It’s one of those days where I need to tell complete strangers about how badly my butt hurts. Because it does, along with my back and my legs and my eyeballs and my soul. Yesterday I staggered out the door of my office with one hand fully grabbing the right side of my butt and made it twenty feet down the hallway before it even registered that, hey, awesome, a coworker was walking behind me. There’s no subtle way to play that off.
There is a story behind this level of woe. Once upon a time, last Friday was a field test to determine my new power zones for training. I’m supposed to do this test annually, but missed it last year after injuring my knee while literally skipping around on Valentine’s Day in a moronic haze of post-adorable-rom-com bliss. Since I hadn’t done the test in two years, I decided that meant this year’s results should show twice as much improvement. I also thought the results had to show world-class potential and a strong likelihood to medal in every Olympic event involving a bicycle or I would expire from misery. I hardly slept the night before the test because of the anxiety. I was going to WIN that damn field test!
It ended up being bitterly cold that morning and my cleat fell off a few times, but I rode as hard as possible (like, bleeding out the eyes kind of hard) and came away with a new functional threshold power that I felt good about. Good as in, let me work this into conversation with everybody along with my SAT score and maybe my college GPA because I’M IMPRESSIVE AND YOU GIVE A SHIT.
So then came the first set of intervals using my newly-established and markedly higher power zones. Weather forced me indoors on the trainer and yesterday’s ride was brutal and long, but I was able to hit the right zone for what amounted to an hour of riding at my lactate threshold. GO ME. But then I could hardly walk for the rest of the day and agony oozed from every pore and THEN I had to do the same workout again this morning. It was ugly; as in, cried twice, snotted and drooled a lot, texted my coach after the first interval kind of ugly. She wrote back immediately and said she thought my new zones were a bit high and that yesterday’s ride was likely done at my VO2 level, so props to me for knocking it out but yeah, it made sense that I was trashed.
I felt a little better after hearing that, but still spent the next two hours forcing my body to work HARDER HARDER HARDER. It was like trying to keep screaming long after your voice has gone; the output got sadder and sadder while I rocked back and forth and grimaced and hunched and changed my grip on the bars sixty times in hopes of finding the perfect position that would suddenly give me an extra fifty watts.
When it was finally done, I crawled into the shower and waited to die. Then I went to work and discovered that the elevators weren’t in service and I had to walk up five flights of stairs to my office. I almost turned around and went home, but instead I persevered like a CHAMPION and now here I sit, over six hundred words into what boils down to one long complaint.
The lesson to take from this is that a field test is the time to establish workable training zones, not strive for world domination. LESSON LEARNED. Now I am going to go rub my butt and cry in the corner.