One of the things I like best about cycling is all of the places I get to explore, the back roads that most people never get to see or experience. I like seeing new things, hearing new things and smelling new things. I like the wind on my face, the sun beating down on me.
Unfortunately, the 75 miles I put on my bike last week got me nowhere - literally.
I've been experiencing a bit of pain in my left calf and right ankle/shin (I can't quite pinpoint it) during my last few runs. I hadn't written about it or mentioned it to many people because, well, if I actually say it aloud, it's more real. Right?
I didn't want my mind to wander (any more than it already has) about the possibility of being, ugh, injured. So if I don't talk about these pains, they'll be less of a factor in my training. Right?
Not to worry too much, I don't think it's anything serious. But I was (am) worried about it becoming something serious - especially with the Boston Marathon less than 100 days away - so I reached out to Coach Lauren as soon as I felt that it wasn't going to be just a one-run thing.
Her advice was to back off running for a bit, which I was secretly happy to hear because I could just sense that running on it was making it worse. I had a recovery week coming up anyway with fewer miles, so the timing was right.
My goal was to focus on cross training. Specifically, I'd do 10 minutes on the bike trainer for every mile I had on my schedule. Think about that a bit. It's a lot of miles on a trainer. Luckily, I had "only" a 10-miler on the schedule for my long run.
Let me be clear, 100 minutes is still a long time on the trainer. It's just better than the alternative of riding 150 minutes, which is what I had on my schedule the previous week.
Surprisingly, I actually liked adding the bike trainer into my training routine, and Coach Lauren is going to build a cross-training day into my schedule from here on out.
Turned out, I didn't mind pedaling "nowhere," and I enjoyed being able to pull out the trainer and spin in the living room while watching television or chatting with TC. I liked that it gave me a legitimate excuse to take a break from running outside in the cold and snow. Shh, don't tell anyone.
Still, cross-training bike miles would have been much easier and more enjoyable in the summer or fall or spring. Anytime but winter, I guess.
In all, I put on 75 miles (a little less than four hours on the bike) in my living room this week. And my legs - and mind - held up fine.
Last night was my first test run after a little more than a week off. I went to the gym (in the midst of a major snowstorm, so I was one of four people there) and hopped on the treadmill.
I didn't feel any of the sharp pains I'd felt during my last few runs - and, bonus, all of my favorite running songs seemed to come up in my Shuffle. I stopped at four miles, even though I felt like I could keep going.
Everything was back to normal? I say that with a question mark because I'm not entirely convinced yet.
The plan now is to ease back into some easy, short runs. Don't overdo it.
Fingers crossed that my feel-good legs continue when I venture for a farther, outdoor run on Saturday and that a week of rest did my banged-up body some good.
Maybe I shouldn't think of the trainer as a trip to nowhere. After all, it took me quite far in my training and recovery.
**REMEMBER, I'm running the Boston Marathon to help save lives!**
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