started to finally fall on Anchorage (only about 2 months too late), so this wheel won't see pavement for 5 or 6 months, depending on how fast the snow recedes in the spring. Until then, I'll hang it on the wall and stretch a tubular tire over it. I'll glance over at it once in a while as I sweat on the trainer, watching the dust settle on the shiny carbon. In the spring I'll start to glue up tubulars to try to control my cycling urges while the roads clear.
 
Maybe then I won't resemble this wheel quite so much.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Side Effects

I feel fine. At least, I think I do.
 
I'm no longer doubled over with intestinal cramps periodically, praying that whatever was causing the discomfort would come out one direction or another. I'm back to pretty much eating whatever I want without any side effects (other than the usual weight gain and lethargy).
 
And yet, when I get on the trainer to knock out a workout, I am not all there. I'll start off great, grinding away at a decent wattage and holding it without killing myself. Then about 30 minutes into the workout the wheels will come off. My legs will feel empty and weak, my heart rate will steadily climb the levels much higher than normal, and I'll limp my way to the end of the workout.
 
A week ago, I was knocking out workouts much harder than this and still felt like I had more in the tank. Now I just want to curl up with a fuzzy blanket and watch Anthony Bourdain on TV.
 
My body isn't processing food properly just yet, even though it is interfering with my training schedule. It seems odd to get upset about setbacks so early in the trainer season, but after the race season I just had, I am anxious to move forward. I just need to get my body to agree with the plan.
 
I feel fine.
I feel fine.
I feel fine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This Kid is Trying to Kill Me.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After two days of staying home with a sick kid it was bound to happen. I woke up this morning with a good night's sleep (for a change). The back didn't hurt. In fact, nothing felt off at all. I got on the bike, stared cranking away, and within two minutes I could barely turn the pedals.
 
Nothing there. The guts started knotting up, so I backed off to a little above Recovery pace and tried to see if things would turn around. They didn't. At the 30 minute mark, covered in sweat and still not putting out any wattage, I decided to call it a day.
 
I don't know what bug I have, but I don't like it. It seems like every time I hit my stride and start feeling good, something comes along to knock me back down. The only thing I can do now is brush myself off and start all over again. If I don't, I know I'll feel even worse in the long run.
 
This kid is trying to kill me. He's cute. He's lovable. But obviously he's evil. I guess that proves he's mine.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Healing.

While it's fun for a day or so, eventually I get sick of the hazy feeling from the pain medication and muscle relaxers. I don't enjoy walking around like a zombie, unable to come up with a suitable zinger in response to a co-worker's insult. I don't like being off my game.
 
I took a couple days off the bike, and then started up again. Mainly it's been moderate-intensity grinds, instead of high intensity intervals that I usually do. That's alright, since I really need to get used to grinding out higher consistent wattage on the trainer.
 
Today I went off the medications. I was able to get more accomplished in a shorter time at work, and I was still able to crank out puddles of sweat on the trainer. So far, so good. If my back doesn't get any worse, I'll set the drugs aside and let the chiropractor do his thing to get me in shape again.
 
The weight is still there. I shouldn't be surprised, since I haven't made a concerted effort to get rid of it. I guess I'm kinda happy I didn't gain any as I transitioned from the road to the trainer. If I can lose a couple before New Years Day, I'll be ahead of the game.
 
Ski season is right around the corner, and I'm interested in seeing what coaching for the Alyeska Mighty Mites will be like. I bought a pair of non-race skis at the ski swap, which should make off-piste skiing a little more fun for me. I'm trying not to get too worked up about skiing just yet, because we still have a little time to go before ski season will be in full swing. No need to rush.
 
Until then, I'll just work on getting the back strong again so I can keep up with all of the ankle-biters. It would be embarrassing if my group had to carry me down the mountain.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Snapped Like a Rubber Band.

This time last year I took an ambulance ride I don't remember, after my car was rear ended. I woke up in an Emergency Room not knowing where I was or what had happened.
 
Yesterday I took another ambulance ride, but I was awake. I was in the middle of my annual fitness test, which up to that point was going quite well. My back strain from the 'cross race was starting to twinge during the push-ups, but I thought I could gut out the rest. I was wrong. I was steadily knocking out the sit-ups when something snapped in my back. I tried to rest and knock a few more, but that was a mistake. My pig-headed pride caused even more damage.
 
They carted this old man out of there on a stretcher. Every bump the ambulance hit sent stabs of pain up my spine. It took awhile, but the eventually got an IV in me with some drugs to dull the pain somewhat, then sent me home with a bag of narcotics.
 
Now oxycodone and Flexeril are my friends, and the world is a little fuzzy around the edges- until I jar my back, at which point life comes into sharp focus.
 
I may get on my bike tonight and spin, because ever since I initially hurt my back, riding has been the one thing that made it feel better.
 
I am really starting to hate late October.