Wow, I really had no idea how much I missed (craved?) structured and challenging training. Last week was a blur of charging my Garmin 500, testing out my wireless Powertap and lots of fast and hard pedaling. By Wednesday of last week, I’d put the pesky sore throat and gout behind me and I was ready to get to the training that my new coach (Tucker Olander) of FasCat Coaching had mapped out for me.
The training started gently with some spin-ups to get my legs used to moving again and then things got a bit hairy… Thursday was a teaser with an hour long steady ride and then Friday things got a big ugly. I soon remembered the thrill of all-out one minute intervals – there was a lot of panting, blurry numbers, and a few shouts of “good grief”. After this early morning ride, I think my first words to Marc were “I died a bit this morning”. I managed to ride this high of exertion and satisfaction of a good work-out done all day – guess its true about those endorphins. On paper Saturday didn’t look too menacing – well I’ve been wrong before and I was wrong again. Sweet spot – not so sweet – especially when repeated a few times. Again though, I felt darn good and satisfied after doing this work-out. Sunday I got outside for a long time – three hours on the skate skis. I put this ski session in the “epic” slot – never before have I skied for that long or far alone and never have I set out at 6:30 a.m. - the Gatineau Park was eerily quiet at that time. I didn’t see a soul until around 7:45 – I did see some rather large paw prints though..
It has been so very long since I’ve really trained – almost a year. So to get through these first work-outs is a big deal for me. These first few days of training have reminded me of how much I love to ride and race. I’ve rediscovered that part of my soul that pushes me to be see what I can do. I forgot how “hard” hard really is. Boy oh boy did I ever miss that feeling.
Today my training calendar reads “Completely Off”. I’ll take it. Because the fun starts all over again tomorrow. And for this I’m happy and thankful. While some of the work-outs may cause me to get a bit nervous and feel intimidated, I flashback to last April when I got sick again – when by July it was all I could do to cycle 22 km to work and then take a drive home with Marc at the end of the day – when in August I was trapped in a hospital staring out at the blue sky – when in September I raced in a local cyclo-cross race and reignited that feeling of excitement and competitiveness. So I’ll take the burning lungs, the aching legs, the early bedtimes, the once-a-week chocolate fix, the routines of training and recovery – so much better than the alternative.