Yesterday was a fine day for cycling. Jumped on the Specialized Venge and rolled through 18 miles with a cutback through Fermilab for some scenic riding. It wasn’t a very fast ride. 15.8 mile average. About the equivalent of an early season March ride.
I could feel right away that much of the riding strength built up over the summer had dissipated. It happens fast when you take a couple weeks off. Moving boxes and packing has taken all the extra time in my schedule. My feet hurt plenty but my thighs have pretty much gotten a free ride.
It takes even longer to warm up when you’re a little out of cycling shape. That means you have to go easy on the uphills and wake up the smaller synapses. If you can. By the time I turned east with the wind the body recalled what it was supposed to be doing, and the pace picked up. It’s a funny thing, but late in the season like this, my patience for cycling wanes a bit. The idea of a two or three-hour ride seems less appetizing. It’s not that I don’t have the flexibility to go out during the day. I do. It’s more like, “To everything there is a season…”
Which is why I got the tuneup done on the Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike that has served me since I took up cycling more seriously 15+ years ago. I love banging around on that bike in the winter months. It’s like trading in the road bike for a slower pace if you’re riding outside. Yes, the computrainer awaits, but we’ll get to that soon enough. Riding the mountain bike through forest preserves on dim November days is a great transitional activity.
But first, we have a 10K or two coming up, and a half marathon in Madison the second week of November if all goes as planned. Sue turned to me this week and said, “I do miss the bike a little.” But her run training is going well and has a renewed emphasis on tempo, cadence and speed specific workouts. It’s fun to watch your training partner trying new things, and having fun.
I ran 20+ miles last week and would have done a bit more but my ISO Triumphs are worn out. I went to three different stores and all of them were out of my size. A new version comes out this week, and I’ve ordered a pair.
But to keep running and plan for the upcoming races I went to the running department of a box store that rhymes with Rick’s and bought a $75 pair of Nike Vomeros, or something like that. I want something light that I can possible use for racing shoes in combo with the Saucony shoes I’ve worn consistently now for two years.
A week ago I tried out a pair of Brooks Glycerin, $150 shoes that I bought at Dick Pond Athletics. They’re $150 shoes but I use two $15 rewards coupons earned through prior purchase values. The Brooks felt great for the first two miles of a four-mile run that day. I was excited and clipping along at 7:30 pace thinking I’d done a good thing with the new purchase a familiar ache started flaring up in my Achilles tendon.
We all have our physical quirks and one of mine is a problem with heel counters that are too high or lean in too much toward the Achilles. I ran around in the store but probably that was not enough stress to really check out the shoes. I knew that I’d probably made the wrong decision on the Brooks.
It was only a quirk of fate that put me in my first ISO Triumphs, a shoe with a benign enough heel counter that I’ve had no Achilles problems the last two years.
But I was stuck with the Brooks because I’d worn them running, so I gave them to my son Evan for his upcoming 30th birthday present. He loves the shoes, and he’s terrible about buying new ones often enough on his own. So the universe found a little equilibrium.
I’ve done one three-mile run in the new Nikes and they seem forgiving enough around the heel counter as long I don’t put the laces through the ankle holes along the side of the shoe. If that trick keeps working, I’m doing some intervals on the track to test them out for racing.
All this stuff is necessary when you’ve got a few miles on your body. We can’t that in so we make the best of it with what we put on the feet, how we train and what kind of tradeoffs we can manage with multisport activities. Keep moving, that’s the only trick.