Part of the joy of training & racing for me is not knowing what will happen. Obviously, this is true in many of our lives, but the things that come up during these times of training and racing is pretty cool.
Let me give you an example. On January 1st, at 9:00am, I wrote a note in my phone that said "St. Croix or bust." I had just signed up for the race in December, and it was part of my New Years something (it wasn't really a resolution because I don't really do those). Anyway, its neat to think about how far in advance we have to plan these things sometimes. Heck! It's getting time to plan the 2009 season! Sometimes it makes me mad -how am I supposed to know what I am going to be doing next year to get a schedule together! What if I just, well, up an retire or something, and loose all those race fees.
You don't know what will happen during time between now, and then, and you don't know what will happen on race day, but you know, unless all heck breaks loose, that you will be at some other city, at some race, on a certain day, up to a year in advance. Crazy! What other sport makes you do this? Most 5k's or 10k's have race day sign up! Wake up that morning, decided you want to race, BAM! Show up, you're in, sign here and pay $15.00.
So, we all know that signing up early, for the amateurs anyway, is a part of life. What I love is the thought that each one of us puts in our own preparation, day after day, week after week month after month, and we don't know how things will go on race day. There are so many variables, but some things hold true, including that experience, or lack of it, can be a help, or a hindrance. If your flexible, you will be able to deal with the challenges and changes that race day brings, and as you execute your plan you will be surprised to see if you are feeling good, or even feeling bad, but at least you are out there feeling something.
You don't even know what you are going to get in training, and I guess that's the beauty of it. We get to practice things we will do on race day, but it's never quite the same then, as it is on a daily basis. I know I'm going to ride 7 hours on Saturday, I've never done it before, but I know unless a major malfunction happens, that I will do it. I have a plan, but how it will go, or how it will feel, I have no idea. That's whats neat about doing something new. If everything were old hat, I probably would get bored and not do it anymore. If you are always learning, and absorbing and finding out things about yourself and your abilities, then it's all good. Count me in!
This morning I was up after 6.5 short hours of sleep, and then off to the gym to speed bike. I knew fresh legs were pretty much not in the cards, as I have started lifting like a fiend in a particular phase of training called "POWER Phase...ooohhh scary), where I pretty much up the weight & do three sets of 1-8-6. This phase hurts. I forgot about it since it's kind of like childbirth and Ironman, it wears off after some time away, and you forget the pain. It's not the pain during the lift, it's after, and the next day when you are attempting to pedal your way to Bolivia (or oblivion, or whatever), and instead you legs want to fall off as they scream in agony. Speed bike has now gone anaerobic, and somewhere along the line, I've become quite the aerobic guru, so my body makes me push pretty hard before I can get up above my max aerobic heart rate. I love Mark Allen training, but during power phase lifting, and speed work bikes, runs and swims, I want to do bad things to him. Not Mark, just the training he's created.
Anyway, speed bike was done in spin class where the other participants think I am some sort of masochist, grunting, groaning, sweating like a pig, and gripping the handlebars till my knuckles turn shades of white. Eventually, they'll probably kick me out because I scare people, but for now I think I'm safe (give it a few more weeks). I think people think twice before they sit by me these days. I have stuff everywhere, workout papers, gels, towels, spin shoes, mp3 players. I set up shop. Every workout that hurts like this, that you get through, reveals something to you, shows you something about yourself and what you really can handle if you harness the energy of your mind, and I love that too. I can do it, I did do it, and I will do it on race day. It builds up on you, all the little experiences, workouts and then it culminates. When you hit the starting line, you've become a mis-match of everything from comments from friends and family, to training experiences, and it all helps you get to the finish.
After speed bike, when I thought I couldn't move another step, I ran for an hour and 45 mins. Then I was so late that water aerobics (ending at 9am, I started at 6am) was in the locker room, and all the showers were filled, so I threw up my hands and went in the handicapped shower stall. I guess handicapped people must not need hot water, then I got ready in 5 minutes, lost my keys while shoving a bar in my mouth, then found them in my own bag, yelled for a minute at myself, and drove into work like a rabid dog. That's not knowing what you are going to get, good or bad, crazy or sane. That's my life.
I'm not sure what all this means except training is good, training is interesting, and it keeps me coming back for more these days. I do need to sleep tonight though, and rolling on foam, and some self massage to get things back in order. I kinda hurt just sitting here and the piraformis is pretty darn mad. My legs are so toast they made need the jaws of life to bring them back! Does anyone have any lying around I could use?