It’s a quiet Friday afternoon and I’m taking some time to work on this post which you, my faithful 1.5 readers, will be seeing Monday morning when you open your eyes and are tripping over the dog on your way to get the lovely black gold we call coffee.
The day just cannot start without the stuff, can it? Oh let’s be real, the whole day is fair game for coffee. 😉
I’m much cleaner now than I was a few hours ago, sweaty and salt crusted from my time out on the road doing my brick training this morning ( bike/run)
Clean AND fed. It’s a good place to be.
Oh and coffee. Yes I have that too so I’m ready to get on with todays topic now….
As I’ve shared in previous posts I’ve taken on the lofty athletic goal this year of a duathlon ( a run/bike/run event) Some of my training days involve brick work because well how else am I going to make my body do that stuff on race day?
I’m going to share a few thoughts? A life reflection? learned on the road today. Perhaps you’ll relate or maybe at best and hopefully, it might encourage you.
It goes without saying based on where I live, that my training during the summer will be hot. Not just hot, but hot and humid. I’ve been on the road at 6:30 a.m. and still manage to be a sweat fest. So pretty much no matter the time I can simply know the workouts will be hot and sweaty.
I’m ok with that, really. Fortunately, I’m pretty well acclimated to it. However, even in that condition some days are just flat out harder than others.
As I geared up to hit the road this morning there were a few things already going on with me. The biggest being, half my head felt like it had cotton balls in it from some sinus stuff that came out of nowhere. Add to that, all that junk going into my stomach ( gross. sorry. it is) but it does a good job making me feel queasy. Add to that, the little food I had eaten pre workout had settled like a rock in my belly.
Even with that…
I got my gear on, grabbed the bike, and took off. It always amazes me at how things seem to fade away as soon as I clip in and take that first stroke hitting the road. I let the bike settle in under me and let my body get into the rhythm of the ride.
As the miles unfolded both the day and I were getting hot. I did 25.25 miles on this ride. Not flat roads but also with lots of big hills thrown in. Most of my ride is on the actual duathlon course.
I wrapped the ride, landed where my car was parked, quickly put my bike in, changed to my running shoes and was back on the road a few minutes later.
My legs have adapted well to the change from bike to run but it still takes a little time to let them settle into a new activity…especially after coming off a long hard ride.
My run is only 2 miles with more hills… but have mercy… when I’m already hot from the ride and the sun is beating down…. all I want to do is move quickly to get back.
I sometimes wish I had some shirt on that passing cars saw that said something like…
“Be nice to me I just crawled off my bike and now I’m running”
But I did it, (even if my GPS for some reason decided on my last mile to not pick up parts of it even though I knew the exact distance) I Knocked out the run and as always that great sense of satisfaction from doing both of those activities settled over me.
Tired. Sweaty. Thirsty. And appreciative of my body for what it could do.
As I cool down one of the things I do is check my stats from my ride and run. Strava is great to track all of my athletic activities as well as the fact it lets me see what others do and how I stack up against them on those routes.
It’s like that proverbial carrot dangling in front of me 😉
As my numbers came up, I was admittedly, a little frustrated. My frustration as it does when I’m upset, can turn to tears. Where my segments certainly weren’t “bad”, I had no new PR’s.
I should say, the last time I did all of the course, I had multiple PR’s. Having no new ones sorta fueled my fire of frustration.
Although I knew I hadn’t been a 100% physically on top of my game, and that the heat also affected me, I was still frustrated to have not done better.
I probably should interject here… I’m a wee bit competitive with myself …and have high expectations whenever I step into any of my athletic activities.
I sat on the warm pavement next to my vehicle, looking at those numbers, clutching my recovery drink and choking back those hot tears.
What was it going to take? How long did I have to work and push to get over that next hurdle of being a little stronger, and faster?
I questioned being out that morning and maybe I should’ve just stayed in or done something a bit less physically demanding.
I looked at some numbers with only seconds separating me from the times I had been previously. I never thought much about “seconds” but I’ll tell you, in the athletic world, they count for a lot. One second can drop you into a new category or move you into first place from second.
They matter a lot.
As I felt that weight ( and I’m sure being wrung out and hot from everything didn’t help my mood) settle over me the more sane part of my brain began to speak to me…..
The fact alone I had just ridden over 25 miles and then run 2 was an accomplishment not many kick started their day with! Regards of my ideals for my times, I had still done it.
The training counted and it mattered that I was out there.. even if I didn’t think ( in my mind) that it was one of my best workouts.
I realized that my stubbornness and grit to be on the road was an asset that served me well in the rest of my daily life.
Life takes a certain level of stubbornness and grit to get through.
I hadn’t quit.
We’ve all been there, right? Something seems tough. There’s something we know is going to require a lot from us and it seems easier to find a reason to not do it. Quitting seems like an easy way out.
You’re nodding your head… you’ve been in the same boat too…
But that’s when you dig deep, sometimes really deep, and pull out all you’ve got to do what needs to be done.
Making an excuse to not be out there would’ve made me feel worse than not doing it. I never finish a workout that I haven’t been happy for doing it.
Even if my times weren’t as impressive as previously.
That’s when it hit me.
How far I’ve come.
How much progress I’ve made. The changes I’ve gone through. The strength and speed I have gained.
What I’ve learned through the process.
Each step moves me towards my goal and those steps are made up of good and sometimes not so good moments. But they all are leading to my goal.
I learn more about what I’m made of when I have to work harder or push myself out of my comfort zone.
The lesson for you.
I’m thinking as you’re sitting there reading this, sipping from your now tepid cup of coffee, that you may have been or be in a similar place.
You are pursuing a goal, working towards something important, have a new vision.
Discouragement, weariness, self doubt, feelings of inadequacy, questioning your sanity… all of those things might creep in on you.
It’s in those times my friend, that we learn more of what we’re made of. If we’re strong, we push back and reset our focus and continue our forward movement. If we don’t feel so strong, new strength can be born in us, giving us more confidence in our abilities.
It’s a time of growth and change… if we allow it to be.
Don’t give up and don’t give in even if you get discouraged.
And me? How am I ?
After those truths settled over me, I wiped off my sweaty, salty face and made my way home to shower and plot my next training session.
Are you doing something now that sometimes frustrates you? Do you get discouraged when you feel like you haven’t done your best? How do you handle it ? Have you learned lessons out on the road ?