Regular readers of this blog may have noticed my complete lack of race reports for the 2009 season. Or maybe you haven’t. In fact, no one’s even brought this to my attention, now that I think about it. But I’m positive it’s been in the back of your brains, so now I will explain it, to put your mind at ease.
I used to love racing bikes just for the excuse to write race reports. But then I started developing expectations in racing, which is exactly when everything went wrong, starting with my first race of the season, whichever one that was last February, all the way to the last one, a few weeks ago, the downtown Benicia Criterium, which I knew would be problematic as I was warming up, in that for whatever reasons, I didn’t want to warm up. I didn’t want to exercise. I didn’t want to feel that burning sensation in my legs or the pounding in my chest or the wheezing in my lungs, feelings I had longed for for so many years.
No, all I wanted to do was sit on the sidewalk with the other fans and watch other people exercise.
So I started the race, and it seemed fine for a lap or two, and then they started doing that racing thing.
Later, I sat on the sidewalk , watching the men’s pro race wiz by, doing that racing thing, with my coach Harvey, who was concerned about my lack of motivation. He began a series of questions to dig to the heart of the matter.
It is true. I hadn’t been sleeping well. All I ever wanted to do was sleep, really. And cry sometimes and bark at innocent people. He sat and listened, contemplated what I was telling him, asked some more key questions, and then said:
“I think you might just have sleep apnea.”
“Sleep apnea,” I said.
“You just said you snored,” he said.
“I didn’t say I snored bad.”
He said his daughter had just been diagnosed, but now that she has the remedy, she sleeps better. She wakes up feeling rested, more energetic. He said I should get tested.
I felt good going home with a potentially decent excuse. “Sleep apnea” sounded exotic enough to almost sound believable.
So I began my research. Do you know what the medical solution is for sleep apnea?
There is no way that I have sleep apnea.
So I booked a flight to upstate New York, and vacationed with my Aunt Mary and my cousins and my little cousins and family friends in their 100-year old family summer home along the St. Lawrence River, for one whole week. I didn’t bring my bike.
I slept mostly the first three days, but also got in some swimming in the river and some jogging in the rain and I got stung a million times by mosquitos, but mostly, I forgot about everyone, kind of, I mean not really, back in California. I mean aside from text messaging and phone calls and Facebook, hello.
When I got back last week, I called up Coach Harvey. I said, “Harvey. I need to stop. Just for a little while. I just don’t want to race anymore.”
He said he gets it, that he fully supports my thinking, that he was going to suggest it himself. I overdid it. I trained too hard and for too long. I wanted to succeed so badly, I sabotaged it.
Isn’t that funny how that works? Sometimes, you just have to not care.
“Can I call you in October?” I said.
“Absolutely,” he said.
For the first time in I don’t know how many years, I’m not training, for anything, on purpose. The last time, five years ago, I stopped because I broke my collar bone. This is new. No autocrossing, no swim meets, no bike races, no triathlons, no open water swims, no ultramarathons — it’s too bad I wasn’t blogging when I got talked into running an ultramarathon — nothing.
For two whole months. I wonder what it will be like. If I’m good at it, I might stretch it out to three.