Training Recap: Meltdowns and Bonks and Strength
I call this past week my roller-coaster week. Up and down and down and up! Physically and emotionally. There was no saying when I’d be on my up and then I’d be on the down. And I was totally bewildered by my apparent inability to control my emotions. I am a 1 or 0 kind of person, but for the most part I’ve learnt to even things out and this took me by surprise. It was quite a while after when I realized that it was middle of the training stress that was making me tired and stressed all the time!
I had my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and VO2 testing done. The VO2 data is what I’d use in my heart rate training but after discussing my RMR numbers, I did not even pay attention to the VO2 numbers.
The RMR test was simple enough – they put a mask on me and all I had to do was sit there and breathe. I think I fell asleep and had a good nap for 10-15min!
The numbers showed that I had very slow metabolism. Not good. So the number of calories I need with exercise allowance included for maintenance is between 1700-1800 calories/day. Which is pretty low. Calories fuel workouts and if I stick to the calorie count, my quality of workouts is likely to suffer.
So while I now have a proper answer to why I’m gaining weight even while watching what I eat, the answer doesn’t help me much right now. Because I was suggested that a better plan than watching calories would be to increase the RMR which is done through HIIT type workouts, which isn’t the main focus until Augusta.
Midweek was the absolute downs with me struggling to find a balance and every little thing overwhelming me. I had had a mini meltdown after a horrible hill repeats and barely passable swim.
Long girly conversations with my BRFs (thanks Dawn for taking the time and Shirley – I’m sending all the healing vibes for your foot!) and training partners/mentors and coach helped ground me back.
THIS is what I have come to love about my journey into endurance sports. Yes, I am challenging myself and I am redefining what was my impossible. But I love that I have met people through this journey that I can call up and talk and whine and sob and laugh and they will listen patiently while I get rid of the clutter in my head.
This is Dawn, Shirley and I in pre-cricket and pre-triathlon days when Dawn and I worked close together for Shirley to drive up for lunch. Are we ever going to sign up for the same marathon again, girls? Or even get to the point where we have lunch together?!
Saturday’s long run turned out to be a comedy of errors for a lack of better word. And called a comedy because otherwise it would just frustrate me no end thinking about it! I ended up with an Open Water Swim clinic during my usual run slot (it was a GOOD one, so no regrets there). So I thought I’d just run when the minions were at a birthday party. Except – it was a pool party and it started thundering. So I couldn’t drop off and go. And I ended up staying and chatting with other moms from school (a good de-stresser!).
It was finally 5pm when I got to run and then…. 30 minutes in, I get a call asking if I could please come home. Sigh. At least I got to talk to Luis, photographer extraordinaire for a bit!
I debated getting on the treadmill later in the night but I knew I had to prep for the next day’s bike ride and instead opted for dinner and bed.
Sunday: I had one goal for the long ride – to redeem myself after last week’s tired ride. No going into it feeling like it was going to be rough, no thinking that it was going to be long and rough. No thinking beyond pedal, pedal, pedal.
We had a big group and I was quickly left behind on the first hill. It’s the hills, always the hills !! I panicked for a bit when I came to the first regrouping place and there was no one there. But I knew all I had to do was follow the marks on the road at every intersection. Worst case, instead of doing one big 50 mile loop, I’d do a 30 miles and then 15 and then add on some more.
Being by myself was a little nerve wracking at first, but it gave me lot of time to focus on me and the things around me. I laughed and waved to the cows who looked at me with a huh look. I said hello to the horses who didn’t care what I was saying. I sang some old songs that reminded me of the feeling of the wind through my hair. I didn’t look down at my pace or heart rate, but I knew that I was giving it a good solid effort.
The group was not there at the second regroup point either, but I went on from there alone following the marks on the road and I went up *my* hill. This short steep hill is where I fell last year when I couldn’t make it up the hill. Still as much a monster as before! And a dog! Barbara was waiting for me at the intersection and ended up being my tour guide for the rest of the ride.
Barbara just got back from her 2500 mile bike ride all along the east coast of US and she took some great photos!
At about 2.5hrs I started getting tired and then completely bonked. The next 45minutes or so was miserable. I couldn’t even take advantage of the downhills. (Looking back at the elevation, there wasn’t much downhill anyway). Another group of riders overtook me at about 7 miles to go and Pam gave me one of her Hammer Perpetuam tabs. That and probably the bonk breaker I’d taken earlier worked to get me back to the start with a strong last 5 miles.
And then there was the brick run in the open sun with instructions from Coach to “not be afraid to push it”. Oy! Pushing it when it is close to 100F even for 30minutes made for one very very exhausted girl! What I felt very very happy was that my legs weren’t mad at me for pushing. My heart rate was and I’d slow down every so often, but it was a good run. No trace of the earlier bonk.
In all, it was a good ride (minus the bonk) and a good brick run. I think. And its back to the drawing board with Coach to figure out bike nutrition.
What did I learn from this week?
There could be so many tactical lessons that I can list but this week’s biggest gains has been understanding myself.
I’m no stranger to meltdowns. I hold pretty strong until I get to breaking point and something very trivial tips me over. So this one – reminded me that I need to be patient to let my body catch up with me. And the training will only get more intense.
As long as I realize that meltdowns are a part of the training cycle and I move on from there, it is all good!
When I look back at my training for Augusta, I’ve bonked 3 of the last 5 rides over 4hrs. I kept attributing every bonk to my lack of bike strength. After all, everyone keeps talking about just pushing through and not whining. So when I bonked, I didn’t complain. This time however, I decided that 3 strikes was enough and brought it up with coach.
And we are going to figure out how to fix the bonk.
Pushing through tough workouts is mental strength. Even when the workout was stressful and my heart wasn’t in it. Because the heart doesn’t always know what it wants. My mind does. And right now, it is Augusta 70.3. So if my heart wasn’t in those hill repeats, my mind and legs were. Accepting that we all have bad days but digging deep to find the strength to push through is important.
And I know that I have that strength in me.
And sometime last week, we passed this important milestone on the Long Road to Augusta.