Over caffeinated Wednesday mornings on a snow day make for a wonderful opportunity for a work week check in. Following my discovery that I hadn’t taken a day off all year Cratty ordered Monday to be an off day. I stayed busy by cleaning, hanging out with Eko, and cooking a huge pot of my famous jambalaya. I also listened to far too much WEEI throughout the day and felt like I knew every painful and annoying detail about the Patriots win and impending game with the Steelers. I did look at my bike for a second which gives me some sort of credit for the day, right?
Tuesday: Slept in until roughly 5:40 which is absurdly late for me during the work week. No morning ride was planned and following the four day weekend I had a pretty good plan in place for my work week. No need to rush so why not bank some extra sleep? In the afternoon I had a meeting that I had forgotten about and I needed to run to the store. Mary decided to take Eko’s afternoon patrol which was really helpful in terms of getting me on the bike at a reasonable hour. While a lot of folks have best friend duty Mary and I really spoil Eko on a day to day basis. Walking him doesn’t mean going outside so he can take a quick pee. Walking Eko means at least thirty minutes often in the woods on the trails. He gets this twice a day with some of his walks covering five miles at a time. He’s pretty freaking fit for a fifteen pound best friend.
The ride was totally chill especially given the rest week mentality and the previous day off. I spun pretty easily at 185 watts and my heart rate initially struggled to get over 110. In previous years I would have worked harder to ensure that my heart rate was at at least 127 bpm. What was happening was that I was probably doing way too many recovery rides at 225 to 230 watts just trying to trick my brain into thinking that I was working hard enough. I am really locking into a rhythm of trusting the wattage and letting the heart rate stay as low as it wants on easy days. Ended up with sixty-five minutes for the ride. A good start to the week with only seven hours planned.
Wednesday: Up early for a shakeout before work with an afternoon session planned. The snow didn't look serious and I fully expected to go to work on time. Roughly forty-five minutes in Mary informed me that school was cancelled. Had I expected this I would have prepared a little bit more pre ride and knocked my workout out of the park before six am. Managed seventy minutes at 188 watts with an afternoon date with Trainer Road. Trainer Road to follow this afternoon!
Speaking of Trainer Road I have decided that I am going to start referring to it as The Robot. The Robot tells me what to do and I do what it tells me to during the workouts. The Robot likes it when I hit the numbers that I am supposed to hit. The Robot reinforces this behavior by showing me a green bar when I am doing a good job being a practical cyclist. The Robot flashes a red bar at me when I am being an idiot or when I’m not doing my job on the bike. The Robot can be sort of fun but mostly The Robot is an emotionless taskmaster that doesn't really care if I get the work done or not. The Robot loves making graphs. I think The Robot knows how much I like looking at graphs. When I do a good job The Robot makes a really nice graph that gives me joy to look at. When I do poorly The Robot makes a crappy graph that makes me feel shame and worthlessness. I’ve just recently started working with The Robot and already it has tremendous power over me on a twice weekly basis.
Wednesday afternoon I did an over / under workout with The Robot. Following the initial warm-up the workout itself was a series of five minutes at 226 watts followed immediately by five ten minute intervals at 283. I was feeling a little feisty and over caffeinated so I upped the wattage to 231 and 287 the first three quarters of the workout. The Robot was being a total asshole this afternoon. My guess is that he took exception to my earlier quips about his lack of emotion. The Robot needed his software updated before the ride and was being a real jerk about picking up the ANT signal from my power meter. Stupid Robot. Given that I was amped to get going I didn't restart my MacBook after the software upgrade. The Robot ended up being super glitchy the first thirty-five minutes of the ride which was super frustrating. My normal positive reinforcement bar kept freezing with the timer so I was forced to rely on average power on my Garmin while the glitch worked itself out. Not a great day for The Robot. I worked pretty hard the last five minutes of the fourth interval and put in a pretty sustained effort on the fifth to close things out. Between the two rides on the day I ended up with three hours and forty-five minutes. Combine those efforts with two walk runs with Eko and shoveling the driveway and my butt is thoroughly whipped.
Hey check it out a graph!
Thursday: Thursday morning I was tired! Wicked tired in fact and I felt like a zombie walking around the house at 4:00. My brain actually felt weird as I patiently waited for the dark roast to finish brewing. I literally am not alive before I have my coffee. I am most assuredly a morning person but until that first cup of coffee is down the hatch at roughly 4:25 I am not a funny functioning human being. Thursday morning after the workout and day full of activity seemed especially bad. Unfortunately there was no choice in the matter. I had a department meeting immediately after work followed by a meeting for the library gardens subcommittee that Mary and I are apart of at 5:00. The ride had to be done in the morning or the day was going to be a zero. Super easy spin at 180 watts before getting out the door with Eko for a walk.
Friday: Up early again because of a work commitment in the afternoon. The dreaded Friday bus duty finally caught up to me so I would be at school until after 4:00. Mary and I had a date planned so an afternoon ride was off the table. Another easy spin heading into the weekend.
Saturday: Date with The Robot. More over under work on tap for the early afternoon. Reflecting this week on training from previous winters I am convinced that this is going to be the difference maker. In years past my workouts in the winter were pretty basic. Three or four by ten minutes was the standard that I built to throughout the winter. The effort would get harder with each and I was essentially just riding as hard as I could for ten minutes at a time. This was mildly successful but I am really seeing the bigger picture now with the work that Cratty has me doing. I want go into too many specifics because it’s all mind numbingly boring but the bottom line is that I think I am going to be a whole lot faster because of what we’re doing. The directive from The Robot was basically an over under two by twenty followed by a weird over under ten minute interval with some high wattage work to at the end. My body held up really well and the effort felt pretty manageable. Fighting a head cold from the germ factory so a couple of Sedated artificially increased my heart rate. Riding at the specific wattage makes managing the heart rate so much easier. Late in the affair my HR was hovering right at 180 and if felt totally sustainable which has me pretty excited at this stage in the game.
Sunday: Off! Rest weeks rule! Seven hours and twenty-two minutes for the week with two killer workouts. Heading into a 12, 13, 14 three week cycle with some difficult workouts on the horizon.