Epic Recovery

EpicRecovery.jpgThe picture above is of Rakaia Gorge. Jo and I got within 6km of this before Epic Camp but couldn’t face the extra 6km of battling in to the headwind. Having now visited it I can see it would have been worth the effort. The scale of this gorge is huge … difficult to imagine what forces created it !

This week I’ve been thinking about recovering from Epic Camp. Before you read on I must state I REALLY have been thinking about recovery and have just been trying to enjoy myself and not do too much.

So… Mon to Wed I just got out on the bike. Monday was a very easy spin purely to take my wetsuit in to get fixed. Tuesday was a slightly longer spin purely to get breakfast in Rangiora … the breakfast was disappointing so I immediately went across the street to the other coffee shop for coffee and carrot cake. They now get all my business – much friendlier and a nicer carrot cake ! Then met Jo for lunch. Great steak sarnie followed by strawberry and white chocolate muffin. Told you I was going to enjoy myself. Wednesday I met Phil for the Gorges ride. The initial pace was a little faster than I’d have done on my own but I was expecting that so when Phil did his hour at IM pace I just eased off and cruised. At Oxford I had coffee and a cheese muffin and felt great riding after that. Perhaps lack of a decent breakfast was the issue not fatigue.

Thursday I aimed to get up for the squad swim but decided sleep was more important. Did another wet ride (wednesday’s ride was very wet) – just a gentle spin round Christchurch ending near Sumner to collect my wetsuit and get lunch in the nice cafe there. Got back and did an easy run to and from the QEII  where I did a gentle 2.1k swim.

Friday managed to get up and run to and from swimming. Felt pretty lethargic in the pool but luckily Roly set an easy session of 4.2k. Jo and I did a nice easy social spin round the flats to the Blue Duck for coffee before returning by a slight variation though still flat. Later on I did a 5 mile run to the supermarket and felt terrible

Saturday I slept in, no alarm set. Went and did a longish run (about 90 minutes) and felt so much better. We met Chris, Daniel and Marilyn to cruise round the Gorges route, grab a picnic in Oxford before heading to the gorge where the Kayak / Bike transition is for the Longest Day. Jo and I enjoyed a nice picnic by the river and watched racers come in. We saw the leader, and eventual winner, come through. Looks like a great event. If I ever get the chance to learn to Kayak it’s a race that would be fun to do. To avoid going on the race course Jo and I rode back via Oxford and Rangiora. It felt like a slight headwind so I did a couple of efforts to make it pass quicker. Must have been about 20 minutes each at about 37km/h (ie Busselton IM pace ;o)) after each I turned and cruised back to Jo. I think this really took it out of me as I felt wasted on the final ride in. Not lack of food wasted just quads feeling shot.

All I wanted was fish and chips so thats what I had. In fact, I did worse than that. I’ve said to myself for years that should I ever see a deep fried mars bar I’d have one. I was starting to think it was an urban myth. But no ! There it was on the menu. I munched it as I walked home and it was delicious. Following my feast I just completely flaked out. 10.5 hours of solid sleep before I woke.

So this morning I headed out with the idea of doing the gorges plus a big tack on to Rakaia Gorge. I’m calling this ride the “Long Gorges”. I wondered how I’d feel and fully intended cutting it short if I felt anything like yesterday. 25k in and I had a stop for coffee and cheesecake. Then it was all out – only two quick stops for food after that. I felt like my old self just able to keep cruising on the bike. The ride down to Rakaia gorge was great – one of the nicest roads round here. I knew I was in for a good headwind for the final stretch home but was able to keep pushing along. It ended up being a 224k ride and I’ve already got my eye on a further extension which I may try on Wednesday. Had to TT back as I knew Jo wanted to head to New Brighton for a picnic… I managed to get back in time for us to go.

So it’s been an easy week that’s rather built up at the end. So what is Epic recovery – for me it’s 6.3k swim, 504m bike, 25m run,35.1 hrs. OK it seems alot but most of that time was just CTC riding …. ie easy riding with lots of cafe stops.

Jo is rather chomping at the bit at the moment as her coach is holding her back and I think she’d rather like to be out riding with me. I’m sure it’s for the best for her and it’s certainly making me wonder whether what I’m doing right now will be detrimental to my race. I will ponder this but also in my mind is that my aim is to get back to doing what I enjoy and seeing how the race results come. I feel over the past couple of years as my focus was more on the races rather than the process of training I lost the enjoyment and my performance suffered. Over these final two weeks in Christchurch I’m going to try and balance some fun big days with time to recover  and once I get to Taupo with a week to go I will fully focus on rest, lots of sleep and recovery.

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