Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Peaking too soon?

I hope not.

Thing is, I feel great. I mean, really, GREAT. On the other hand, I had three, count them, THREE days of rest last week. Oh, the shame! "What a SLACKER I feel like!" I thought to myself. Thoughts like "my training is going down the tubes," "you're being so LAZY, Sarah," and my personal favorite, "How can I make this up next week?" were flowing through my head constantly. Between cat-sitting, feeling exhaustion from my double on Monday, horrible cramps (sometimes, being a woman does have its downsides), and the upcoming conference for work, I was one ball of exhaustion. I knew it would not behoove me to go against my instincts and work out (that is, if creating time for such was actually a feasible thing), and it is a rare moment when I actually think "no, I really don't even have enough energy to work out and I will NOT feel better after exercising."

And thus, Friday and Saturday ended up being rest days. Saturday was not a restful day in any way, shape or form, though. Conferences are tough work and when it isn't physically exhausting to be running around, standing and setting up/breaking down all day, it is mentally exhausting to be 'on' from pre-start to post-finish. I had planned on running Saturday evening, as I thought it would provide a nice release after such a long day, but all I could think about doing was eating dinner, having a glass of wine, and falling into a deep sleep.

The sleep may have been deep, but it is always too short. I love sleep. I think I've mentioned that before in this blog. The nice thing is that it generally comes easy for me as well. As long as I'm sufficiently tired, sleep will ensue (provided I haven't ingested coffee past 3 p.m.).

I woke up early (far too early) Sunday morning, nice and blurry-eyed and ready to ride! Departing from Lee's at 6:45, we did a great 50 mile ride on one of my favorite routes, which was part of what the 1st stage of this year's Tour of California encompassed. We rode out toward the ocean where it got progressively foggier (but so beautiful!), and right around Valley Ford we began to notice people zooming by with numbers on their bikes - a race! Intrigued by what race it was, we stopped at the general store to find out, and were told it was a biathlon: bike from Santa Rosa to Marin, then run (not sure exactly where). Lee enjoyed the idea of that, as swimming isn't his favorite. The pace of the whole ride was great. Nothing crazy like the week prior, but not too slow, either. I love riding up there. I certainly took some opportunities to attack hills as I felt the motivation, which I did - I felt great on the ride.

Later that day, I certainly felt sore. The impact from the climbing we did (~2200 ft.) had set in, and I had a good feeling I might be feeling tired the next day...

or not. I don't know if it was the recovery day(s), the recovery drink, or a combo of both, but at swim practice Monday evening, I felt FANTASTIC! I was on fire! Got a good night's sleep, woke up bright and early on Tuesday, though admittedly as I arrived at the gym all I could think about was how nice a hot cup of coffee would be. Christine and I lifted weights (focused on back and abs), and upon finishing, I headed out to the track, somewhat dreading it, as I knew my friends out there would have a great (read: HARD) workout in store. After a warm-up mile (which I ran at an 8:04/mile pace quite easily - was very surprised), I greeted Owen and company and said, "so what's the lineup?" "6 x 1 mile, with rest intervals at 1/4 the mile pace, and running speed at your 10K race pace," he said in his British accent with a smile. I had actually planned on doing something similar, so I was somewhat happy to hear it, though I knew not to be fooled by the seemingly easy tone of the regimen. That sixth (or fifth, in my case - I knew I'd only have time for 5) mile was going to kill.

I was alarmingly surprised when I began to consistently run my laps at 1:52, 1:53, 1:54 somewhat comfortably. I say that loosely - 'comfortably' meaning that I wasn't gasping for air. I was running roughly a 7:30 mile with consistency and not dying at the end of each one! I rested for 1:52 between each one. The very last lap I completed in 1:43, which made me happy (and dead...).

That was yesterday. Today I woke up at 5:15 and met up with Leo at 5:40 for a 23 mile bike ride, and I felt SO FANTASTIC!!! I was totally spinning up Tunnel Road, felt great attacking Eunice even after a nice break at the Cheeseboard for scones and coffee (now that's rare - that climb is typically hard as hell after I've taken a nice coffee break), and in general, felt like a fantastic rider. However, as I realized how fantastic I felt, that's when I began to pose the question, "am I peaking?" I really, really hope not, since Donner Lake isn't for another couple of weeks. Hrmmmmmmmm.

The other possibility is that I had two days off to rest, and this is the result of such. Chances could be that if I taper properly the week prior to Donner, I'll be feeling like this or better. In any case, it feels good to feel so...good. I'll take it!

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