Stronger than I was, Weaker than I will be

This week was the first week that I felt like I had moved past the point of recovering from an injury and had gone on to actually training, building and reaching goals. It was fantastic. I can’t explain exactly how fantastic it was nor can I attribute it to any one thing. But! I’m going to look back at my training calendar and just keep doing it. ‘Cause I feel great!

Last week got off to a bit of a rocky start. As you know from last week’s post I had a plan to work out over the holiday weekend. It only half worked. The manual labor of assisting my parents with ripping out all of the landscaping in their backyard put a bit of a damper in the plan. But hey, you only have one family. I’m happy to help them anytime they ask. I got right back on the wagon on Tuesday and I felt so good after that workout that I decided it was time to face my fears.

sanibel causeway

I have been avoiding riding the Sanibel Causeway for almost a year. I was out with the girls last year doing bridge repeats, having my best ride to date, when I attempted to stop at the top to take in the sunset. I promptly fell over.

At a complete standstill.

While still clipped in.

Sucked isn’t even close to how it felt.

You can see the race report from just a few days later here. What I learned later and what that fall brought to light very brightly was that I has a serious misalignment from my T4 and 5, through my pelvis, hips, left knee, and on down to my left ankle. While I was having a full-blown panic attack about stopping at the top of the bridge (Sanibel and I don’t get along in my head) that wasn’t why I couldn’t unclip. When I went for some much-needed physical therapy a few weeks later, my eval showed that misalignment and when asked, I could barely rotate my ankle properly to unclip – even though I felt like I was pushing with everything I had. My coach and PT still isn’t sure how I managed to drag myself through the race. I’ll just chalk it up to being an adventurous kid with a high pain tolerance.

Anyway, I digress back to that situation because I haven’t rode that causeway or done repeats since. However, TriRock has a few causeways along the race route so I need to get back to climbing. I was feeling so good about the training I had been able to get in during the past two weeks so I decided Wednesday was the day.

I came home from work, quickly threw my gear together and was off. And what a ride it was! As I rode through Punta Rassa, I decided I was just going to attack it. I mentally and physically threw everything I had into making it up that causeway as quickly as I could. And I did! The wind was with me a bit, which of course helped but compared to last year’s efforts I was able to adjust my gears only minimally and make it up faster than I ever had before. I was elated. Even turning around on Sanibel into a full headwind couldn’t erase how excited I was.

comfort zone

Typically, I would have dreaded riding the bridge back into a headwind but I didn’t even think about it. As I made way through the rolling bridges from Sanibel to the Causeway I just kept thinking “embrace the burn” and the Jodster’s favorite “The wind is my friend, the wind makes me strong.” As I hit the base of the Causeway, I attacked again. Admittedly it took a bit more effort but I still did it faster and more efficiently than I had last year. I am so flippin’ excited to be making progress with this climb, there aren’t words. I feel like I have finally found bike love and I can’t believe it took me this long, I’ve been missing out!

You may be wondering when I finally came down off this high. So far I haven’t. Even with meeting this little bugger on my way home, nothing could deter how happy I felt with this ride or the rest of my training last week.

roofing nail

The next day I met a few girls from the FGCU swim team working out at my gym and I was able to keep up with them through their warm up. Even as they started their set and passed me like I was standing still, I was still excited that for a brief moment I kept up. I am finally able to see and feel that not only am I making progress but I am gaining and building. It may be too early for this, but I am now hopeful that even though I will have to bump down to the Sprint, TriRock will be exactly the redemption race I had planned – crushing my previous attempts. Woot woot!

Admittedly with all this progress, there has been some parking it on the couch with my favorite run buddy. I figure we’ve earned some R-n-R time.



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