The hard week. I’d been looking forward to this week since the beginning of this cycle – I believe I even stated it in an earlier post. In fact, I know I did. It started out great, I nailed my treadmill intervals, I got in a long run (unexpectedly) that went supremely well. I got in my second lifting session of the week Friday afternoon, which went very well. But then things got a little lackluster. Saturday I was aiming for a longer session on the trainer, with a nice run afterward. Well, time got away from me, and I was SO sore from lifting on Friday, that my ability to put forth effort was pretty dismal. I guess I have some work to do in that department, still. I know this, of course, but boy, I certainly wasn’t expecting soreness on that level. Ouch!
Sunday I was looking forward to a day in the pool. I’ve been recording my lamentations on this subject as of late – as many of you know – so I was excited to finally be able to get in the pool for my usual, Sunday 10am swim. Once again, I am out the door in record time. Upon arrival at the pool, I see a sign posted with the words “Pool is OPEN. Temp 70 (Dec. 1)”. Better than 67, I thought. I inquired at the desk what the temperature was today. “Well…she just took it, and it said 63”. WHAT?! NOOOOOOO!!!! This can’t be happening. The swim gods must not be happy with me. The lifeguard saunters around the corner at that moment to say that it feels warmer than that, but it’s still chilly. I returned to thought. If it feels warmer, and was recorded at 70 a couple of days ago, it has to be warmer now. I sat on the bench in the locker room for about ten minutes. I decided to give it a go. I walked into the pool area, and stuck my foot in the water. Yes, definitely warmer than 63, and certainly warmer than what it was on Thursday. Alright, let’s do this.
It wasn’t that bad, but after 50 minutes, my heels were going numb, and my times were beginning to slow down. I was starting to get cold again. Really cold. It didn’t help that they were pumping more water into the pool. That wasn’t heated. I got more than half-way through my workout, but it still wasn’t enough. Damn. Now I’m getting mad. I can do without the pool for a couple of weeks, but not getting in a good 4000-5000y workout was really starting to get to me. I love swimming. I’m pretty sure it’s what keeps me sane. I love being able to stick my face in the water and just go, without having to worry about anyone or anything else. I love being able to work hard, really hard, without the wear on my body that is accumulated through running, and (to a lesser degree) cycling.
Although I was not particularly happy about the morning’s attempt to swim, I did manage to have a great yoga session in the afternoon. 90-minutes of leg-burning, core-strengthening, all-over-stretching later, I felt much better. I just feel so awesome when I get done with it.
I am now at the beginning of Week 8 – my recovery week. Even though I don’t feel I earned it, that’s not what it is about. I still had some hard sessions last week, and regardless, I have been building and increasing my work load over the last three weeks. It’s time to let the real work take place. I’ve said this to many people many times, and I will continue to say it: recovery is the most important part of a workout, the most important part of your training plan. Muscles don’t rebuild and become stronger while you’re working, they do it when you STOP. The little conversation within your muscle cells goes something like this:
Muscle cell #1: “Well, if she is going to keep working like this and breaking us down this much, whaddya say we one-up her and make ourselves stronger so we don’t break down at this same effort and load the next time?”
Muscle cell #2: “What a brilliant idea! The load seems light now….let’s use this time to our advantage! Let’s get stronger before she knows it!”
And that, my friends, is the beginning of the discussion on recovery. Put simply.
With that being said, onward to recovery! Let’s get stronger! (and keep our fingers crossed for a Thursday swim!)