14 June 2011

Workout, and a plea

Did a nice, Zone 2 (with a little bit of 3 mostly by accident!) spin workout on the trainer this morning.

The workout itself was quite nice. I tossed my iPod on my arm, set it onto my workout mix, and put the Race Day DVD on the TV to have something to watch. Watched the whole DVD, from warmups through race route walkthrough and the race proper to the warmdown and post-race interviews. The DVD is pretty cool, to be honest, and I would love to find more like it; I would (as I suspect many people would) pay good money for a live, in-race DVD (or, more likely, a set of DVDs) from an entire Tour de France, or even something smaller like the Amgen Tour of California, the Paris-Nice, or the Tour Down Under.

So anyway, I did a warmup, stretch, and a few more minutes of additional warmup, then cranked into a zone 2 (by RPE ... my HRM is out of commission, which is detailed in my plea below) spin. At a couple of points in the DVD I noticed my effort and RPE to be rising (because I was getting into the race portion!), and did a quick manual pulse check: too high! Slow back, get things back to zone 2 range, and chill out. All told, I was in Zone 4 for just a few seconds, Zone 3 for a few minutes, and all told was in Zone 2+ for 1:30:00. Did a warm-down, stretch, and then refueled with breakfast.

I've noticed a few things that are uncomfortable while spinning ... or sitting in the saddle too long, even. First, after a while my toes start to tingle and go a little numb. I've ruled out the shoes (I have tried several different shoes, tying them differently, and even once did a spin with sandals on, and it's not the shoes), and I've tested my IT band flexibility, and it seems reasonable for my fat body (in fact, my overall flexibility is quite good for a racing age of 42 and being obese). So, I think I've narrowed it down to two probable culprits: lower back nerve impingement (probably at the spinal ganglion level, likely caused by excessive pressure exerted by the fatty and muscle tissue in the retroperitoneal space, or possibly at the disk level), or sciatic nerve impingement in the gluteal area. In addition, there are other occasional numbness issues, not related to the feet but to more sensitive areas (something which is not uncommon to cyclists); this I believe is also related to the existence of both subcutaneous and visceral fatty tissue impinging on nerves and blood vessels in the gluteal/perineal region. Seems to me, at first glance, that the simplest solution for now is to continue rising out of the saddle occasionally, work hard to get my weight and body fat percentage down to reasonable levels, and see if that helps. I have also thought about my saddle; when I originally bought my older bike in like 1999, I bought a saddle with gel sit bone areas and a perineal groove; with the extra padding I have, I think this may be too much "soft" ... meaning that if the saddle (or my butt) were harder, the existing padding would be enough to relieve pressure but with the two sets of soft (my backside, and the gel saddle), they're actually creating pressure that wouldn't otherwise exist. So, the next saddle I get will be a much harder racing-type saddle, and I will also see if that helps.

Now for the plea ... my HRM has died. If anyone knows someone who has one they no longer use, particularly if it is an ANT+ compatible HRM (Garmin, Adidas, others make them), shoot me a line. I really need to pick one up ASAP.

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