May 26, 2009

Back on the Bike - Cross Training

Memorial Day weekend came and went with little fanfare. Plans for camping with friends fell through, so I said a silent hurrah for the ability to continue my training without interruption. Saturday's 12-mile trail run left my feet and knees in such a state that demanded a full rest day, not to mention a brand-new pair of shoes.

Monday rolled around and the new shoes were begging for a test drive. They taunted me, snug in their box, all white and sparkly without so much as a scratch or drop of mud anywhere. Bring it on bitch, they scoffed. I had no other choice but to comply.

My shoes and I trotted out for a quick 3-mile loop around the neighborhood. The sun shone brightly at 10:00 AM, and the wind whipped gently around my wiry legs. My gorgeous new shoes held my aching heels firmly, and supported my feet in cushiony, springy bliss.

I burst through the front door in a whirlwind, with barely enough time to shed sweaty layers, pull on a short-sleeved jersey and shorts, and grab Clif bars and sports drinks. I dutifully applied sunscreen and hovered around as my husband filled our tires with air and checked the brakes. It was time for us to ride, time for me to dust off my bike (literally) for a little cross training.

The run proved to be a good warmup. My legs felt strong as I rolled out, picking up the tempo and staying right on J's rear wheel. He was feeling sassy today, and ramped the pace up to 22 mph. I had a feeling I was in for it.

We found a friend on the Springwater trail and drove a mini paceline through it. We dodged families, newbies, runners, and cruisers. J and I took the river route to Oregon City, and I had almost forgotten what a horrible climber I am. I watched J get smaller and smaller as I struggled to crest a teeny bump that I would have destroyed last year. Note to self: running fitness does not equal cycling fitness. One must actually ride the bike for that.

We headed back by way of Lake Oswego, which included a quick descent through the Riverview Cemetery. The sight of gravestones with American flags all around was sobering. The view of a snowy-white Mt. Hood with the city sprawled out all around it was breathtaking. We forged ahead, eventually crossing the Hawthorne bridge to our side of town.

We slowed down as I huffed and puffed back to the house, and checked my stats upon arrival. 32 miles ridden. Ride time, 2 hours 10 minutes. Average heart rate 150 bpm. Average pace, 15 mph. 1300 calories burned.

Mixing it up was refreshing, and I was reminded how much I really enjoy recreational riding. Taking in the picturesque scenery, cresting small hills, maneuvering the descents, and inhaling plenty of crisp, fresh air awakened my spirit. Cross training is good for the legs, but even better for the soul.

1 comment:

  1. Now you're not a virgin anymore. A blog virgin that is.

    I trained with Uncle Tommy in 2001 (I know, several lifetimes ago) for the Honolulu marathon. He ran the big distance runs on the weekends and we ran the 3-5 mile "speed" runs during the week. Usually 2 of them per week.

    It's all about the routine of training. You've been there, you've ridden a "century" and you can't do anything like that without the training. Once race day comes around, the adrenaline takes care of the first part, the training takes care of the next part, and the last part is always about mental mud.

    - Coastal -