Sunday, October 07, 2007


Date: Oct. 7
Mileage: 23.1
October mileage: 124.1
Temperature upon departure: 42
Rainfall: .31"

Everything about my October training plan has been a bit of a struggle for me ... more time crouched over sweaty weight benches, less time on the bike, with the time I do spend on the bike generally of the red-faced-and-huffing variety. This picture I took on Thursday was all about pleasure ... a mountain bike ride with Geoff. That was a day off. The days on, of which I am gunning for five a week, consist of trips to the gym and these lung-burning cycling intervals that I don't enjoy but believe are crucial to my fitness - if only in my own mind.

I still haven't figured out how to integrate my intensity training with the fall monsoon. A workable medium between hot, cold and face-stinging rain is nearly impossible to find. Today I rode the most difficult route in my rotation - the sprint climb to Eaglecrest (which is less of a sprint and more of an energetic chug.) My legs are currently in great shape for such a project, but my lungs protest and protest, and gulping down all of that 40-degree air is not helping matters. By the time I reach the ski resort, my chest hurts, my throat hurts, and my clothing is saturated in enough sweat to nullify all of my rain gear. Then, just like that, I have to turn into the 40 mph descent and its sub-freezing wind chills, blinking back the rain in a confusing strobelight of spruce trees and pavement, until I start riding the brakes because I don't know which way is up and I can't feel my toes.

When I finally reach the bottom of the hill, I'm so fatigued from the climb that all I want to do is tip over and take a nap. But I'm so chilled from the descent that I have to mash the high gears through all of the six miles home, just to stay warm. When I finally make it home, I'm so completely wiped out by my 90-minute ride that I really do need to take a nap, but instead I choke down a lunch for which I have no appetite and slog off to work.

How do people train this way? It's tedious in all of the ways that long, slow mileage is fun. And between the sore lungs from these intensity rides and aching muscles from weight lifting, I'm almost starting to dread my workouts. But I'm not going to quit, because I do think it's helping. I'm finally confronting all of my weak points - the knee crackling and lung burning - and the longer I face my weaknesses, the better I'll understand them, and the more likely I'll be to overcome them when it really matters.

On a lighter note, it seems there are even tackier choices for full-face neoprene masks than the one I posted yesterday. eBay offers a wide assortment of designs, all with their own touch of sophistication. I think I should hold a vote. Which one should I buy?

Choice B: The full-face skull mask. This one says, "My mother never let me dress up as Freddy from "Nightmare on Elm Street" on Halloween, she always made me be the fairy princess, and now I just want to light things on fire."

Choice C: The bald eagle. Never mind that it looks more like a constipated duck. This one says, "I'm proud to be an American. And I have definitely never lived in Alaska."

Choice D: The clown from "IT": This one says, "Oh yes, Georgie, they float. Down here, they all float! And when you're down here, you'll float too!"

Choice E: The Confederate flag. I won't venture to guess what this design says about its wearer. I think these face masks are marketed toward winter bikers (as in motorcyclists); but I gotta say, I'm not sure about the crowd I'm falling in with here.


  1. I think that all of these masks say something about the person who wears them. What it says is, "I'm a lunatic." But I have to say I loved your description of the eagle mask as a "constipated duck!"

  2. That clown mask scares the crap out of me. The IT reference didn't help either. If I have to vote, I'm voting for B.

  3. Make sure you're getting adaquate rest from those intervals! You can definitely do too much intensity if you're coming from basically no intensity before.

    You don't want to get to the point where you are dreading workouts.

  4. I'm betting there will be 237 skeletons but only ONE constipated duck -- go for it.

  5. Gonna have to get with the duck!

    Clowns scare me!

    Remember to have fun!

  6. Are you actually aiming to do intervals 5 days a week? That sentence about your "on days" seemed a little unclear. If you are, it sounds like a recipe for an over training injury. Most of the training info I've read indicates that doing intervals twice a week separated by 48 hours minimum for recovery is most effective.

  7. Jason ...

    That's what I heard, too. My five "on" days a week actually include two days that are purely weight-lifting days, and one day that consists of intervals on the elliptical machine at the gym, where the digital display helps me monitor my perceived intensity vs. my actual "power output." Then two days in which I try to do something tough on the bike, and one-two "fun" days, or, depending on how I feel, days off. That's the plan. It's only been two weeks and I haven't stuck to it perfectly. I don't feel too bad, though, and I think I have gotten over the worst hump.

  8. Jill,

    I have a pair of unused vapor barrier sox if you want them.

    I've been reading your posts for quite a while now. I visit your blog most every day.

    My wife and I are about to head off on a month-long trekking trip in Nepal. Cool, huh?

    Your blog is linked on my own blog.

    Keep riding, keep writing!


  9. Choice B, but only if you get it with the hat.


  10. jill

    I think geoff would agree
    you would look better in one of these

    geoff can be the pirate

    I need to go back to your archives
    I think I have skipped the chapter in TERMINATOR where Sarah Connor went from vunerable waitron to sandanista

    happy halloween season

  11. I think we all have a hard time putting in the workouts to get us over our weaknesses. Intervals are brutal no matter what.

    Your writing is so good you make the Eaglecrest route sound fun, but I love climbing. Your reward will be when you notice that there's less protesting of the lungs and your chugging turns into spinning.

  12. definitely the constipated duck


Feedback is always appreciated!