Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Hardest Session Yet

A couple of weeks ago, I found my end-of-week training to be lackluster. My Wednesday long runs are so long at this point that I now do them on the weekend. But that particular week, I struggled with whether or not to keep it on Wednesday or move it to the weekend, which I worried would encourage me not to do it at all.

Surprise, surprise, I find myself on Sunday not having done it and with a 75 mile bike ride to complete. I was pretty down on myself because I'd created the situation. Interestingly enough, though, I do my best training when I'm down on myself. I'm not sure what to make of that, but the thing is that I had nothing to lose, I guess. Historically speaking, that has been really good motivation for me.

And you know what? There's something special about the bike. For the few years that I've been a triathlete, however casually, the bike has been what I loathe the most. I'm almost certain I'm in the minority on this, but it's true. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore. As I begin a bike ride or wake up on the day of a bike ride, the knowledge that I will spend 5+ hours riding doesn't faze me. Very interesting, considering the fact that I find long runs to be very intimidating. I see a curious evolution taking place.

But introspection aside, I began my bike ride as I had for the few weeks prior. That particular Sunday, I had 12 laps to do. I'm not sure how I don't find that more daunting. 12 laps of Central Park seems insane when I think about it in any context other than this. Also, I don't even have music! I'm sure I could work out music somehow, but I don't have nearly enough faith in my bike handling skills to believe that listening to music while riding wouldn't cause an accident or spill. What typically happens is I'll have two or three songs stuck in my head the entire time. This sounds like torture, but it's actually not that bad. I also daydream, which I consider to be multitasking since I do too much of that anyway.

The ride was fine. Not all that memorable except that it was my first time riding 75 miles. I got home, parked my bike in its usual spot next to my bedroom door, and sat on the couch. Then that uneasy feeling popped into my head again. It reminded me that I hadn't done my long run. Shockingly, my brain reacted positively and a thought popped into my head.

"Why don't I do it now?"

"It" being a long run and "now" being just after riding 75 miles for the first time. But you know what? I did it. Granted, it wasn't as long as it should have been (should have been ~15 miles), but it was still a half marathon. That's the biggest brick workout I've ever done in my life. By far. And volume-wise, yes it was difficult. But in terms of how I felt after, it wasn't. I was fine. Confidence for August 11th is building, my friends.
The view from the middle of my favorite long run route

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