photo by Steve Penland

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Get Your Motor Runnin'...

I went to a new doctor yesterday, a guy with a sports medicine background who was recommended to me by a contact of Coach TieGuy's. I'm not convinced that my thyroid meds are optimized, and my regular doc (who I really like) really doesn't want to adjust them more. The new doc said he'd also want to look at the possibility of overtraining or other athletic-related factors, which seemed like a good idea from the "covering all bases" aspect, even though I don't see how I could go from "great ice season" to "month off" to "overtrained one month into the new season."

Anyway, after the consult (during which I'm sure I gave him way too much info, including whipping out my 2, 2-inch-binders--yes, 2 of them--of my workouts from '09 to the present, and deftly looking up answers to questions about such things as resting heart rate, from any given month since March 2009...I did leave the other 4 2-inch-binders, from '04-'08, at home...)...where was I? Oh, yeah, after talking to me, reviewing my labs and med history, etc, he said "I really don't think your thyroid is performing as well as it should. I'm going to up your meds... sounds like we just need to get your motor running."

I was very happy to hear that (although not as happy for the "Born to be Wild" earworm that I've now had for 2 days). My "motor," as evidenced by yesterday and this morning's workouts, is certainly not "running."

Yesterday was "German Endurance," a workout consisting of alternating periods of harder and easier skating. Yesterday was 7 X 7 minutes (1 easy-2 hard-1 easy-2 hard-1 easy). I used to hate German Endurance; I always dreaded hearing TieGuy's laconic "yup" in my earbud--the signal to go hard again. Of course, that was when I actually could skate hard, back when easy laps were 50 seconds or so and hard laps were 43's to 45's. Yesterday, the easy laps--which were not easy--were a minute or more, and the hard laps--which were very hard--averaged just under 50 seconds. Yes, that's right...this year's hard laps are last year's easy laps. Nice.

Today was tempos--race pace stuff. I had 2x500 meters, one 1000 meter, and a 1500 meter on tap. Fortunately I was able to skate first thing in the morning today--any time it rains after 2:00 or so, the oval staff isn't able to start squeegeeing the track until it opens the next morning and it usually isn't dry until after noon. And afternoon is when the Skate Park Punks, er, I mean, Skate Park Patrons (SPP) show up. Our oval has an aggressive skate park in the infield--ramps, rails, all sorts of stuff guaranteed to send anyone over age 21 to the hospital with multiple fractures. Unfortunately, the kids who use the skate park have a hard time reading and following the rules posted on the JumboTron alongside the track. They continually cut across the track without looking, try to drag the rails onto the track to practice on, and practice their Ollies and Stale Fish Saran Wraps on their boards and bikes in the middle of the track. I have to scream "watch the track" an average of twice per workout, which I'm sure endears me to the SPP but, with my lack of ability to turn or stop, it's better than the alternative.

Anyway, 8 am is way too early for your average teenage SPP to roll out of bed, so I try to get to the oval right at opening whenever I can, and especially when I have speed work to do--I dodge even less-well when skating all out. Today the oval was dry and, as a bonus, a friend of mine was skating this morning as well. I've probably done 99% of my training laps by myself over the last 5 years or so and, while I like skating solo--it makes it easier to keep data such as lap times, and to focus on technique rather than on keeping up with or not running over the person in front--it's fun to have someone else at the track to talk to. Since TieGuy left the state for greener pastures, I've been by myself at the oval (unless you count the SPP) the vast majority of the time, and it's getting old. So it was fun to have someone to talk to, to compare notes with, to get pointers from, and to skate with (and she was kind enough, even though she's way faster than I am, to skate behind me so my "data keeping" could proceed appropriately!).

This is from an inline race a couple of years pretend it's from today, picture me fatter, slower, and not lycra-clad...

But back to this "motor running"'s tempos were slow. Full laps in the 500's were a 40 and a 41; in the 1000 a 42 and a 43; and in the 1500, 43's and 44's. The scary part was, I felt OK about this until I looked back (in my 2-inch-binder) at tempos at this time last year. Yeeeaaaah...full lap in the 500 was a 37; 39's and 40's in the 1000 and 1500. I seem to be starting to get used to how slow I've become; when I hear "44" in a 1500 tempo now, I think "hmm, not bad" rather than "who tied the piano to my skates and why didn't I notice it?" If I don't get back on track, pretty soon I'll be smiling approvingly at my stopwatch as I transcribe 50-something-second tempo laps into my 2-inch-binder...I know that will be a reality at some point if I keep skating until I'm "old," but I'm not ready for that yet!

So, up with thyroid meds, and down with lap times...let's get that motor running!

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