Knowing When To Say When.

Looking back at my Training Peaks logs, the last few months have not been easy for me as a cyclist.
 
I've ridden a roller coaster of illness. I'd take a day off, rest and recover, and then hit it again. For a day or week I would feel fine, then I'd crash again. I couldn't consistently hit targets, overdoing it out of overenthusiasm or underperforming from fatigue. To try to shake this pattern, I'd take a couple days off, only falling further behind and trigger a frenzy of activity that would start the whole cycle again. It didn't matter if it was an easy week or a hard week, I'd struggle just to keep my head above water.
 
Eventually it got into my head, and the enthusiasm exited the same door my energy levels left open on their way out. Getting up early in the morning to get on the trainer or kitting up after a stressful day of work instead of climbing back in bed became a battle I lost more than I'd care to admit. Even when I wasn't sick, someone in the house was, or we had a commitment that gave me a convenient excuse to blow off yet another workout.
 
Along with the deteriorating health and mental state, I started to pack on the pounds. When I'm sick, comfort food is what I want, and for me comfort means "easy/processed/high calorie/wrapped in plastic". I tried every trick I knew to flip the switch, munching on healthier alternatives and trying to moderate my portion sizes. It would cause a horrible binge every time, the kind that would make even Honey Boo Boo question my dietary choices. I'm heavier than I have been in years, and I'm not proud of that either.
 
Yesterday I sent Janice an email telling her I was considering suspending any sort of structured training. Then again, I guess when you don't follow the plan you can't really call it "structured". Despite her best efforts, I haven't been living up to my part of the bargain, and I feel like I need to do something radical to turn things around. I'm fairly sure this season is shot before it even starts, but I'm looking towards the future- the long game. I don't want to be one of those guys who burns out after a few years of racing and never pins on a number again. I really like racing, even if I don't have the motivation or physical condition to train for it at the moment. I feel like if I keep flailing along like I am, I'll end up even more bitter and frustrated than I am on my best days.
 
I think I need sun and miles under my wheels. I need to hit it when the mood strikes and lay off when it doesn't, without feeling like I'm letting anyone down. I'll still watch the clock and the Garmin, because that's how I'm wired, but if the big effort comes on Tuesday instead of Friday, I'll just be happy it ever showed up at all. I may peak for races, and I may crash spectacularly- it will add to the mystery. Maybe lining up without expectations will allow me to develop new skills or try things I wouldn't normally attempt.
 
I'll probably just get dropped a lot.
 
No matter.
 
I think this needs to be the year I "go play bikes".

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