Sunday, June 20, 2010

Resilience or Something Else?

It has often been said that endurance athletes are cut from a different mold.  Come to think of it, if you ask any other athlete involved in any other sport, I am sure that they would tell you the same thing; they too, are cut from a different mold.

However, not being an athlete in any other sport, I have become a student of the endurance sports, specifically Triathlon.  One thing that seems to be a common denominator amongst all triathletes is that we thoroughly believe that what we do, day in, day out, has no rival.  Hence, we are cut from a different mold. This is in no way intended to disrespect any other athlete in any other sport.

Yesterday, I had a fifty mile bike ride, followed by a fifteen minute brick on my training schedule.  As I went to bed on Friday night, it was my intention to wake up early enough to be out on the road by 6am since the heat and humidity was to be intense early in the day.

Unbeknown to me, those plans changed as I slept for when the alarm went off at 5:15am, I could hardly move.  My bulging disk (L3-L4) and my herniated disk (L4-L5) decided that it was time to remind me who was in charge... or so they thought.

It was a struggle to get out of bed and move around, I must admit.  For anyone who suffers from this kind of issues, it is a common occurrence.  Some days are good, others are bad, others like yesterday are really bad.  With each step I took I saw my chances of riding/running today diminishing fast.

I have been here before.  I know what to do.  Stretching is the key.  By doing this, I can help push the discs back in place reducing or totally eliminating the pain.  Most of the time this works. Most of the time the pain is not so intense however.  What this means today is that the discs bulged out more than normal.  But stretching I did.

Slowly but surely I started feeling relief.  As time passed I began to notice that the pain had become manageable, so I began to make plans to go ahead and get on my bike.  And so I did.

Around 10am I felt like I had to give this a try.  I wouldn't venture to far from the house just in case I got in trouble while on the road.  And so I went.

The ride started with no consequence and as the miles added up, I was feeling great.  I made it to a park near my house that has a mile loop.  I practiced my aero position, practiced my pedal stroke working on a smooth rotary movement as opposed to a piston like motion.  I also worked on gear management to help increase cadence.  This I did for about fifteen miles.  And then a very familiar sharp pain shot all the way from my lower back all the way down my left side.  I remember thinking, "now I've done it."

So I headed back home.

When I finished the ride, I had completed 2 hours with some 26 miles of pedaling.  There was no sign of pain so I thought I would give the brick a try.  Fifteen minutes was on the plan, so fifteen minutes I did.

I felt good, physically.  Mentally I felt great.  I had overcome an obstacle that could have been devastating for my training plan.  The rest of the day my back was tight.  Last night I had a good night, woke up this morning sore and in slight pain but no where near what it was yesterday.  Today I think I will take it easy.

So, was this an exercise in resilience or something else?  Only time will tell.  But, if history is a teacher, I know that all will be good and I shall go on.

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