Monday, April 8, 2013

Returning from a short hiatus (aka the Death Valley training report)

Whoops! Between a vacation and a busy week last with work and all, there is a lot of things to talk about. There has been good, bad, and just stuff.

Sorry about the delays, but here goes ...

The week before last, I got to spend it in Death Valley with my wonderful wife as a vacation for us, lots of picture taking for her, some picture taking for me, and then just because I'm a nutso aspiring triathlete in training ... I packed up my bike and took it with me for a little road training while I was there.

If you looked at what we packed, you'd think we were moving to Death Valley. No, really, there were only three of us going. :-)

The plan was that I was going to ride twice while I was there for about 17 miles and about 20 miles. I was going to do a couple of runs, and then some hiking around.

Lesson #42 for you in the triathlon playbook ... better be ready with plans L, M, and N because nothing ever goes according to plan A.

Unfortunately, on Monday while we were there I tried to go for a run up in the Panamint Mountains on the west side of Death Valley. I only got about 1.25 miles in before my ankle screamed at me to stop. It can be very insistent that way and when I don't do what it wants, it has a tendency to inflict pain to get my attention. I had to abort the run at that point. Now the good news is that I ran a good 1.25 miles non-stop. You may ask why that is good news? Because:

  1. It was non-stop
  2. It was at nearly 5000 feet of altitude and my normal runs are at 50 - 200 feet of altitude
  3. It was blowing me sideways off the road with a 20 mph wind
  4. I tried!
I learned some lessons. I need to look at how swollen my ankle is before I start for a run. A couple of times now that I've had to abort a run, I've noticed significant swelling in the ankle before the run starts. That needs to be a big warning sign. I suspect some of the swelling was from salty foods (lord, do they love their salt in Nevada) and some of it from travel. I also need to start wearing the compression sleeve I bought to keep it in check.

So, let's move on to the bike ride. I rode twice in Death Valley. Once from Furnace Creek to badwater and then from Stovepipe Wells to Furnace Creek. By the way, anyone who tells you Death Valley is flat ... not so much! But they were fun rides. The second ride was a struggle as it was 98 degrees that day and I had a 10 - 15 mph headwind, so I didn't make it all the way to Furnace Creek, but I conquered the big hill that was in between the two and I learned a lot about riding with nasty winds and in high heat. I may not have accomplished all of my goals,
but I look at it this way. I went on vacation, took a bike, rode in the desert, and put in miles I've never put in before. Any way you cut it, I'm making progress!

 Hiking, I didn't do as much of as a liked because the ankle acted up and the rough and uneven terrain really didn't agree with it. So, did I get in as much training as I wanted, no. But I'm still proud and impressed with myself that I did manage to get in the training that I did.

I'm getting better about dealing with adversity in training and my coach has to talk me off of the ledge now less when things go sideways. I'm sure I will continue to learn that every athlete has bumps in the road or workouts that go sideways. :)