The trouble with making your own training plan and then unreliably following it is that sometimes your body’s beliefs about what it should be doing do not match up to what the timeline says you should be doing. Three weeks out from Alcatraz, this last week should have been my highest training volume week before I start my taper. My body, however, was pretty clear on the fact that I’d been going hard for a few weeks and it was ready for its recovery week. It expressed this opinion rather loudly with an accompanying cacophony of stiffness, sore muscles, and a screaming desire to faceplant into a pillow at 8pm.
Guess whose desires won?
I did try to keep things going over the weekend and get in some quality swim/bike/run. On Saturday morning, The Accomplice and I set out on an adventure to find the Atlantic Ocean and swim in it. I was in search of exceptionally cold water and a place to try out a DIY sleeveless wetsuit. Unfortunately, what I found was water in the lower to mid 60s, 3-4 ft waves, and currents too strong to safely swim through. We did learn that it’d be great to come back out another time and do some serious biking out there. They have shoulders the size of car lanes that stretch for miles and miles.
Swim scuttled, I requested that we stop at Sandy Point so I could at least do a few hundred yards in the improved wetsuit. We made it there in the afternoon and were greeted by 1000s of people in the parking lot and the beach. To our joy there was a blues festival there that day. I was able to swim a bit in the small square of unrestricted water, but again, the water was too warm. Bah. I was pleased that the wetsuit felt better than the full sleeved. I do still think I’m too buoyant and get tossed around more than is desirable, but at least it’s not exhausting to lift my arms. Six hundred meters later, I hopped out and tossed on my shoes for a quick .8 mile “transition” run. I needed to see how bearable it was to run without socks. For less than a mile? Totally fine! Sand between the toes is still the devil no matter if you’re wearing socks or not, but the rest I can live with.
Despite not training much on Saturday, I woke up on Sunday still tired, sore, and hungry. I made the executive decision that I would not try to force a long workout and instead would relax. And by relax I mean go on a three hour kayak outing with my mother on the sunny, windy Potomac. We kayaked about 6 miles total, going upstream halfway and then turning back to a sudden and unwelcome headwind that created waves and an odd whitecap. She and I take the kayaks out once every week or two during the summer, but this was the first time either of us had done it since last year. It was as fun as I remembered it, but not exactly a recovery. Afterward, I went home and focused on cooking, which I do genuinely find relaxing. Mushroom risotto, rhubarb ice cream, and asparagus frittata rounded out the evening.
I’m going to try making this coming week a killer training week before doing a two week taper for Alcatraz. I think it will be fine. I’ll be slow–hell, perhaps I’ll be the last person to finish–but I am starting to feel semi-confident about finishing.