If I was a better triathlete, I would’ve raced Peasantman (our local fundraiser/training tri) this weekend to dust off the old race day skills and scare myself into understanding how awful this halfiron is going to be next month. However, due to one of many miscommunications between The Accomplice and I, we headed down to Lake Anna to participate in the weekend of Peasantman activities but not actually to compete in the event itself. My main reason for wanting to go but not race was to get in an extra long bike ride (56 miles) plus some open water swimming.
Because the Accomplice and I are incapable of going anywhere quickly, we got a bit of a late start on Saturday morning on the drive down to Lake Anna. That, coupled with construction and the 150th anniversary of some civil war battle meant our normal 1.5 hour journey took 2.5 hours. More importantly, it meant that everyone was off and gone by the time we arrived. The Accomplice put her foot down about accompanying me on rides longer than 25 miles (weenie), so we agreed to meet up by me doing the normal 56 mile loop & her starting to bike in the opposite direction 2 hours after my start. This turned out to work pretty well and we met each other around mile 45.
After some futzing around and getting water/potatoes/sunglasses sorted out, I headed out on my longest solo ride to date. (I’ve gone way longer on the bike than 56 miles, but usually I have people with me or at least music.) I was not disappointed by the ‘solo’ness of this ride. Its loopiness meant, I only saw 3 other cyclists (going the opposite direction) during the entire time I was there. The rest of my 3.25 ride before I met up with The Accomplice was spent with cars and cows.
I had a lot of time to wonder whether this sport was actually any fun and I think what I decided was that it was…until I started getting injured. Then it became a lot less fun and a lot more like a chore. Likewise, this ride was fun for about the first 2 hours. Then it became decidedly less fun as my knee started bothering, my back started cramping, and my feet went numb.
I consciously went quite slow during this ride, as I have no sustainable effort yardstick for 56 milers. I finished, tired and desperately wanting to get off the bike, but not falling over exhausted.
Our late start meant getting back late into the swim clinic time. I changed and hobbled down to the beach area and managed to get a single lap in (350-400 meters or so, maybe?) before they pulled all the buoys. I probably could’ve stayed out there and just done laps back and forth, but I was a giant mass of doneness by that point.
The rest of the evening was spent with some friends of the Accomplice. We had a good meal and got back for an early bed time. Right before bed I remembered that I still had yoga to do for the day and set out to do a 20 minute practice.
And here is where, I think, it all went wrong. My back had cramped up when I got off the bike earlier, but it was mostly holding steady at a low level throb for the rest of the evening. My yoga that evening perhaps could’ve been more sensitive to that issue. Instead I did a few vigorous sun salutations and even a bit of bridge. I got up fine, but as soon as I went to bed, my back seized up &, as of this writing, still hasn’t quite unclenched.
When we got up at 5am to do some early morning Peasantman volunteering, I walked with a very dignified hunch & lifting things was right out. Even just standing (which we did for a few hours collecting money for parking) was painful.
It got marginally better as the day progressed, but it’s still ridiculously sore. I did some gentle ‘hurt back’ yoga last night that was very mindful of any bending and that seemed, if not to help, then not to hurt it at all. Today I can hobble faster but still don’t feel like I can stand up straight for long.
So yeah. My realization on the bike on Saturday holds true: this sport completely stops being fun when you can’t get healthy.