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Found a new gear

… seriously, that’s what it felt like

Today, I hurt.  It’s a really good hurt, but it’s a waddle-inducing hurt none the less.  Yesterday I pushed really hard.  I think it’s safe to say I’ve found a new effort gear…

6:30am… damn alarm clock

The alarm went off.  I was supposed to wake up with my wife so we could push each other on our respective training sessions – she for her 1/2 marathon long run, and me for a hard brick.  She got up and put in a full 21+ kms.  I rolled back over in bed.  I promised her I’d get my brick done in the evening.  I promised.  Procrastination is rarely in one’s best interest…

(A shout out here to my lovely and talented wife, who actually did run over 21.1km yesterday morning in training.  That’s a 1/2 marathon distance, and she did it.  While only a side note in my own story, it’s an amazing accomplishment for her and I don’t want to gloss over it.  So proud of you honey!  You’re gonna kill your race next week!)

The move

I took yesterday off work to help my little sister move apartments.  This was a very ordinary move (we’ve all done this before): a bunch of family and friends – who are willing to work for free – take a 1 bedroom worth of furniture and boxes, carry it all to an elevator and jigsaw-puzzle to fit it in, then carry it from the elevator to a rented truck (repeat jigsaw-puzzle).  You all drive 100kms down the road, carry all the furniture and boxes into the new apartment, where inevitably you end up balancing a couch on a flight of stairs while your carrying partner debates the best way to turn the upcoming corner, then eat a pizza (there’s always a pizza at the end).  You’re sweaty and dirty and tired by the end of it and just want to pass out on the couch…

The brick

I did promise my wife I’d haul my ass out and get my brick in.  So after 30 minutes of sitting zombie-like on the couch I gathered up my gear and hauled out to the waterfront trail.  This is quickly my favorite place to bike and brick (I keep meaning to take a picture for you blog followers… but I also keep forgetting.  Bad combo)

The bike was good – 15.41km (as far as the path went in the direction I headed).  But it was a fast ride.  I’ve always told people I enjoy road biking over mountain biking because I want to go fast.  This was easily the fastest I had ever gone on the flat.  I felt great – I had great cadence, great gears.  The breeze in my face was an incredible motivating reward.  I was going FAST!  Then ‘whoosh’ – another rider blew right past me!  I was going fast, she was going faster.  I thought this was great – I now had a pace bunny.  I found another gear.  My lungs were burning, and my legs were shaking.  I found a speed I didn’t know I had.  Even if I still couldn’t catch up, it was incredible.

Then I had to run.  I was worried about the run – I’m not a good runner at the best of times, and I just pushed my lungs and legs harder than ever before.  But things were just clicking last night.  I ran 5.07km at more than 1 minute better than my previous personal best… and… I ONLY WALKED ONCE!!!  Once!  This was, undoubtedly, the best run I’ve ever had.  So pumped.

The swim

I finished up at 9:09 pm.  The pool was open from 9pm – 10pm (20 km away).  “I can get there on time” I thought… I can do this…

Drove it in 10 minutes… to any police reading this: I’m sorry

Made it to the pool and in the water by 9:30.  I can normally swim my 1000m in about 20 minutes – I had made it, I thought.

I jumped into the pool and started my first length.  And very quickly I remembered back to all of the carrying and lifting I did earlier in the day.  My arms had nothing left to give.  I didn’t even realize they were so tired – I was so focused on the growing aches in my legs from jumping right in the car after my brick.  I knew right away it was going to be an ugly swim.  I think this is why the swim is the first leg in a triathlon race, not the last.  When the body is tired, the swim does not go well.

I slugged through 750m (race distance) at a crazy-slow pace.  I think, for the first time in my training life, I now truly know what ‘working to failure’ means.  I barely finished that last length, and honestly had trouble pulling myself out of the pool.

I was 4.5km on the bike short of doing a full Sprint Triathlon last night (and had I done the extra few km on the bike, I likely would have been too late to make it to the pool on time).  Today I hurt, but I’m still celebrating.  I’m going to take today off – relax, (possibly work), have a beer or three this evening, and enjoy this.  Tomorrow I get back at it; today I enjoy the success.  I’m really happy with yesterday’s effort.

What’s your best training/exercise/sports memory?  Tell me your story of finding a gear you didn’t know you had?

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  1. sweatingforit
    August 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I have some fond brick memories from this summer, but I’m also really looking forward to the temperatures dropping in the next couple of months and training for some long road races.

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