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May 11, 2007

Energy Debt

If you’d like a good illustration of just how OCD the sport of triathlon has made me, consider the following:

After Saturday’s long course race at Wildflower, I enjoyed approximately 24 hours of the “You know what? I just trained my butt off for two major races that went really well – I’m going to take it easy for a while” feeling, before my thoughts turned to, “Good golly – I’ve got to get training for the Ironman!”

That’s right – I was afraid (completely convinced, actually) that I’d get hopelessly out of shape if I took the entire week off to let myself recover. So instead of sitting around twitching and rocking like Rain Man waiting to watch Judge Wapner, I decided to spend some time in the pool to release some of that nervous energy.

(The fact that it was 90 degrees here every day this week certainly influenced this decision, as well – but that doesn’t really relate to the story.)

Truthfully, I can’t really refer to what I was doing as “workouts”. I was mainly trying to offset the flood of calories I had effortlessly consumed since last weekend.

For example, on Tuesday, I swam about 1500 easy yards to partially compensate for the dozen or so chocolate chip cookies I scarfed down the night before. On Wednesday, I swam about 2000 yards to compensate for a pint of Cherry Garcia. On Thursday … well, you get the idea. Let’s just say there were pumpkin muffins involved.

By Friday, most of my aches and pains from the race had finally disappeared, and my stroke began feeling smooth again through the water. So after about 1500 yards, I decided to test the motor with a set of 100-yd intervals.

Normally during a tough workout, I’ll throw down a set of 5 to 7 100s on 90-second intervals. When I’m swimming strong, I’ll finish each interval in about 78-80 seconds, leaving myself at least a 10-second breather before heading out again. When I’m over 80 seconds, that means I’m struggling, and whenever I finish an interval in greater than 85 seconds, I end the set right there.

I figured the 5x100s would be a good gauge of my recovery. Here’s how the set went down, along with my immediate thoughts at the conclusion of each interval:

1st 100: 75 seconds. (Hey, I’m still fast! That felt smooth!)

2nd 100: 78 seconds. (Whoa – really? I thought that seemed just like the first. Is the clock moving faster now?)

3rd 100: 80 seconds. (Ugh – that was hard work. These are hurting now.)

4th 100: 82 seconds. (Keep … breathing … )

5th 100: 84 seconds. (Hyperventilating, holding onto wall to prevent drowning)

So, um … I got my answer. Obviously Wildflower took a toll on me that I haven’t quite repaid yet. But soon enough, that debt will be paid, and I’ll start making deposits towards the next withdrawal.

I’ve got 12 weeks until Vineman. I haven’t discussed this race too much before now, but rest assured, you’ll be hearing much more about it in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, I’m going to get myself on the bike this weekend, and jump back into training mode next week.

I think that’s when I’ll start to feel better. Because all things considered, I guess I’d rather be fatigued than psychotic. But I suspect that later this summer, I’m headed for equal doses of each.


Robb 5/12/07, 3:22 AM  

Wow, Vineman. That will be a battle.

I like how you point to Rainman - that made me laugh. Too funny.

Backofpack 5/12/07, 8:16 AM  

I took this whole week off and I hate it! Next week I'm going to wrap and run - whatever I need to do to get out the door. I totally understand that OCD thing.

Annette 5/12/07, 1:02 PM  

I finally had a chance to read your Wildflower report. Sounds like a good race, despite all the aches and pains it produced. I hope you are back to 100% soon! I do have to say that I thought the leg shaving was more for swimming than biking. Shows what I know! I just do it for looks. ;)

I have to ask. . . did you kick The Bachelor's butt or was he a no-show? :)

I enjoyed your report. Good luck on your next goal!

olga 5/12/07, 4:37 PM  

OCD it is. I know how it feels:) I can't even take a day off without thinking of next race, and I have them spread out pretty damn tight! But energy debt is something to deal with for sure. We've got to find that middle ground to keep pushing yet not overdoing it. When you find a solution, write it up:) For now - go do a long bike ride, you have IM coming!!

Darrell 5/12/07, 11:03 PM  

I like this idea, it helps explain the way I've felt since Eugene, or am I just looking for an excuse?

I completely understand about moving on to the next goal.

Bruce 5/13/07, 4:01 AM  

I would love to swim a 100 in 85 seconds. What's the secret to that?

Megan 5/13/07, 4:29 PM  

I am all about taking the time off - I have finally trusted that my body will tell me when it needs rest, and then I need to give it to it. And pumpkin muffins? Yum........

I also wanted to say "Well-Played" for Wildflower. I have been off the posts recently, so I am trying to catch up here and there, so apologies for the lateness. I am really quite excited to hear about Vineman - I think I might take part next year!!!

Matt 5/13/07, 5:55 PM  

I train for the sole reason of being able to enjoy a pint of my fav ice cream. There's plenty of motivation there.

Mike 5/13/07, 9:52 PM  

Time off- are you nuts!?! I've seen guys/gals lose ALL their fitness with a couple days off!!! ;-)

not that you need anyone telling you but active recovery for a couple, 3-5 days will have you feeling great. That double you just did was HUGE- let your body absorb it!!

love your comments on the fatigued / psychotic ...i'm sure there be alot of that going around in the next couple months! ;-)

Robin 5/13/07, 10:44 PM  

You're sure you're not still blowing up that balloon are you? ;-) Taking it easy is the hardest thing on triathletes, isn't it!

Your Wildflower Race Report had me laughing and nodding my head in total sympathy, and wishing I'd been there to meet you and all of the other fabulous tribloggers. You seem to be able to keep an amazing perspective on all that happens, I'm sure that will serve you well on your journey to Vineman!

Deene 5/14/07, 8:25 AM  

heh, I know what you mean about nervous energy, I tried to relax yesterday so i started cleaning. only when you move in seconds esp. in swimming, i move in minutes.

Jeremy 5/14/07, 4:54 PM  

Don't sell yourself short...that swim set was still done with some pretty legit splits.

Curly Su 5/15/07, 5:49 AM  

i think all of us have a fair amount of ocd in us...

nice meeting you last week!

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