Sunday, June 17, 2007

Lead legs

Date: June 17
Mileage: 35.4
June mileage: 379.7
Temperature upon departure: 54

Shortly after heading out for a ride this morning, I noticed a sensation that I haven't experienced in months: sluggish strokes, blood pumping like peanut butter, invisible weights wrapped around my shins ... lead legs.

Sure, it meant I was going to have a rough morning. But beyond that, I was pretty excited about the development. Lead legs without knee pain mean I have finally hit a point in recovery where I can tire out my muscles without overtaxing my joint. That they were tired out at the beginning of the day means I've been riding too much overall, but still ... that's training! Actual training. Oh happy, oh joy.

Truthfully, I haven't had any major knee pain since just before the calendar turned over to June. Weight training and stretching finally earned me the range of motion I need to turn pedals, and since then, it's just been a matter of doing so. My recent mileage spike might make it seem like I've gone trigger happy. But in reality, I've just used cycling to replace my menagerie of lower-impact cardio exercises (indoor swimming and the elliptical machine ... who wouldn't want to replace that?) My overall activity has only increased ... well ... it hasn't quite doubled. Actually, it's a fair amount lower than double. Still, I do deserve the lead legs.

Of course I'm not fully recovered yet. I'd be an idiot to believe that I am. During my quad stretches, I still can't pull my right heel all the way to my butt without some pain. The invisible barrier still springs up when I walk down stairs. But I am so, so close.

(The ski resort is one of the few places on a summer Sunday I can go to be alone.)

Now that I've made my health case, this is the part of the blog entry in which I admit that I just signed up for the solo female category of the 24 Hours of Light. I mulled my different options, including not riding at all, and decided that I'd have the most fun if I had the freedom to decide when (and whether) to ride.

I know it sounds crazy. But you know, despite the implications of a 24-hour race, there's nothing in the race rulebook that stipulates that you have to ride straight through those 24 hours. You could ride for four. Or eleven. Or one. That's the beauty of a race against time. Everyone's a finisher. (Not unlike life itself, one might say.)

I feel like I should do something special, like wear a costume or commit to only eating Lucky Charms, just to illustrate my true intentions with this race. Any ideas?

And despite the voices of reason and common sense, I honestly believe that my worst worry will be lead legs.