Saturday, March 01, 2008

Happier When ...

This has been an interesting week, and one which provided me with a valuable lesson.  I've learned that I'm happiest when I actually complete my full training plan, no matter how tired I might feel.  I've discovered that if I skip a workout and just go home I will end up sitting there feeling full of energy, irritated with myself and unfulfilled.  

Duck had me down this week for a leg workout, forty minute run, 20 minute hill trail run, 30 minute swim, two RPM classes and five hill repeats up Happy Valley on my road bike.  The hill repeats are up a gradual five kilometre climb from the coast to Brooklyn, near where I live.  

As I wrote in my last post, Monday wasn't entirely satisfying as far as workouts go, and I was more than ready for a good session on Tuesday.  I mixed it up with some leg weights before RPM, doing some walking lunges, squats, hamstring curls, jack knives and leg extensions.  Then it was into Duck's class.  I was in the mood to push myself and Duck played a couple of my favourite tracks, including "In the Dark", which is an exquisite track 4, and "Underneath
the Radar" for track 3.  Track 5 was the insane "Paradise City", with its short sharp intervals and killer two minute power training interval at the end.  I had too much dial on but was loathe to take any off, so toughed it out and could barely breathe by the end of it.  

There was a quick break between Duck's class and Dee and Scotty's Gearshifters class.  The guy next to me was onto his third class in a row and I was wondering about the wisdom of two in a row after not having done any RPM in a month.  No time to worry - I swallowed a banana and it was into the next round.  Dee chose a traditional track 2, a hill for track 3, then it was into a
track 5 without the break track 4 usually provides.  Somewhere in there Paradise City raised its ugly head again.  The guy next to me swapped an incredulous glance in my direction and I motioned to Scotty
that this was the second time we'd been down this route.  It was a case of engaging some mental fortitude and making pain my friend.  I didn't think I'd live through the second two minute power interval, but obviously I'm still here, so I made it to the end of the class.  

On Wednesday I dropped Lola off at Crankworks for a service, the plan being to ride home that night instead of the 20 minute run.  However I decided to take a rest day instead, with my schedule meaning that I wouldn't get a rest day otherwise.  Of course I got home and it was a perfect evening for riding and I sat there feeling thoroughly annoyed with myself.  

On Thursday Duck took me through a series of dynamic exercises, with lots of lunging and jumping all targeted at stabilising my glutes and hips.  I was satisfyingly sweaty by the end of it.
 I was all geared up to cycle home, however life had other plans.  My avocado on toast lunch left me doubled over for the rest of the day with colicy stomach pains.  I toyed with the idea of still riding home, but the idea of vomiting enroute put me off.  Of course I sat at home on Thursday night feeling lazy and wishing I was out on my bike.  

By Friday it was clear I was suffering the stomach bug that had been circulating our office. I started to come right by late afternoon, but ended up having  a drink with two 
of my managers and another workmate.  By 6.00 my motivation to ride home had gone again. Of course Hamish then didn't get home until 8.30, and I sat at home all evening, you guessed it, wishing I was out on my bike.  The Hell pizza we had for dinner didn't help my general feeling of sloth.  I ate waayyyyy too much, to the point of having difficulty finding a comfortable position to lie  when I went to bed.  

The weather forecast for today was pretty grim - with gusty Northerlies and heavy rain on the cards.  Last night I booked two RPM classes as a backstop, but waking this morning the sky was a little grey but it was dry and reasonably still.  I cancelled my RPM bookings, grabbed Lola and headed off down to Owhiro Bay.  Still feeling bogged down with fat and carbs from last night's dinner I wasn't expecting a good ride.  I told myself I didn't HAVE to do five hill repeats, and I'd just ride until I'd had enough.  The first climb went ok.  The second felt easier but was psychologically harder.  I reminded myself that I'd feel like a quitter if I stopped there and went home, so it was up the hill a third time.  I told myself that was enough as I turned into Garfield Street, but as I coasted back down the hill I started to regain that sense of not wanting to quit.  I found myself remembering how bad I felt this week just sitting there on the couch.  I didn't want to feel that way again.  This was probably also the fastest lap, as by now I was just wanting to get it all over with.

The fourth climb started off into the increasing Northerly, which was by now quite strong.  By now I was familiar with the route.  There were a couple of mismatched shoes lying on the side of the road, and on this fourth climb there was also a dead sparrow, just hit by a car.  The milestones were all familiar - the landfill, the stretch of road with no houses either side.  The appearance of houses on the right and the line of cars parked just before the corner around which the houses on the right appeared.  This fourth climb was also the lap in which I passed a guy on a road bike.  
I later saw him in the supermarket in Newtown, and wondered if he was ok with being
'chicked'.  It was certainly satisfying for me to overtake anyone, let along a guy!  

I'd told myself that the fourth lap really would be the last, but on the way back down 
I was feeling really fresh.  Completion was entirely possible.  I got to the bottom and 
immediately turned around and started the final climb.  By now the wind was 
REALLY strong, but thankfully it was strongest at the bottom of the climb and eased off as 
I climbed.  

Finally I was turning into Garfield Street for the last time,
having had no issues with turning right at any point.  I'd been buzzed by only one car, and had been overtaken considerately by countless trucks.  I'd taken my drink bottle out of the carrier and hadn't fallen off or dropped it.  I'd flicked between both cogs, climbed five times without running out of gears, never felt tired.  I felt like I could continue for another hour, although I would have chosen to have ridden on elsewhere rather than to have headed back up!  It's not a difficult climb, being so gradual, but riding up it so many times is just a mental killer.

The rain held off for the rest of the morning, and it was really satisfying to be exercised, showered, and safe inside when it finally started to pour.  The wind is really very strong out there now and I'm wondering whether the late arrival of the front will translate to bad weather for the Gearshifters ride tom0rrow.  It seems likely!

I'm going to stretch for half an hour or so tonight in lieu of the Balance class I was too late to go to today.  I may have to try to fit in a swim tomorrow afternoon to make up for the swim I missed as well.  This week will be more consistent, because I know how awful I feel when I don't stick to the plan.

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