Zenman's 2013 Training Journal: 07 October

small zendurance cycling logoMonday, 07 October

“Unexpected Medicine”


In the previous Entry (Scroll down to “Friday, 04 October), I discussed some of my preparation for USAT Long Course Nationals (LCN). I reviewed this process through Sunday, 29 September. On Monday, (13 days before the race), I was physically and mentally amped for a high-quality run session to prepare for LCN. (There is something to be said about obligations that limit training for a few days.) After a generous warm-up, I planned a run of (5X) 16:00 race pace intervals, with 4:00 easy run between each. My intention was to run each interval faster than the previous - using the same course for each so I could compare by timing. The course was a rolling paved course on quiet roads - similar to what I anticipate for the race.

My hilly warm-up on mixed surfaces went well. I changed into the shoes I will wear for the race and headed out for the intervals. I felt great through the first and second intervals: “All systems GO!

Less than 2 minutes from the end of the second interval, I inhaled a wasp. The wasp stung me on the back of my trachea - deep down, near the base of my neck, close to where the trachea branches into the bronchia. I stopped running and forcibly exhaled several times to expel the wasp. Once I saw it exit my mouth, I resumed my run - still finishing the second interval faster than the first.

Unexpected Medicine

I’ve been stung a few times in the mouth (on my tongue and inner lip) while running. I know from experience, if I just keep running (or biking), the high rate of metabolism spreads the venom fast throughout my body. During my 4:00 recovery run, I quickly refilled my small hydration flask and (with some difficulty) swallowed a few gulps of HEED.

Carry On

Since I had no breathing at all, I headed out for Interval 3. I ran it faster than the second. It was a bit painful swallowing, but I was able to continue hydrating in sips. I continued to build speed through Intervals 4 & 5 - inspired by the challenge of transforming the venom - and my body’s response to it - into “medicine” for my performance. As I finished, I felt calm and relaxed. I am certain that this feeling of ease - rather than panic - is what minimized the trauma potential.

It was more of a challenge to calm Betsy when I returned home - especially since my voice was raspy and swallowing was so difficult. I assured her that my respiration was completely unaffected, although a few hives did surface on my body.

I made a smoothie - the only thing I could ingest for recovery from the run. While it was painful to swallow, the cold liquid was soothing. I biked to Island Health and Fitness for two private swim sessions. When I returned home, I picked and steamed some greens from our garden and put them in the blender with some hummus. With some difficulty, I managed to swallow this tasty concoction. Later, I slurped down a yogurt.

For me the biggest challenge with this situation was tolerating the build-up of mucus around the wound site, so deep in my respiratory system. I refrained from obsessively clearing my throat - knowing it would just result in further irritation (not to mention more concern from Betsy). This was the greatest challenge to sleeping, but I did well.

Assessment

It was difficult to discern the fatigue and stress from my challenging run (and limited ability to promptly re-fuel my body) from the trauma of a sting so deep in my respiratory system. Tuesday morning, I was still expelling a lot of mucus from the wound site, and swallowing was still painful. I ran easy for 40 minutes... And felt better. I refrained from using my voice throughout the day - sitting quietly to write. Midday, I set-up the trainer and rode the TT bike - some Zendurance Cycling Drills and some short, high-intensity jumps. And I felt even better.

In the evening, I swam for 40 minutes - including (13X) 100-yard intervals. When I began teaching the Swim Mastery Session, I explained why my voice was so raspy. Amazingly, by the end of the session, my voice was near normal. By the next morning - less than 48 hours after my dose of “medicine”, my symptoms were all but gone!

Forward Ho

On Wednesday, I did my usual 5:00 AM deep T’ai Chi practice (in the dark) and then yoga/Pilates, before heading to the Greenstar Co-op for my weekly bakery shift. When I returned home, I immediately suited up and headed out for a 2-hour ride on the TT bike, knowing this might be my last outdoor TT ride before LCN. I did 10 minutes of jump rope when I got back. Just before the Wednesday evening edition of Swim Mastery, I did a 20-minute “zen swim” - every lap exactly 14 strokes.

As anticipated, Thursday morning, my legs were heavy. I ran very easy - my usual mixed-surface hilly recovery run - extending the distance by 10 minutes, and finishing with (4X) very intense 30-stride hill repeats. Midday, I swam a “400/100 Volley” with commitment!

For clarification about my swim training methods, see 29 August: Training and Racing, Post “Casual” Iron

At just 50 minutes, this swim set left me really fatigued. I put my heart into this one - just like the run on Monday. After lunch, I had to lay down and nap. In the evening, before the Thursday edition of Swim Mastery, I did another 20-minute “zen swim” - this time every lap at 15 strokes per lap.

After 11 straight days of leading swim clinics/presentations/weekend-workshops and/or private sessions, Friday was my first day off from the “swim focus”. I headed for the Cornell running track, under heavy overcast skies. I did a very patient warm-up and drill sequence - finishing my preparation with (4X) 100 meter sprints. This process took almost 50 minutes - a very patient warm-up. Then, I ran (8X) 400 meter intervals, with 200 meters recovery. With keen body-mind focus, I ran every one within a 3-second range. In the evening, I ran again - very slow.

To finish out the week, on Saturday I arose early for another Pilates/yoga mat session. Midday, I swam an interval set - again with commitment. This time, it was a “long/short volley” of : 800/50/600/100/400/150. My tempo for the longer distances (800/600/400) sped up by .03 each time. The tempo for the sprints (50/100/150) slowed by .02 each time. If I had just a bit more energy, I may have swam a 200 that would have been at a tempo exactly between the fastest distance swim and the slowest sprint. However, fatigue (and consequently an escalating SPL) prompted me to call it good and head for the steam room.

Summary

I feel certain the “unexpected medicine” of the sting was an inspirational gift - and a “legal” chemical performance enhancer. I really am grateful for the experience. From trauma to transformation!

I am looking forward to the “competition” of LCN - “A successful petition for the empowerment of companionship”.

Return:

small zendurance cycling logo

Zenman’s Training Journal: Current Entry

Zendurance Cycling Home Page