Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Coming up for air

I had a good chuckle at a comment from Canadian triathlete extraordinaire Heather Wurtele, "we have entered the "I'm not f*cking grumpy!" stage of training.  Things are going well."

Being "in training" is not perfect or pretty or glamorous.  It is, however, in equal turns sweaty, sticky, awkward, hilarious, fun and rewarding.

Life in four week cycles

Where on earth did the last three months go?  Forget blogging...keeping up with the laundry is enough!  I've settled into the familiar routine of build, build, build, rest, repeat.  Each day, each workout, each build cycle is a little puzzle piece, small goals adding up to a bigger picture.

Week 3, Day 7 is always a bit of a tipping point, followed by a week of aches and pains known as "recovery".  Ironically, the rest weeks are sometimes the hardest, particularly convincing myself that sitting on the couch and doing nothing is actually tantamount to doing something.  Yet, miraculously, the aches and pains and moodiness that surface always (and incredibly) yield progress in the form of gains in fitness, mental strength, motivation and commitment.  It is knowing, and trusting (albeit sometimes requiring a reminder) that this cycle is all part of the process that is key.  It's just really important to remember to come up for air and have a look around from time to time!

Rest week = eating week

As days get longer, along with the duration of training weeks and workouts, I am well (re)acquainted with not only the grumpy part of training, but also the hungry one.  At this point, I am principally in the "highly motivated by food" stage of training.  Pity Dan, who gets to deal with this ravenous she-beast.  He now knows it is totally normal for me to dust off a homemade burger, sweet potato fries, HIS sweet potato fries, followed by two Cadbury caramel eggs (which ironically, I don't even like, but they so happened to be in the line of fire), only to complain moments later that we have no snacks in the house.  Cue trip to Whole Foods.

Rest week is that glorious time when exercise load gets reduced to everyone else's version of reasonable, but somehow the metabolism keeps right on burning.  Spare time means lots of time to refuel!

"What would you like to do this evening?"

Hungry is a happy state...because it means things are going as they should.

Yummy post workout eats, including treats from Krokodile Pear juice bar!
Fresh start

It has rained (or snowed) every Saturday since the beginning of January.  Not to be deterred, at the beginning of each week, I excitedly look at the 7-day forecast and eagerly plan my ride route for the following weekend.  Oh the places I will go! With clockwork precision, however, each Saturday morning yields a nasty little rain cloud icon on my weather app, give or take a wind warning or two.  Ride route scrapped...hello stationary trainer.

I'm not daunted.  Trainer time is efficient and effective.  The sweat and suffering is ample...but so is water supply. Besides, there is always a restroom (and much needed chamois cream) nearby and never any wind or mud!  It has also been a fantastic way to make subtle changes and experiment with position on my wonderful (tiny) new bike.

Honey, I shrunk the P5!
(PS...Big thanks to the incredible team at Speed Theory for magically shrinking my P5.  This mini rocket ship is just itching to hit those (dry) roads!)

Evolution, baby

But far from the literal nowhere I am traveling on those trainer workouts - I'm evolving, in four week cycles!  I chose to make some changes this year, not because anything was broken per se, but because I believe that truly progressing demands a willingness to try new things.

Five years ago, I was a triathlon newbie.  That seems like a long time ago, and I feel like I have learned a lot so far.  And yet, I feel that the learning process never really stops provided that I am willing to embrace it.  As such, this season is equally a freshman season...new bike, new coach, new races, new challenges, new age group (!!), new gear.  The plans are made, the race fees are spent and the holiday time is booked.  It's time to put my head back down and put the work in.  Tri season V5.0 is fresh, evolving, and promises to be chock full of new faces, fun ideas and awesome adventures.