When I did my bike today, I had such a tremendous sense of relief & accomplishment. The past few weeks have been some of the hardest I've had in awhile. Typically, I have to back off at this time of year because I just can't handle the training workload along with the physical work that I have to do during the Easter season.
This year, for the first time ever, I was incredibly determined to do whatever I had to, to make this training volume work along with my work life and getting Justin ready for graduation and all the other stuff that life throws at us.
Trust me. I was tested. I had one meltdown, but for me....it was actually quite minor. I didn't lose any friends over it, and no one stopped me to ask if I was ok as I walked home crying after a particularly bad run that came at the end of a tough day.
This weekend was the hardest weekend I've had in a long time. We're all in the same place. We're all coming off our off seasons and hitting our training cycles full on. I know this is not unique to me.
In other words, there were some really ugly training days. The ugly training days make all the good days worthwhile.
Yesterday's long bike wasn't really ugly, but it wasn't comfortable at all. The all out hill repeats at the end of the ride were a special treat for my already tired legs. But, I did them at a speed of about 8 mph.
I got home. I was wiped out. It was my first really long ride outside. Sure, I can knock out a few hours on the trainer and be none the worse for wear. For those of you unfamiliar with riding, the first time you ride outside after being on the comfort of a trainer, it's tough. Your body gets knocked around. You swerve to avoid various things in the road. You ride rough roads and smooth roads. It really wrecks havoc on your body. I got home, and I was wasted.
The first thing I thought was, "I'm not going to be able to do this 70.3." I can't do this. I'm not going to be able to get through this training. What the hell was I thinking when I signed up? I love the sprint and olympic. There's no reason for me to go longer.
Then, I pulled up my data, and my VI was 1.2. Oh crap. How am I supposed to get that down to 1.15? (It was a hillier course).
And I thought about how much I hate technology.
And then, there was some fueling issues. Nothing major, but I didn't quite get my sodium levels right for the ride.
And I thought about how much I hate having to deal with these nutritional issues. I got home and almost couldn't get my leg over the frame of the bike.
All of this messes with your psyche.
So, I showered and ate.
No. I didn't feel better. But, I stopped thinking about my bike workout, and I started thinking about my route for my long run on Sunday.
It was hilly, intentionally. It was hard. Really hard. But, I never stopped. As I stared up at the next hill, I just kept moving my feet. I didn't care how fast I was moving.....I was still moving.
After the bike hill repeats yesterday, I thought my legs were just going to explode when I was running the downhills.
It was one of those runs where I just kept telling myself, "Get to the halfway point and turn around. Just get to the halfway point. Then it's all downhill....(figuratively speaking)."
At the halfway point and at the top of a hill, I stopped and covered my face with my hands and thought "almost done".
I was so tired. But I turned around and head back home.
With 2 miles left, I knew I had one more climb left. ONE MORE. That was it. My training cycle was almost done.
TWO MORE MILES, and I head into a recovery week.
I passed a couple walking, and I grunted some form of greeting.
When I got to the top....which was probably the longest 2 miles of my entire life.....everything just sort of hit me. The entire year of training and where I am now.
I knew I still had to do one last bike before I could call it a day, but I just felt enormous relief. It didn't matter how fast I went today or how yesterday went.
It matters that I did it.
At this point in a training cycle, everyone is tired. Everyone wants to quit.
But we get through it to a huge feeling of satisfaction....not satisfaction that we went particularly fast or anything, but for the simple fact that we did it.
It would have been very easy for me to stop for a few seconds at the top of the hill.
It would have been easy for me to skip the last hill repeat yesterday when my legs were burning.
Here I am. I'm done and heading into a recovery week before I race next weekend.
It's not something that's going to show up on Athlinks or in a race report or in any online race results.
THESE are the days that make THOSE days so much better.