Humble Pie

This past week has consisted of some useful lessons for the future. With six years of Cycling and four of running you’d think I’d have half an idea what I’m doing by now. Well, in one word… No. It’s a strange irony that applies to all aspects of life, the more you know the more you realise there is a great deal you don’t. Anyway, on with the post.

After a couple of days of disruption the snow that played host to last week’s adventure melted away. I’m hoping that this is due to herald the start of the long-awaited Spring, something all Cyclists will be eternally thankful for after the usual wet, muddy & dark British winter. After some particularly challenging lectures that morning by Tuesday I was ready to return to normal training. What better way to break my legs in than a fast run?

For the past few months my unofficial running goal has been to get under seven minutes per mile for my usual training route, an undulating 4.5 miles. Following the enforced “recovery break” that the snow had bought about I was planning to make use of what should have been fresh legs. Sure enough I felt good when setting off, already you can probably tell where this is going. As time went on I did begin to wonder whether I’d made a small mistake in the pacing, specifically failing to take into account that the last 1.5 miles of this particular route happen to be in the upwards direction.

So it was that I arrived at the bottom of that final hill with nothing left in the tank. Should that situation occur on a bike it’s an easy fix, just stick it in the easiest gear and spin home. With running it’s far more humiliating, I had no choice but to stop and rest for a few minutes, practicing the art of standing awkwardly at the side of the road and attempting to look as if it was planned. I jogged home in a state of despondency. You would think that by this point I would have mastered the art of pacing, clearly however there is still a long way to go.

To add insult to injury I discovered upon arriving home that I had forgotten to record the run. Not even a conciliatory PR on a segment of the route to soften the blow. Lesson number two, always double check you’ve started Strava before getting out the door.

I would love to say that no further mistakes were made in the course of the succeeding few days but sadly it was not to be. Two days after my disastrous run I was pushed for time, with coursework deadlines slowly getting closer it’s becoming more important than ever to organise my training properly. A bright idea occurred. “Why not make this a double day?” I thought to myself  “Surely there can be no harm in doing weights in the morning followed up with an MTB ride in the afternoon“.

Once again I was proven wrong on that count. My technical skills could never be described as ‘refined’ at the best of times when it comes to trail riding.  I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me that having knackered arms following an upper body workout might not necessarily help very much in that regard. As it was you won’t be surprised to hear that it wasn’t a successful ride. Involving various close encounters with hedges, rocks & tree stumps. Culminating in a particularly embarrassing fall on a trail I have ridden numerous times without incident. Rather typically I succeeded in cutting my leg on a sharp rock in the process.

My Father wasn’t surprised when my answer to how I had obtained this latest injury was a mumbled “Um.. Mountain Biking“. In the three months since I bought it I’ve fallen off that MTB more times than I’ve come off a road bike in the space of five years. This time round I feel the time has come to bite the bullet and invest in some more specific offroad gear, preferably that which offers some fall protection.

So there we have it. I now know that my pacing skills for running are in need of work, I can’t trust myself to start Strava properly and that going Mountain Biking after a weights session is a very poor idea. Readers, I hope your training goes more smoothly than mine.

Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Humble Pie

  1. Hey, man, if you don’t push it, how do you know how far, or fast, you can go? Get ‘er done!

    The mtb crash was funny, though. File that under “Doh”!

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