#72: Into the wind…..bring it.

Oh what a week…….this was my annual “life hitting you in the face” week…..personally, professionally and from a training perspective….SMACK….”hello, this is life, pay attention…..I’m talking to you”.

  • maybe this is b/c it was my birthday week…..yep, another year gone by.
  • maybe it was b/c I’m training up to a new level of fatigue…..certainly tired
  • maybe it was b/c we’ve been gaining some momentum in some of our projects professionally, but with the little steps forward there’s even more to be done.
So to that end, I feel like I’ve been doing at least as much mental and emotional work as I have physical work this week……and it’s been DRAINING……truly though, this is a good thing….sometimes you just have to get whacked hard enough by life to get the message.

OK, your move
From a training perspective, I’m feeling accomplished, but STILL trying to get it all together.
  • Wanted to ramp the bike volume back up. Success (120-ish mi and a 60 mi long ride)
  • Wanted to keep the run miles up. Success (25-ish mi and a 10 mi tempo run)
  • Wanted to get back in the water 3-4x. FAIL…big time (haven’t yet gotten in the pool and it being Easter Sunday….not at all sure I will).
It wasn’t terrible within the context of all of the other juggling life brought, but I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t make the swimming work.

Into the wind
As an endurance athlete, I’ve come to really dislike wind.  Sure it’s nice to have a breeze when it’s hot outside…..the gentle type that cools you nicely…..but wind, now that’s something different…..like the bully big-brother of breeze…..that powerful wall-like force that hits you in the face and knocks you back a step…..that’s the kind I really dislike.  All week it seems that the wind has been whipping.  Misjudged it on Monday and got back home with frozen hands and feet.  Felt it again on Wednesday….but it was tolerable……it was back on Friday night for my tempo run and then the message was slammed home for me about 1/2 way through yesterday’s ride:

The planned 60 mile course was uphill for a the first third, then an aggressive descent quickly and along the bank of the Delaware river for the next third and finished moving back uphill and “rolling” all the way home for the final third.  The first third went about as planned…..lots of climbing and some tired legs.  Next section (1/6th if you’re a math person) also as planned….beautiful roll along the river moving at about the pace I had hoped for……then as I walked my bike across the footbridge to get back to the Jersey-side of the river another cyclist came up and said “that headwind is something today….” I agreed, but thought to myself that it hadn’t been THAT bad.  Oh foreshadowing…..then, as I turned back toward town I got hit by such a hard wind that I laughed out loud and let out (perhaps) a few “you’ve got to be [expletive]-ing kidding me” sentiments.  So as I slogged through the wind feeling the energy drain from my legs, I thought about what a fitting metaphor it was for me, not just from a training perspective…….keep pushing…..put your head down, have some courage and get through it……it’ll pay off later……this is what you signed up for……keep pushing through it……you’re not preparing for ordinary…..you’re preparing for extraordinary.  

Jam with your toast?
I got back home and my legs were toast.  I had planned on running for about 15 minutes off the bike just to capitalize on “running on tired legs” a skill that is so important to master for triathlon……and they were shot…..I got off the bike and started my short run at a pace that felt fine (minus the pain in my now rather stiff knees)……by the time my watched beeped out the first mile my knees were loosening up (as they usually do) and I was [just] starting to feel a bit better……as I got close enough to see the imaginary finish line (my mailbox) and heard my watch beeped mile 2, I was actually feeling decent and probably could have continued; a truly welcome sign……but I knew I was shot and decided to err on the side of caution……I got home, took a nice LOOONG shower, took in some refuel, sent Lindsay off for her run, played a few minutes of superheros (post-workout promise to the 5 year old) and bought a few items in the 8 year old’s bedroom “store” (post-workout promise to #2) found some compression gear for my tired legs and crashed, tired but satisfied with the day, while #1 was at practice.

Just accept it, life is difficult
And as dawn found its way into the room and the 5 year old badgered us to wake, I walked downstairs and found the coffee.  I sat down and remembered that even though I am a year older and life just keeps getting faster; and even though regardless of who you are, there NEVER seems to be a shortage of headwind…..every little thing would indeed be alright if I keep putting the effort in.  

As I watched my three little birds (this makes more sense if you know the song) run around searching for baskets and eggs this AM and only 30 minutes later had to choke back a tear or two as my 10 year old came down ready for Easter Sunday Mass looking more grown up than I was ready for, I realized that life’s headwind is really only starting…..even if I’m not a huge fan and even though I rarely miss it when it’s not around…..without it, the gentle breeze that comes now and again would never be so sweet.

And so….after a week of reflection and hard work I am reminded of one of my favorite paragraphs of all times:

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”  – M. Scott Peck

Into the wind,

Mike E.