Sunday was “big brick day” — a three hour bike ride followed by a 15K run. Both were “as you like” events, meaning I could pick any course and do any pace. I choose hills and for both, I chose slow. Or I should say, slow chose me.
But there are some insights I learned during the five-or so hours I spent training:
1. Different people get different things out of rides. Nick (a way better cyclist than he gives himself credit for) thanked me for the “easy” ride. I, on the other hand, thanked him for trashing my legs on the climbs as I worked to keep him in my sight range. It matters not that for Nick this was easy while for me parts were challenging. What matters is that we both enjoyed our workout and got to share time on the bike.
2. Training makes me stupid. Example No. 63: Our total ride time was about three hours. With about 40 minutes left in our ride, we came to moderate climb. My gears decided not to shift so smoothly as I attempted to work some high cadence. So what did I do? I thought to myself, “Gee, I’m kinda hungry” and the proceeded to eat a fig newton, half way up the climb, while in the wrong gear. The process did not work out all that well for me. Perhaps I should have waited the three extra minutes before nibbling on my cookie.
3. However, I can be smart, too. Genius move of the week? Putting a mini body-glide in my car. There is nothing that body glide can’t make feel better on a long workout day. It also works well when you have to wear heels.
4. Endurance sport has brought the best people into my life. Nick shared the ride with me and enthusiastically said he would ride long with me any time. Mark, continuing his role as best boyfriend ever, got up early for breakfast, filled my water bottles and saw me off hours before he needed to go out on his long run. He also planted a water bottle at the 4-mile mark of my run. Which brings me to lesson No. 4:
6. Take the hills as they come. The innocuous looking ones are often harder than you think while the monster-looking ones aren’t nearly as difficult as they appear. If you let your perception affect your attitude, the ride is probably gonna suck.
7. There is always temptation to take the early cutoff but there is greater reward if you continue on the longer route. For instance, gloating later in the day. Oh, and the sense of self satisfaction. Perhaps that one should have come first.
8. Humidity can make anyone her bitch. The point is not to fight it. Just relax and run through it. The miles, attitude and effort are what count most, and not necessarily in that order.
9. It is extremely fortuitous to get a flat tire when you’re taking the bike out of the car at the end of the day. It was even better to have Mark with me to help in the process of changing the back tire (and document it with said picture which accompanies this blog). The lessons from changing a tire are likely infinite, but after a long brick day it’s simple: Count your blessings and have patience.
Time to bring another week.