Saturday, July 25, 2009

head, shoulders, knees and holes

I promised an update regarding my hole-sitting, and neglected to give you one yesterday.

thus I've developed a 4-step plan to let you know how things are going in my biking world, and it follows along with one of my favorite childhood day-camp songs . . . you can stretch along with me (and sing, as well) if you'd like.

head. biking is very much a head game. I find that what I set my mind to is usually what happens. thus I easily psych myself out, but also pull through when I set a goal. after writing about sitting in that black hole the other morning, I had decided not to sit in that hole on friday. since I started riding in the dark that morning, I was about 5 miles into my ride before I remembered to look at (and could see) my heart monitor. at that point I was sitting in that hole, and I immediately put the power on and raised up and out of there. I had made the decision to stay out of the hole friday, and once I remembered that (and could track it), I only visited the black hole on my way up to or down from other zones. I mentally patted myself on the back.
biking is very much a head game.

shoulders. I tend to tense my shoulders when I ride, lifting them up slightly as I tighten muscles and climb. before I know it, they're only inches away from my ears, and when I remember to, I take a deep breath and relax them back down to where they should be. they inch up less when I'm sitting in the hole, and more when I'm heading toward my top zone. my form disintegrates when I'm working really hard, and I was quite relieved today when I watched a bit of the tour de france today and noticed that some elite athletes do the same thing (only completely different) as they push beyond reasonable limits. I may have even seen a few creeping shoulders. but then again, that could have just been wishful thinking.

knees. my knees have been letting me know they exist, lately. I find that I enjoy my body much more when it just does its thing and doesn't need to talk to me about it. my knees are entirely too vocal these days. I've been working with my bike shop boy on this issue, and I think we've made progress. but I believe that some of my hole-sitting may have to do with my fear of my knees: I want them to stay with me for a long time ~ ideally, the rest of my life ~ and so I've been babying them with low gears and slower speeds, almost subconsciously. I do believe I'm back in correct alignment now, and that my knees will gradually reduce their chatter as they heal and once again get happy. the theory here: happy knees = no need for hole-sitting.

holes. I can't completely ignore 5 beats on the continuum of my heart's beating range. they exist, and I can't skip from 159 to 165 by wishing it to be so, by relaxing my shoulders, or by having happy, healthy, silent knees. I can't be afraid of those numbers, I just have to attend to the monitor and stay determined not to sit there. I have to believe in my ability to push up and out of it. I have to keep the faith.

and to wrap it all up, I'm sure that if I continue to add more stretching to my daily routine (say, starting with a head-shoulders-knees-toes action) I will continue to improve my body's happiness, which will in turn help me ride harder . . . better . . . faster . . . stronger . . .
so now I'm off to do a little more stretching.

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