Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pain and Anger

Today's trainer ride was probably the worst I have yet to have. It is hard to explain or sum up, but I will try to give a picture of it. Honestly, I have never been more angry (about pain) on a bike ride.

Today's workout called for three hours total with an "M2" workout tossed in. That M2 is described as a set amount of time in a zone 3 heart rate. Last week, I had the exact same workout and I felt great about it... during and after. Even before I have a sort of anxious excitement. A lot of workouts will have me going for this amount of time in just a zone 2 hr, but with the season creeping closer, I'm "allowed" to get my hear rate up during workouts a little more. It is fun to be able to do this. Something to break up the monotony is welcomed so before this ride, as I'm walking to and from classes, I am kind of waiting to just get to the ride and finally feel a bit more than usual.

Anyway, during last week's workout I decided that I would go with an hour and 15 minutes at a zone 3 heart rate inside the three hours. The most I'm "allowed" to do is an hour and a half, so I figured I would work up to an hour and a half for this week since it is going to be my longest week yet (some effort.... some pain... no big deal). So, after an hour and 20 minutes of not-so-great zone 2 riding, I crank up my intensity and try to figure out where I would find a nice zone 3 heart rate. Only problem... my legs were screaming!

I couldn't get it. Why was I feeling like I was pushing such a high gear? I was examining my bike computer expecting my heart rate to begin to go way up, but it didn't. I wasn't understanding. I then checked my breathing and noticed it wasn't any harder than I might expect. I wasn't sucking wind, but my legs felt like they were driving through mud. I had plenty of water and have been working on drinking throughout the day for hydration's sake. I even make a quick check to my rear brake-pads to see if they were somehow rubbing my rims, but even if they were, and that was causing me to be strained... my heart rate would be going up. Another glance back at my computer was telling me I should be fine.

All during this, I was getting mad. Angry. I couldn't understand why my legs were bitching and my heart rate wasn't sky-rocketing. Now I'm getting really mad. My legs were not allowed to be in so much pain. Not now. Not this early... or even late in my training. And this pain was happening right as I upped my gears. It wasn't how it usually happens... maybe after a goo tough hour or two of riding and/or riding at a higher heart rate. I had a good breakfast and lunch too. I could feel my furrowed brow and my anger driving through my pedal strokes.

I have never felt this emotion on the bike before and I didn't like it. I was angry and I was not going to let myself quit. I don't mean to say "look at what I can go through." No. I mean it was as if I was so mad at my legs for hurting like that, that I was not going to stop and give in. If they wanted to hurt and keep hurting, I would give them a reason to. I have no idea what kind of wattage I was putting out and I frankly don't care. My heart rate was steady in zone 3 and I was going to suffer through this.

My "not-so-good" zone 2 of an hour and 20 minutes before this serious pain was admittedly really bad. My left leg felt like it was not getting blood. That is just my guess. There was like dulling, numb-tingling feeling coupled with a little more pain than I usually encounter. My right leg was not much better, but I could really feel something was off in my left. I don't know if this is what caused it. It certainly didn't make my heart try to pump any faster when I upped the gears. I just don't get it. I even thought to pull up a fan and plop it on my desk, facing it towards me, (something I never do) aiming it at my core, to see if maybe I was overheating and that would lower the pain in my legs. That didn't work and again, I would just suffer through.

They say suffering is a real part of cycling. I'm not going to get all philosophical about this, but I remembered that today. I was angry. I was mad like how I get mad when something doesn't work as it should... like when my cycling computer won't turn on, and there is no reason (that I can figure out) why it won't. Except, I was really mad today and I think it was because I couldn't blame it on my bike or some faulty component. It was me. I was the one not functioning correctly. I am someone that can be very hard on himself. I couldn't get why I wasn't working right, but I know things will be better. I'm not worried.

Thanks if you read this whole stupid rant. Nothing was really resolved, I know.

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