Sunday, April 10, 2011

Recovery science learned the hard way

The Morgantown Road Race threw a couple curve balls my way last weekend. It began with a hint of snow and rain that postponed our start time. Ultimately, I just wanted to survive on a day like that. Once we started, I stayed at the front end of the category 3-4 field to avoid road spray and squirrelly riders.

I pulled three times on the way out to Waynesburg and felt pretty well. Unfortunately, on the first major climb out of Waynesburg I started to have some really annoying quadriceps cramps. At first I thought they would be short-lived and I could hydrate heavily to prevent any worsening but that wasn't the case as more and more area of my legs started cramping. I didn't even feel like I was near to using my real aerobic capacity and it didn't even seem like much of a pace increase so I was pretty frustrated. I had done the Charlottesville Virginia 10 Miler (a running race) the weekend prior and had a nice dose of delayed onset muscle soreness until that following Wednesday. I guess I dug a little deeper than I was accustomed to doing because my triathlon runs are longer but not at a 5:50-6:00 per mile pace. Prior to Saturday I hadn't really given too much thought to the true recovery necessary after being so sore because it hasn't happened in such a long time. I had lots of time to think about it once I was dropped at the top of that big climb though! I knew the rest of the race wasn't going to go well at that point so I tried to let off the pace, eat a little and then turn it into a time trial workout. Ugghh.

After another 8-10 miles I realized that wasn't happening very well either. My legs were like lead and still cramping. Every push of the pace was matched with a quad, hamstring or adductor cramp. I finally decided it was going to be better to try to relax and admit it was an all around bad day instead of digging myself into a huge deficit. Cold and wet I finally finished the darn race, mentally ready to take on another warmer, drier, and more recovered day. Fingers crossed. The stats are pretty sad but graphs are still pretty nice:

Distance: 47.88 miles
Time: 2:40:20
Average speed: 17.9 mph
Average power: 216 watts
Average heart rate: 173 bpm
Max speed: 40.7 mph
Total ascent: 2740 feet