Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lesson learned.

Well, it may not look like it from this photo, but spring has finally (FINALLY) sprung! SJV and I have a race (Grand Rapids 1/2 Iron Distance) in less than two months. *Gulp* So we've been trying to get in good, quality trainer workouts during the week, but have been anxiously awaiting a forecast that would let us get in some nice long miles outside.

As proof of what a dork I am (and how fantastic SJV is) I was ecstatic when SJV brought home booties for my bike shoes. Fantastic present, Sugar! So, armed with our booties, our footsies would be protected from the wind and we could go on rides in less than perfect weather. Game ON!

Last weekend the weather was supposed to get up to the mid-50s, so we waited to start out to the suburbs, hoping to get out on the road once it was a bit warmer. I had a bowl of cereal before we left, got all my gear together, and we headed out. This was the first ride of the season, so I was a bit out of practice - there's a lot to take, and a lot to remember, so we took our time. I was so excited! Our first outdoor ride of the season, as a married couple, with my new powermeter... I had ants in my pants and was literally jumping around as we got ready.

We got out to our starting point and began putting together nutrition, etc....

About that time, I began to feel ... hungry. Now, normally not a big deal. But I had my heart set on getting out on this ride, like, IMMEDIATELY -- so I dismissed it. I had already had some cereal (about two hours before) so that should be enough, I figured. I also didn't have a whole ton of nutrition with me. I had bottles and scoops of nutrition (EFS, in case anyone's wondering, because Belly *perspires* a lot and needs that extra sodium). But I had nothing solid. Anyhoo, I felt like this:

This, dear readers, is called foreshadowing. (Cue the dark music!)

We started out, and it was indeed cold. It was also amazingly windy. The wind seemed to come from one direction, and then swirl around and come from the other side.

I was glad to have a hood on, and dressed well, but ... my power wasn't even close to feeling *right.* I was also paying too much attention to my new powermeter. And I was Mrs. Cranky-Pants. For real. We planned on doing 30 miles, but about 10 in SJV looked at me and said ..."Maybe we should call it, Sugar." Although inside I was nodding my head, outside I had a bit of a temper tantrum. "No!" I said defiantly. "We can do this! And we said we were going to do 30..." But SJV -- as gently as he could -- suggested that riding in this wind was harder than a normal ride (which was true) and that we were beating ourselves up... and it was early in the season... this wasn't meant to be a "killer" workout...

Finally I relented, internally relieved that we were going back. But when we got back to the car (after 10 more miles of unrelenting wind) I got out my pity-pot and sat right down in it. I looked at my power data from the new powermeter and was totally, 100% dejected. "No!" I said, looking with disbelief. "I am so weak! What have I been doing? Oh my god!" My head started spinning...

SJV just sat, knowing by now what low blood sugar looks like and sounds like from little Belly. He said he wished I wouldn't be so hard on myself, and that we really did have a good ride. I listened in silence. So we went to Chipotle before heading back ot the city. After we had some Chipotle (which I said I "didn't deserve" before scarfing it down so fast I'm surprised I could even breathe between bites) I began to list off all of the good things from the ride. I felt better on the bike, my pedal stroke had improved, the hills felt much easier... I went off with a smile, and determination that this power meter reading couldn't have been a reflection of me at my best. In other words, I went through a TOTAL 180.

When, oh when, will I learn? Seriously. I know better than to go out on a ride hungry. (And yes, I know that knowledge is only part of it, but still. Sheesh!)

Fast forward to yesterday. Warmer day, and less wind. More importantly, I had a peanut butter sandwich before leaving the house. We got out on that ride, and I was Mrs. PermaSmile. I was smiling and waving at cars going by, pointing out cows and horses, laughing up hills, hooting and hollering down them. I was keeping up with SJV (mostly). And, even more tellingly, when we got to the turn where if we go right we do 30 and if we go left we do 40, we looked at each other and turned left. We felt great, and strong, the entire ride. (And, just in case anyone's wondering, 40 would actually have been the mileage for our "plan" and we are totally trained and ready for that distance.)

I got back to the car and stretched well, while laughing with SJV. And then I checked my power, which I thought would be better than last week.

My average was 25 watts higher. On a ride that was 1.5 hours longer. Average speed was just as high as the best ride last year.

Best of all, I had a great time.

Lesson learned.

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Idgy the Cat

Idgy the Cat