10 Days Off

Then seven days of antibiotics. This was the sickest I have been in a long, long time! That is what it took to heal the bronchitis and asthma symptoms I have been dealing with since Sea Otter. I have one more antibiotic pill to take and then I will be clear to go racing – just in time to ramp it up for Temecula.

I bet this was the best possible thing that could have happened….

I haven’t taken 10 days easy since after World Championships last season. In fact, I was running days after the event so I probably haven’t taken 10 days off in over two years! I mean, I have taken 4-7 days, but never ten in a row. I feel un-freakin-believable! Seriously. You lose absolutely zero fitness in ten days. I am sure if you started to string together a series of 10 day breaks from training up to the point where you are taking a MONTH off, sure, you will start to feel the effects of no training. But a ten day break after about nine weeks of hammering is awesome. I am stoked. Andrew, I bet you are reading this saying “I told you so”. He did tell me a million times that I was doing too much last year but I guess I thought I could work harder to get myself out of overtraining. Funny, it didn’t work. So for me to get sick forcing me to rest before I head into a big block of travel and racing is probably the best thing I could do to absorb all the training and racing I have done over the past few months. Magic.

I didn’t REALLY take 10 days off. I will give you the real lowdown of what I consider "OFF". I took two days completely off, nothing. Then I did a one hour spin with 40 minutes of super easy swimming with my heart rate at about 100bpm. Then I did 40 minutes of swimming with 30 minutes of easy running with my heart rate probably at 90 bpm (exaggeration but that was the effort). Friday I did an hour spin. Then I did two hours of riding (stupid) on Saturday and felt horrible the next day trying to do less than an hour (too much exercise for a cough). I did less than eight hours of essentially commuting on a bicycle that week with a couple of very crappy swims thrown in because I was so afraid of losing my swim fitness I just wanted to get in and touch the water.

After the easy week I took another day completely off the following Monday. Got healthier but still couldn’t sleep at night because I was coughing so much. So then I rode to Dr. Young’s office (best doctor ever!) and back (30 minutes easy). She said my asthma was acting up and I needed to take antibiotics, so I started immediately. I decided to take that day off from aerobic exercise and do some weights which instantly made my fresh legs sore as can be. Then the asthma medication cured me. I went out on Wednesday for four hours of riding. Probably too much but I was feeling so darn good and the weather was nice so I did it anyhow. Thursday I ran on my brand new sweetass treadmill and did the Simon legspeed special which was hard but fun since I was trying not to fall off the back of this treadmill going pretty much at sprint speed uphill. Felt sweet. Friday I took it super easy and baked a cake for my dinner party (which totally did not work the first time and I had to start over, the second time I was infinitely more successful – my advice is to make tortes with the eggs separated). Since then I have slowly ramped up my training to Saturday when I KILLED some intervals on the Computrainer. Like, annihilated them-made them my bitch. It was awesome.

Sunday Ross and I went mountain biking in some of the best conditions I have seen this year. The trails were MINT! I was sore and Ross was hurting me in the first 30 minutes of the ride until I warmed up. I complained that I was sore and could feel the intervals from Saturday. He said he thought I was riding pretty well. At which point I decided, yeah, I am riding pretty well, so our LFD ride (long fast distance) began in earnest and we rode a loop that usually takes three hours riding casual (but not slow) in two hours and twenty five minutes. I crushed it without even trying. Ross was stoked for me but mad at me for hurting him. So I took another day off today. I freaking LOVE days off.

Actually that is the theme this year. Less is more. I am aiming for the undertrained part of the spectrum this year since lots of work did not mean lots of results last year. I had scheduled a three hour long fast distance ride on Sunday with a run off the bike but since I crushed it in 2h25 I decided I was done and went running. I earned a free pass on the other 30 minutes.

Ross still beat me in our first intermediate sprint on the way home but I swear it was because the sprint was so fun and we were so close and it made me laugh to see how deep he was digging coming up beside me to beat me in our silly sprint for nothing more than bragging rights. The score for this year on the Elk Road sprint is Ross about 20 and Mel about zero. Even though I was closer than usual, Ross beat me solidly. He really is a natural at short fast bursts of speed. The next intermediate sprint I attacked him about a kilometer out and thought he was hit by a car it took him so long to come around the corner to the sprint line. He just gave up. But since I hadn’t rolled across the line yet he jumped with about 20 meters to go and beat me on that one too. DOH! Fun times.

When I went out for my run off the bike I felt so bad. So many things were bugging me. My heart rate monitor strap was falling off, my legs were still sore from the leg speed run I had done three days earlier, I was feeling the after effects of the long fast distance etc, etc… so I decided just do my off the bike loop (about 3 km of hilly and windy trail) as “geterdone” and ran it in 10:50 which for that loop is 10 seconds faster than my best ever feeling awesome time with people pushing me. On a run day feeling like dog poo that is sweet. I will take it.

So now I just need to get my swimming back on track. Unfortunately, time out of the pool is bad so I am focusing this week on getting some good feel in the water. A couple of last "tuner" workouts with one solid run strength workout and we will be head first into the season. I am getting ready for seven races in eight weeks starting May 18th. The plan is to get better and faster as I go from one race to the next.

Bring your “A” games people! The XTERRA US Championships Tour is about to start…and rumor has it some "other" World Champions are planning to attend. Should be exciting!

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