A Training Session with Nothing Learned is a Training Session Wasted

I can go about telling this story two ways – complain, spit, and sputter or with a positive attitude. I choose positive!

So I started my morning with a big ball of energy. After seeing that the roads were clear in my little community of Riverport, Nova Scotia, with little wind, I was eager to get going on the bike routine from The Plan: 3 x 10 km time trials (TT) at 75% MHR, followed with 3 x 5 km TT at 85%+ MHR, followed with 40 minute easy run at 70% MHR. My chosen route was close to home and fairly flat except for one hill. Pumped to get going, I hopped on my bike and began to ride. I felt great during the warm up, had a chance to check out my route for ice, and seeing that there was no ice made me even more propelled to roll over that pavement.

On the turn around in Lower LaHave, to my surprise, I felt a sharp, cool wind cutting through my clothes and across my face. I ignored it and said “that doesn’t exist, nothing is stopping me from doing this workout”. Besides, at that point I was still doing my warm up and wasn’t cold. Well…after an hour into my routine it became a different story and my attitude started to change. The wind picked up and the temperature reading on my bike dropped. My body temperature was also dropping, my toes were numb, jaw was stiff, and legs were slowing down quite a bit. It didn’t help either that the roads were wet, making me more susceptible to the cold as the water splashed up, soaking my gear (plain and simple, I need better riding gear). I tried to think happy thoughts, like “I’m am strong, I am motivated, I can finish this”, but that lasted about 10 minutes and the closer I got to home, the more I thought moving this workout to my trainer would be a better idea.

I finished out my 10k TT as fast as I could, decided to suck it up, and brought the bike inside to finish. Frustrated but still had some drive to keep going, I swiftly made the transition from the ride outside to trainer inside, trying not to waste any time and cool down too much. I got on the trainer, still frustrated and cold but now also disappointed and could feel a motivation nosedive happening. I forced out one 10k TT on the trainer and was done! My legs slowed right down, my heart rate fell fast, and I had no “umph” to keep going. I didn’t run either. I thought “FAIL”.

After a few minutes of sulking and moping, going off about my “workout fail” to my son (who already thinks I’m “crazy lady” and need to relax more), I stopped to think about what just happened. Reflecting for a moment, I decided to hop off the emotional roller-coaster ride I was on and say “I did NOT fail!” I did not fail and this is why: 1) This is my 16th week of training and today was the very first time I cut my long scheduled ride short on The Plan. 2) I learned today that I’m not Superwoman and cannot produce skin that will protect me from the cold winter weather so I better be smarter about picking which days to ride outside (I had the opportunity to do this yesterday and didn’t). 3) I could use a break! So with that, I changed my attitude and my clothes and ate some chocolate.

It’s no big deal, right? I’m not perfect, my Plan is not perfect, my training is not perfect, the weather is not perfect…I know that it takes a lot of dedication and consistency to train for something this big but to think that everything should go perfect every time I train is ridiculous! Besides, I have to remember why I’m doing this: I’m turning a dream into a reality, it’s fun and exciting, it’s inspiring to others, I can learn a lot about myself and what it takes to do an ironman-distance triathlon, and I’m hopefully going to raise a huge load of money for some local kids in need so they can participate in sport, recreation and culture.

There are ups and downs in everyone’s training plan and today was just one of those days. Like I said, no big deal, and besides tomorrow is another day…and another chance! I didn’t not fail! I learned!

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