I did my longest bike ride yet on Saturday. Long rides, when it’s nice weather out, have turned into some of my favorite workouts. The slow steady pace lets me actually take in and enjoy the sights and sounds around me. A big bonus of >100km rides is that they long enough to actually travel somewhere worth seeing. The first 100km flew by pretty quickly. I did my regular 100km loop and since it was ridiculously hot out, I stopped back at the apartment to use a working toilet and get more water.
I’m having a major internal debate right now. I’m managed to find an hour of “spare” time and can’t decide if I should be spending the time writing an update or napping (so I can stay up long enough to raise my water glass as one of as friend celebrates their birthday). I feel like my initial goal of writing on here 2 times a week is far from being achieved and so I guess sleep will have to wait a little while longer.
My bike workout this morning was a particularly hard workout. In cycling, there is something called FTP which is your functional threshold power. This value is the highest average power you can sustain for an hour, which to you and me is simply a value that dictates your maximum. This morning I was doing a workout that had me hold an effort 10% above my FTP for 6 minutes at a time. In other words, it was about as close to experiencing death as I’d like to get. As I had sweat literally creating a flood beneath the bike I thought to myself, “wow, this never gets easier does it?”
As soon as someone new finds out I’m training for an Ironman, the floodgate of questions open. Usually, it starts off with the generic how long is the race, how much do you train … and then like clockwork after the 4th or 5th question the person will briefly stop. They pause and make some remark along the lines of “ohhh I’m sorry you must be sick of answering all these same questions.” The first few times I thought it was a hilarious coincidence that everyone seems to react in the same way. Now, it’s become my norm and I actually feed off the curiosity.
Expectations feed frustration. That’s exactly where I’m at right now. Since my April 29th half marathon I’ve run 3 times. My longest of these runs was 5km, the shortest a wonderful 2km. Long story short I over trained, under stretched and didn’t do all the strength training I needed to. On top of that, I channeled a lot of personal life stress into training, which is double taxing for the body. While I knew that my body couldn’t differentiate between life stress and exercise stress, simply put, I didn’t play it safe enough. The price is now being paid.
It’s so easy for me to get lost in my little Ironman world. As much as I’ve tried really hard not to let it consume my life, it has inevitability become my lifestyle that very much dictates when I sleep, how much I eat and what my day looks like. Thus, finding moments of perspective have become increasingly important. This past weekend was a non-stop stream of perspective.
I’m currently on an Ironman high – floating on cloud 4000. What an amazing week of training! I took a couple days off this week and headed up to Muskoka to put in some serious training volume. Muskoka is notorious for their hills and beautiful landscapes. As I quickly discovered they should also be notorious for their strong wind gusts. Which, in case you haven’t ridden on a lightweight tri bike with carbon wheels is ever so slightly terrifying.
Life has thrown me a curveball. So maybe not quite a curveball…. maybe a basket of lemons is more fitting. Either way the happy go lucky train came to a screeching halt these last two weeks. Okay, okay I’ll stop with the metaphors and cliché sayings. I’m not quite ready to talk about the details but in short, something devastating and rather unexpected happened in my personal life that really tested who I am as a person.
One of my coworkers constantly jokes around that I must poop rainbows and wear rosy coloured contacts because it’s not possible for someone to be “be this happy ALL the time.” My happiness is something I pride myself on. I love that it’s contagious and let’s be real who doesn’t love being in a good mood. But what this co-worker apparently doesn’t get to see is that I too have my rough moments. I have pity parties, meltdowns, letdowns, and disappointments.
Today marks the final day of my recovery week. As you may of you know by now, recovery week is probably harder on me than my actual build weeks. Most of this stems from having a reduced workload so I feel like while I’m sitting around resting while others are out there training and getting better than me. But, I also have seen first hand the benefits and necessity of turning off the volume and intensity for a few days.