Friday, November 22, 2013

Man, I STINK...

My family is sick of hearing the word "Scottsdale". After spending 30 days there in 85 - 90 F weather and then coming back to Burrrrrrlington and  0 C, I keep referring back to "how nice" it was to work and train in Scottsdale. I'm a broken record.

Even though I've started my taper for Ironman Cozumel, which is only 8 days away, it doesn't mean I don't have to train. I do. It's a delicate balance, you want to take it easy and let your muscles recover and build but you can't stop altogether. If I had my choice one extra week in Scottsdale would have been perfect. It's much easier to stay motivated to train in warm weather.

BUT, I'm not in Kansas, er, I mean Scottsdale anymore. I have to train the old fashioned way and struggle with the weather and push through it mentally.

Specifically I'm really only talking about biking. I can run in any weather outside, 40 above or 40 below, I'm a outdoor runner and love it. Swimming is swimming, a pool in Burlington or a pool in Scottsdale is a pool. It's the bike that hurts. Doing rides over 1 hour indoors suck. Period.

I have a 3.5 hr ride and a 2.5 hr ride I need to get in before leaving next Wednesday and I anticipated each of them being done indoors on the trainer until I saw on my computer that it was 9 C out today, albeit with drizzle rain. With that said, I'd rather ride outdoors in that weather than indoors anytime.

Here was the rub, I have work to do. I have meetings scheduled and Fridays are typically one of my busiest days. Today I had meeting booked on the hour for the entire day starting at 8:30 am. At first it didn't bother me until I opened the patio door and it felt relatively nice outside. I then checked the computer and when I saw it was 9 C I had to re-arrange my schedule or do a mental sufferfest riding my bike on my indoor trainer.

The challenge was two fold. First, to adjust meetings to find the time and second, to get my bike built, it was still in the bike bag. I hadn't yet assembled it.

So I adjusted my meetings, kind of. One I could move to Monday and the other one I wasn't participating in but was listening in on, so I knew I could do that one on my bike, on mute of course. Then I sprang into action making my bike. To pull it all off I had to get it built and I needed to be out the door in 20 minutes.

There is nothing like a tight deadline to get the swearing juices flowing. I started putting the bike together and by rushing it I was missing things, like removing straps or misplacing parts or tools. It didn't take long until it was an F-bomb fiesta. There was a lot of "where the F#ck did my pedal go? Alice did you see my F#cken pedal?"

Then it gets even more fun. I get the bike assembled and I rush to get dressed. I've got to pull this off with military precision if I'm going to get out and back in time for a 4 pm Skype finance meeting that I need to be on my computer for.

So I need my cycling tights. I look in my dresser drawers, which are fairly organized. The top drawer is underwear and socks. The second drawer is cycling wear. The third drawer is Running stuff and the fourth drawer is triathlon racing stuff. It's all pretty organized.

Problem is that I'm in a rush. I look through my cycling drawer and although it's all cycling stuff, there is a lot of it. I'm fumbling around looking for my tights. No go. So then I start looking in the other drawers, just in case Alice put them in the wrong drawer. No go. Now I'm getting in the red zone wondering if they are in the right drawer, or put in the wrong drawer or missing?

Easy thing to figure out....I opened the cycling drawer and grabbed all the stuff and threw it on the floor. Then sifted through it. Found them!

On they went, then cycling shorts over. Then find a shirt, then the winter riding jacket. Now this is were the red zone flares up again, primarily due to the time sensitivity of having to get out the door in time. The red zone flares up for two reasons, first is I'm getting hot. I'm bundled and still indoors. I'm overheating. The second part is I can't find my cycling bootees. I'm going through the hall tree and it's a carbon copy of my quest to find my cycling tights. Only exception is as I was cursing I found them before I picked up the hall tree and threw it across the floor like the incredible hulk.

So now I think I have it all ready. Wrong. I forgot to put on my heart rate monitor. Off comes the jacket. I gingerly walk across the hardwood floors with my cycling shoes as to not scratch the floor. Then I find it put it on and the same exercise is repeated when I realize I don't have my GPS and I have to walk again gingerly over the hardwoods.

At this point I'm burning up physically, I'm overheating. I have to get outside into the coolness or I'm going to go postal.

Now for some you may think this is just a rare case. It's not, this happens often when you ride in the cold. It's a major exercise to FIND all your gear and it's a major exercise to put all your gear on before overheating.

I did manage to get out the door just in the nick of time. The downside was I had no power. It felt like I hadn't trained in a month or more. I was flat and weak. It was a bit depressing. Thank goodness I've been her before, it's not uncommon for the first week of a taper to start feeling weaker rather than stronger. It's your body repairing itself. If all goes right, it goes from week one of the taper feeling weak to week two feeling stronger.

If anything, feeling weak made me humble. It takes you from mentally hoping you are going to have a good race to "I hope I finish this thing". Based on how I felt on today's ride I was thinking I'd be lucky to get off the bike in 7 or 8 hours and finish the race in under 17 hours. Based on today's strength I will definitely not be showing up to IMCZ feeling over confident.

There is an upside. I did notice my clothing is loose fitting again and I don't have a belly hanging out when I cycle. My body image feels fit. At least I got that going for me.

My feet got wet and cold as the ride went on. Still beat riding in a warm basement for 3 hours. For about 30 minutes of the ride I listened in on a conference call. My first statement was "I'm here, I'm just going to put myself on mute and listen in" and no more. This is the epitome of multi-tasking. Attend a work meeting while riding your bike. I love it when a plan comes together.

I was under a time pressure, I had to get home for a Skype conference call and review some google docs on my computer. Riding and listening wasn't an option. Nothing like a little motivation to pick up the pace and change the route slightly to get back in time, but I did, with exactly 2 minutes to spare. In fact I was the first on the line. Winning.

The call took an hour and the worst part of it was not that I was cold, it was that I was stinky, and I mean STINKY. It's weird because when you do a lot of regular training you sweat a lot but usually it doesn't stink. The only time it really stinks is when you get back into training after a layoff and all the toxins ooze from your pores. This was one of those oozing from your pores types of smells. It was so bad that I turned down eating dinner to shower first. That's a first. And it wasn't easy to turn down, Alice made a huge heaping of pasta and olive oil.

I wish I could say it was a pleasant hot shower after a cold bike ride. The equivalent of sitting in front of a warm fire with hot chocolate after a day outside in the snow. It wasn't. Or at least not for more than 5 minutes.

Turns out that Reid was also having a shower and there ain't enough hot water for the both of us and he already had about a 20 minute head start on me. So I get in the shower, it's nice and hot, near too hot. It feels great. I'm in heaven. Then's luke warm, then it's getting cold. "WTF? This ain't fun. What happened to my nice warm shower?"

What happened was Reid's shower went colder when I fired up mine, so he then fired up his a little hotter and mine got cold. So I had to fire mine up higher. It worked, until his went colder and he fired his up. It became duelling showers. My nice zen shower became a competition and soon enough it seemed like we were both going to lose, I could tell there wasn't much hot water left to be used.

So instead of relaxing in a hot shower. I was now being forced out of the shower before I really wanted to. I figured it's better to get out when it's semi warm and the soap is off me than wait and it turns freezing cold and I haven't yet done a final rinse.

In the end all was good. I was warmer. I was cleaner. I was back to a relaxed zen like state, and I was happy I was able to get in my ride outside.

I'm also so filled with fear that I lost my fitness and somethings wrong because I'm sweating foul out my pores that I'm very motivated to make sure this is a very strong training weekend. I have from now until Tuesday to finish off strong.

Humbling "don't count your chickens before they are hatched" ride.

Long Bike - 2:43:09 / 77.77 km / 28.6 kph

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