I planned to go camping this past weekend with some friends from the UNT Cycling team up in Oklahoma for some long training on the bike. There is a mountain that has a ~ 3 mile climb and 8% average grade that I wanted to ride up and down until my legs fell off. Well… things do not always go according to plan with training regimens.
I was scanned by a DEXA machine in the exercise physiology lab at UNT last week. I found out that I have osteopenia in my lumbar vertebrae that is near osteoporotic. A staple amongst endurance athletes. Apparently I need to be doing heavy squats and add some plyometrics (jumping, box jumps, high skips, etc.) in to my schedule. So last Tuesday I hit the rec to get some plyometrics. Problem was I think I did way too much for my first time in 6 months. I felt great while doing it, but my legs have felt like poop for a week now on the bike.
I also decided to go ahead and do a 4.2 mile run here in Denton. I always tell myself, “It is just a training run. No need to kill it.” But once they say go I have trouble not trying to race. I chased my friend (who is a much faster runner than I) into the darkness of South lake park. I thought to myself, “This sure is a dark run for a Christmas light run.” I took over the lead only for a moment before a high school cross country runner bolted by my friend and I. My friend then accelerated to keep the boy in sight. I watched my friends dreads as they swung back and forth, trying to get as close to his back as possible without clipping his feet. He later told me he was glad I kept clipping his feet, because it made him speed up. We ran as 2nd and 3rd for a good 3 miles before we hit the hills! I made the first couple in his draft but was dropped on the third as his breathing never seemed to get as loud as mine while going up. Now I just had to pace myself and try to hang in. I was kind of glad he dropped me, because I was not supposed to be racing anyway. Now I could just stay aerobic for the rest of the race.
I was pleasantly surprised that I came in 3rd only 39 seconds behind my friend who out-sprinted the cross country kid for 1st. A time of 26:55 for 4.2 miles had me stocked considering I have not done any speed training.
That was good and fun, but the next morning was the trip up to Oklahoma for some serious training. I felt great until I tried to pedal my bike. We were not even going fast, and I felt like I was beginning the time trial of my life. My legs were screaming for mercy. I told my friends that I knew my way around and that they could go ahead, yet they slowed down. I was mad on the outside but glad they slowed on the inside. The climb up Mt. Scott came to quick. Immediately I was dropped by the first turn. My legs had no strength to turn the pedals over. I gave it my all just to make it up in my granny gear. cut my ride Saturday very short at 1:40. We planned on 4 hours but just was not happening for me.
Saturday evening we went into Medicine Park for some dinner. After scaring all the locals in the restaurant with our hysterical laughing and watching my friend try and eat the biggest, sauciest, chicken Alfredo I have ever seen, we went back to our campsite to sit by the fire and make sweet music. I worked on my tribal dance around the fire while playing the Jinbeh as my friends all swapped instruments and sang together.
The friends I have right now are the best I have ever had, and I met them all through racing and training.
Sunday morning I woke up, wishing it was not 25 degrees outside, to go pee outside the tent. After some breakfast and hiking around the local trails we suited up for some cold cycling. My legs felt a little better but not good enough to do the planned 5 hour ride that day. I only made it up Mt. Scott twice with a total of 2:20 ride time. I like to keep the fun factor in my training so I was happy with the ride. Any more and I would of felt miserable riding.
We packed up to eat at the Meers Hamburger Stop just outside of the park. What an amazing find we made that day! Great food, great people, great feel, and great location. After stuffing our faces in 1/2 lb longhorn burgers, frickles (fried bread and butter pickles), and peach cobbler with homemade icecream we started the trek back home to our normal lives.