Monday, February 22, 2010

Hesitant, cautious...

I'm almost scared to report anything. I've been almost healthy so many times since I wrecked my back in October. But....

Three weeks of easy, light base training on the Elliptical Trainer at the Downtown Y. 45 minutes at a stretch is all my mind can tolerate, but I've done it four times a week for three weeks--with no discernible back pain. And I can maintain Zone 2 / LE the entire time and still manage to read an entire New Yorker article. 

Three weeks, too, of AA weight work; I've been following the recommendations found in Weight Training for Cyclists, and I've found that its emphasis on plyometric power training works my fast- twitch muscle fibers really well.

I did plyometrics when I was running track and playing football in high school--lots of box jumps, skips, and single-leg hops. Of course, that same program sometimes involved getting pulled along a football field by George Achola as we were connected to each other by heavy-weight surgical tubing. Two runners would stand in single file, both wearing weight belts or harnesses connected by elastic tubing. The lead runner would explode forward at the gun, pulling the stretched tubing tighter and tighter as the second runner braced his ground. The leader would experience progressively more and more resistance until he felt like he was running in jello, but then the tail runner would start and get pulled along by the contracting tubing and the lead runner's momentum. I once ran a sub 10-second 100 meters while George pulled me along.

Brother Wilmot, the controversial Jesuit who fell out of favor at Prep for allegedly hitting a student  with the shaft of a golf club shaft, used to pull the sprinters behind the lawn tractor. I hear that sucked. Tubing was better.

Of course, George lettered in football at Nebraska. Dave Jandric went to Notre Dame for football, Ricky Davis to Stanford. Damn. THOSE were athletes. I just tried to hang on and not embarrass myself. Kind of like riding bikes with guys at UC Davis who went on to win national collegiate championships and have careers in the professional peloton. Maybe that's my destiny--to serve as a metonym for others' greatness.

So my back has tolerated three weeks of decent cross-training; I've had no real pain symptoms for two. But today, I put the new CCR1 in the trainer.

And I survived. I only spun for 20 minutes--just a quick sweat, a little test, a gentle nudge against my recovering back as if to ask, "we cool?" I stretched for 30 minutes afterward and did a circuit of light weight work. And I worked at the dissertation for the rest of the day with no pain. I picked up the kids at school with no pain. I emptied the dishwasher, made dinner, ate with my girls, and cleaned the kitchen again. With no pain.

The Fuji CCR1 is a warranty replacement for my Team Issue, itself a warranty replacement for my original Team RC. They also intend to send me another frame; this one is just a lower-grade carbon stopgap until the one I'm entitled to is shipped over from Taiwan. I'd put a link here to the shop which helped me with the warranty, True Wheel in Council Bluffs, IA, but they have no website. Just a dedicated owner who bent over backwards to get me a frame and supply a quality re-build and tune-up. Steve's a good guy.

So this week, I spin on the trainer for 30, 30, 45, and 60 minutes. Lots and lots of core and stretching is also in the offing. But I may be on the road--to recovery. Let's all hope, shall we?

I miss Davis. I miss some good friends whom I love. Some are thriving, some are suffering. I offer congrats and condolences. But for the few who need me, the cavalry's coming. I'll be there this week.

On the road.