Friday, May 25, 2007

Everything but the Legs

I hesitate to even mention this because I have no idea whether or not I'll stick with it, but here goes: I'm riding the bike to work two days a week. It's only a 7 mile stretch, but it's criminally hilly all the way. When I say this I mean there isn't a single flat section to settle in. I'm riding the beater bike (the same one I use when I ride Haiden to school), but I'm dressed in full geek gear (jersey/obscene shorts/helmet).

Doing this involves some planning, as I have to pack two days of lunches and two changes of clothes in the car when I drive on Wednesday and remember to bring everything home when I drive again on Saturday.

What's interesting is the ease at which I've slipped back into my old bike-racing skin during these commutes. The chin instinctively rests on the shoulder to check the road behind me, the body slides back on the saddle to dig in with the glutes on the uphills, and the hands remember their place to either side of the stem as I crouch and tuck during the long downhills. The left arm even instinctively swings upward with an open backhanded gesture which roughly translates as "What the hell???" when a car crosses over the white line and onto the shoulder, nearly brushing me off the road. Funny how this all comes back to me.

Now if only the legs would play along.

They're much smaller now, as a few years of running have finally carved the quads down to a more manageable size for a marathoner. Pushing the gears takes much more work than I remember, and I'm quick to realize that any hope of running a double after pedaling 7 miles to work and 7 miles back is a laugh (at least for now).

Today was day one of my first back-to-back workout for the Twin Cities Marathon build, which called for 7 miles at 6:12 pace. The coach describes the reasoning for this pace in his excellent post from yesterday. The legs were a bit tender, which I blamed on the bike commute, but I felt confident I could manage the pace without too much trouble. I even brought along music for the effort after getting the new Wilco album in the mail. Some might badmouth the band (some might even call them a "low-rent Weezer", which is akin to calling the Beatles a low-rent Monkees), but I can't get enough of the new record, mellow though it is. In fact, go here, click the "listen" button towards the bottom and skip to the third track, "Impossible Germany". I listened to this song three times over the 7 mile effort and couldn't take it all in. It's the kind of tune you can walk around in for days. "Hate it Here" (a few tracks later) belongs on side two of Abbey Road, which in my book is a good thing.

Oh, the run. The legs did feel a little fatigued, but the 7 miles went by quickly as I circled my one mile route. The uphill that challenged my heart rate last week could be felt, but overall I was pleased by how I felt afterwards. Tomorrow's 2 hours of running will let me know if I overcooked it at all.

Training: 10 miles, 1:03:47, 6:23 pace, w/7 miles at 6:10 pace


ian said...

Man, that Weezer-Wilco, Monkees-Beatles analogy is dead on.

I love the new album, too. But the iPod nearly killed my tempo run yesterday with its Please Be Patient With Me shuffle right into Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah. I like mellow, but that's too mellow.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

criminally hilly, i'll say.

Eric said...

I don't think I called them a low-rent Weezer. I think I said they sounded like Weezer with asthma. Or Sonic Youth on muscle relaxers with acoustic guitars. I forget which.

But hey, I *love* Death Cab for Cutie. You can't win 'em all...

Eric said...

For god's sake...I'm trying to be clever and I forgot to say NICE FRICKIN' WORKOUT! I'm very excited about your plan.

Mike said...

Let the record show that in an email dated 10-13-06 Mr. Sondag wrote the following:

"I'm trying to get into Wilco, but it just isn't happening. It's like Weezer lite."

Mr. Salkowski regrets the error, and hereby apologizes to Eric and the rest of the Sondag family.

I love Death Cab too, but they seem kind of junior high/The O.C. after hearing this Wilco record. Give 'em another chance sailor.

Mike said...

Umm, and you were right about the muscle relaxers, at least on the last pre-rehab album A Ghost is Born.

Dusty said...

Wow - I uh, commute to work by walking.. oh, that is right, I work out of my house - just have to get to the other side of it. You put us all to shame with your dedication. Great job - I think I might have wussed out with any hill that could be called, "criminally hilly".

Great job with all your training!