It’s Friday. I don’t know how it got here so fast. I started this post Monday. I intended to finish it on Monday. Damn, guess this week has been one long…Monday. It sure felt like it, and since “I Don’t Like Mondays” is in constant rotation on my iPod, I think I know what a “Monday” feels like. F’N’A, TGIF.
And there’s nothing like a good butt kicking on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to make a Monday just *that much better.* I was in a clouded world of hurt on Monday. I was sitting at my desk blurry eyed. It was a busy weekend. Lots to do, and lots of skating. It also doesn’t help that HorseyPants and I have been staying up late fulfilling our desperate need to catch up with the housewives of Wisteria Lane, which we’ve been doing every night for the last two weeks thanks to NetFlix streaming content. We’re now done with Season 5.
Last weekend I took my outdoor training up a notch for the start of the season, and in doing so I was reminded that it don’t come easy. Most weekends during the season I’ll do a session or two of between 26 and 32 miles and keep a moderate pace, just enough to feel like I’m working and keep my heart rate at 70% max. But every couple of weeks I’ll go out for time, and try and break my “Colorado PBR” – my personal best time record on the course I skate here in Loveland. That’s what I did on Saturday, and I’m off to a good start.
But I’ve got to qualify these times as “Colorado times” because we’re nearly 6,000 ft. above sea level here, so the air is a *little* thinner, the hills a *little* steeper, and I’ve yet to get anywhere near the times I can hit in Duluth. I’m about 13 minutes off my best time in Duluth on the course in Loveland, about 8 minutes off on the course in my neighborhood, which runs a little faster. If I didn’t qualify these times I’d be fighting an ongoing mental battle. It’s not worth it!
So I’ve been tracking these COPBR’s for a few years now, and this is the strongest season opener to date. I call this my “TX Road Rash Symp-a-thon” – to coincide with the “running of the rash” which all of my friends attend without me – and it was also my first hard skate at distance on 110’s, which was an eye-opener. The legs didn’t have a lot left at the end of the 28.2 miles. That may have had something to do with the fact that the day before I had engaged in my “super-secret” workout too. It was the worst uphill experience I’ve ever had. But anyway…
The big take-away from the effort was that I need to start hitting the hills again. At the end of the course, the last quarter mile or so, is one of the steepest hills you can imagine. I originally plotted this as a training course for the Saint Paul Inline Marathon, which used to finish up the hill to Mears Park in downtown St. Paul. I’d forgotten how intense the last uphill sprint can be on this Loveland course. I was practically crying as I was reaching the top of this hill. My legs were like lead, my back was on fire and I could barely breath. Gee, it’s good to be back home!
Over the long haul, I really feel like I got a lot out of the 110’s. My stride really felt comfortable – longer, smoother and with a lot less effort once I got up to speed. I couldn’t help thinking about how it will be in that paceline in Duluth. Out here on my own I’m pulling non-stop, so these big wheels don’t have time to slow down. But when they do, when I coast, it takes just that little bit more to get back to where I was. I just wonder what it’s going to be like with the ebb & flow of the pack in Duluth. How many will be on 110’s? Will it be difficult to be behind someone on 100’s? Will I be forced to take more pulls than I should just because I’m more comfortable out front with no one in front of me? I want to think I’ll be ready to handle whatever happens out there, and this year I’ll be smarter about pulls and fliers. But when it’s all on the line I know that everything I train for, all that I learn and think about while training, will go out the window once I’m out there on the course. I’ll just be skating for my life. But I like it that way – it keeps it exciting for me. All this summer I’ll be thinking about the one race in Duluth in September. No matter how hard the COPBR sessions get, they always leave me begging for more.
4/29/10 Training: Mandatory day off.
4/30/10 Training: Super-secret workout, no skating, lots of pizza.
5/1/10 Training: 33 miles on the trail in Loveland, 28.2 at marathon speed. Didn’t beat my buddy TASII’s time for TX Road Rash this year, but I was close and I’m at altitude. I’ll take what I can get – which after this skate was a good crying towel.
5/2/10 Training: Rink Rabbits practice followed by 2 hours of quickness. Quick plyos, quick drills, quick relays. One of the better practices even though I was dead tired.
5/3/10 Training: The Monday I referred to above. I did manage to get 16 miles in at lunch, attacking the hills I know I need to beat before September. It’s going to be a long summer going up these hills on these 110’s.
5/4/10 Training: Rink Rabbits practice. I’ve been getting into the race action a little more for the benefit of some of the kids at the back of the line. We have a couple of new kids who’ve only been skating a month and are already keeping up in drills and races. Working with kids is a highlight of my skating career.
5/5/10 Training: Super-secret workout. Shhhh…..
5/6/10 Training: Mandatory day of rest. I think I need to write about resting.