Doing it all the hard way...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

So THIS is training..


Working with a coach is turning out to be very different than I expected. I imagined some tweaking of my basic typical training plans.  I pictured working in some intervals on my bike commute. I figured there would be some more structure to my intervals one day a week.

What I am doing is harder in every way than I expected.  It takes more time. It takes prime time. There are some days with a morning and an evening workout.  Two-a-days? Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot! I am training during my usual dinner time a day or three each week.  Hottie has been very accommodating and we are both glad my season isn’t too long. 
I figured I might as well go all in and I have been working hard when I am supposed to go hard.  I had some surprising success in my first race and I while I could rationalize that away I am using that as motivation to stay on a challenging program. 
It is amazing that after decades of training, first in running and later on a bike, my mind still tries to talk me into cutting corners. “You can do this one real hard and skip the last two?”  Where the heck did that come from?  “Execute the plan” I tell myself over and over.  The plan is hard.  All the best things are hard. Right, Sophie?
At times it feels foolish to be a grandfather and be out running stairs before the sun comes up.  I should know better shouldn’t I?  I can’t imagine trying to do this program with kids at home and a full time job.  I am a baby about getting enough sleep and while I do get up pretty early most days I am embarrassed to tell you how early I’ve been going to bed.  Let’s just say I check my phone in the morning to see if the Mariners won.
On the other hand the hard work has an eerie familiarity.  When I ran track we did block repeats of 4x400m intervals. 400 meters is the perfect distance to get a rush of lactic acid. I recall clearly the metallic taste in my mouth and the sensation that the roots of my teeth hurt when I would fight to catch my breath after each of those twelve to twenty intervals.  When I reached the top of the 188 stairs this morning I put my hands on my knees to catch my breath.  It was still a few minutes before sunrise and under the cloudy skies my legs looked the same to my age-impaired eyes as they did in 1977.  My feet were even clad in Nikes just like they were in 1977.  This served to perpetuate the self-serving lie that I am not old. 

I can’t predict what my results will be in the coming races but I can tell you that if you like the analogy of putting deposits into the pain bank, my account balance has grown significantly.  I can’t imagine working this hard and not having it pay off.  I do realize these things take time and know that even if I don’t see results right away it absolutely will happen. 

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