photo by Steve Penland

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How I Spent My Recovery Week

I used to hate recovery weeks. My “going to the oval” routine was disrupted, my legs felt funny, my appetite increased, and I always felt like a slug by the time I was allowed back on the track again. I knew recovery weeks were necessary and so I did them—but I didn’t like them.

Now, though…well, now that my skating is sucking pretty extensively and pretty consistently, I was actually looking forward to a recovery week. Especially since Coach TieGuy was kind enough to synch the week with the Fourth of July holiday, when the Hubster and I were heading to the family cabin in Grand Marais.

In the past, recovery weeks—even those at the cabin—have come with a set of workouts: biking, yoga, Wii, and so on. This time, TieGuy gave me free rein to do whatever I wanted to do, even if that ended up being nothing. For the first time in 4 years, I was looking forward to that. Mentally, I need some time away from the reality of how much I suck.

So how did I end up spending my recovery week?

Well, I managed to come up with a few workouts...

Day 1

Endurance Workout

1X (packing an Avalanche full for the cabin)

1X (5.5 hours @ 70 mph )

5X (carry load of stuff up 25 steps to cabin on top of cliff)

Day 2

Interval Workout

2X (walk dog one mile)

1X (drive to town for more food)

Rest of day: sit in cabin reading, eating, and glancing smugly at outdoor thermometer, which is reading 50 degrees, as opposed to the 100 degrees back home right now

Day 3

Morning Workout:

20X (fetch tools/hold tools/look for tools for Hubster and Brother-in-Law while they work on cabin plumbing and construction projects.)

3X (Remind Hubster and BIL that “hey, Wrench Wench” is not the proper way to ask for a tool)

Afternoon Workout:

4 hrs. Endurance workout—off road motorcycle ride, with intervals of:

100X (stand up on motorcycle. Hold “static sit” 30 seconds through rough terrain. Sit down on motorcycle)

1X (tip motorcycle over on right leg)

1X (bench press motorcycle off right leg)

1X (Explain to Hubster that yes, I know I fell over because I grabbed too much front brake and leaned too far to the inside when trying to navigate a 90 degree downhill turn—it’s kind of a signature move of mine)


1X (hobble back up hill and up 25 steps to cabin)

1X (hobble/tiptoe up to window and peek in, hoping to see “Separation Anxiety Hound” sleeping peacefully on her bed)

1X (see “’No Separation Anxiety, I’ve Found Something Fabulous’ Hound” lying peacefully on dog bed, surrounded by garbage and up to her eyeballs in an empty soup can)

10X (pick up garbage from floor, deposit back in kitchen garbage can)

Evening Workout:

1X (cook dinner for parents, Hubster, BIL at our cabin)

1X (walk down to parents’ cabin to watch Twins game)

1X (regret not having brought camera to parents’ cabin while watching 4 dogs play while waiting for Twins’ rain delay to end)

MinPin Puppy Intervals

20X (remove biting MinPin Puppy from lap)

5X (remove biting puppy from sleeping big dog)

1X (scoop up puppy in mid-pee, carry down stairs, attach leash, place puppy on ground, wait for puppy to pee again)

5X (chase puppy/grab puppy/remove newspaper-pillow-sock from puppy’s mouth)

1X (breathe sigh of relief as puppy collapses on father’s lap in a dead sleep)

Storm Sprints

1X (watch one inning of baseball before satellite reception fails due to incoming storm. Realize that it might be best to get back to own cabin before storm truly hits)

1X (run, with Hubster and dog, from parents’ cabin, across beach, up stairs to top of cliff, and into own cabin. No need for flashlight; continuous lightning provides sufficient illumination)

20 mn (stand in cabin doorway watching storm and holding screen door to prevent it from blowing violently open every 5 seconds. Wonder why cousins turn off all lights in their cabin simultaneously; realize that power just went out)

20 min (dwell on possible repercussions of power outage, including melting ice cream, spoiling milk, and the implications of sleeping in a pitch-black room)

1X (find flashlight in purse, remind self to smack the next person who mocks me for having a flashlight (3, actually) in my purse, and take flashlight to bed with me. Explain to Hubster that yes, I actually DO intend to sleep all night with the (turned off) flashlight in my hand)

Day 4

Morning Workout:

1X (wake up with flashlight in hand)

1X (meet power company truck entering cabin driveway)

2 min. walk

1X (meet power company truck leaving cabin driveway)

2min. (wonder how power company was able to get power back on in less than 2 minutes)

3X (drag bits of cut-up spruce tree from area just under the powerline it had fallen on, to beach for later burning)

“Gofer” Circuit Training:

1X (walk down stairs and across beach to where cousins are working on rebuilding sauna that was washed away in storm last fall and Hubster is working on fixing water system damaged in storm)

10X (walk across beach, up stairs, along cliff, into cabin basement to get tool)

10X (out of basement, across cliff, down stairs, across beach, deliver tool)

15X (lift camera to eye, aim, take picture, replace camera in pocket)

10 min (stand and watch the skilled people work)

Repeat set 5 times

Post –Workout Recovery

Icing—4X (jump into Lake Superior from rock, swim to shore as rapidly as possible)

Keira demonstrates proper icing technique.

Evening Workout—Beach Roast Fartlek

120 minutes (circulate among 22 relatives and 9 dogs at the pot luck “Beach Roast” dinner. Intersperse random intervals of roasting brat/lifting fork to mouth/engaging in short bursts of conversation with various uncles, aunts, cousins, and cousins’ kids/removing food wrappers from dogs’ mouths/taking pictures)


Diet Dew


Chips and Salsa


Potato Salad

“Mexican Fudge”—cheese/salsa/egg thingy

Day 5

Morning Workout:

Repeat “GoFer Circuit” from yesterday

Afternoon Workout

Only “Real” Workout of the Week:

40 minute easy bike ride with Hubster (also on bike) and cousin (on Rollerskis)

Evening Workout:

1X (drive to Grand Marais to pick up pizza for dinner)

20 mn (listen to local musicians while waiting for pizza on outdoor patio of pizza place. Also listen to locals discuss the condition of mountain bike trails we had been planning on for Day 6 workout—“the muddiest I’ve ever seen them.” Make mental note to relay this info to Hubster and cousin)

1X (bring pizza to parents’ cabin, eat)

Night Workout:

1X (leave “Loud Noise Averse Hound” in cabin. Leave kitchen garbage can behind closed door in cabin)

1X (walk down to beach in front of cousins’ cabin. Watch kids set off fireworks)

45 mn (reminisce with cousins after kids leave to go to bed)

Day 6

Morning Workout:

1X (Repeat “muddiest I’ve ever seen” comment to cousin and Hubster. Decide to forgo mountain bike workout)

60 mn (sit on beach with various relatives and dogs, talking about this and that)

Afternoon Workout:

180 mn (watch Twins game with parents)

MinPin Puppy Interval set

Night Workout

1X (drive to Grand Marais with cousins and cousins’ kids)

2 mn (watch Grand Marais 4th of July Parade. It’s a very small town)

90 min (Walk out breakwater with Hubster. While waiting for fireworks, make up for regrettable lack of “moonlight on Lake Superior” this trip by looking at “harbor lights on Lake Superior.” Watch fireworks. Stumble back across breakwater in the dark. Wonder why I didn’t remember to bring one of the three flashlights from my purse)


1X (see lightning, hear thunder. Before going to bed, place flashlight on nightstand by bed “just in case.”)

Day 7


1X (walk dog)

1X (walk all 4 dogs with father)

Endurance Workout

70 mn off-road motorcycle ride

Main Workout

20 mn pack

30 mn clean cabin

10x (carry load of stuff across cliff, down stairs, load into Avalance)


5.5 hrs @ 70 mph

Second Workout

Reverse Avalanche packing process

Survey mound of laundry and decide to do it tomorrow

On the plus side, a Recovery Week like this one makes me appreciate that I have lots of good stuff and good people in my life that are completely unrelated to whether or not I can make the lap times in my next interval workout—and I need to remember that when I start stressing about my suckalicious skating.

On the other hand, I’m beat. I wonder if I could talk TieGuy into scheduling a Recovery Week for me to recover from my Recovery week?

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