Sunday, October 18, 2009

Temporary retooling

Sunday, 18 October

Following up on Ring of Fire and its mockery of my goal-setting, I figured it was time for some time off the bike and a little change up for mental rest from long miles on the bike. I picked a local 10K running race that benefits the scholarship fund at the University of Washington. I had 4 weeks to recover from ROF, retool, and retrain to run 6.2 miles.

The goals I set were to reduce my bike miles and to finish the race in less than 60 minutes (I don’t run fast, either!). I failed at the first one—or, at least, bike time was not given over to running time. Somehow I managed to do all my training for the event in the morning (I got up at 4:55 once) before I rode to work. Never did I run on the weekend, and only once did I shorten up my ride to work.

My race time (53:12) was not mortally embarrassing and certainly better than the 10-minute miles I was prepared for. While there were a lot of people a lot faster than me, there were more who were slower: my time was 2 minutes faster than the average, I was 371 out of 868 runners, and 17/64 in my age group (in which nearly everyone is younger than I am). I used bike racing tactics: I took the shortest line through all the corners, and I found big guys to run behind in the headwind sections, even if I had to sprint a little to catch up to them. And I found another sport where tons of people pass me going downhill!

Most interesting to me is my recovery. I have some gentle aches and pains from 53 minutes of pounding my joints (knees, hips) but I am not tired. (I tried to ride some extra miles on my bike after the race, but one of my pedals seized—some kind of sign, maybe?) I guess that means I didn’t run hard enough, but it also means I benefited from my enormous base of miles/fitness. My goal here was not to become a runner but to focus on something besides cycling for a while, to set myself some new goals.

A bonus: only one of all my training and racing miles was rainy!

Next training program: super slow at the gym. I know that will hurt! And I'm jonesing to ride a century again, even if it's only metric and even if it's on the rain bike.