Sunday, May 1, 2011

Making Hay

Recovery weeks are kind of hard. 

You go from weeks of frantically squeezing in 15 hours of workouts around work and life to frantically squeezing in 9 or 10 hours.

It should be easier right?  I mean, less time dedicated to training for the week, it is all good.

But somehow, it feels harder. All the workouts are a bit shorter and it is really easy to "do it later" which can turn into "do it never."   I am a bit neurotic about getting that workout done though - I like to cross it off my calender, it feels really good.  On the 15 hour + weeks, I have no problem sticking with the program and making it work.  It never fails that work, weather, and life throws me a few curve balls on my recovery week.

Or is it me?  Don't I get those same curve balls thrown at me all the time?

I take my training seriously and sort of see each workout as a bale of hay that I am putting away in a barn, experience and fitness I am putting away for when I need to tap into it (83 days). 

This isn't my concept, I mean, I didn't come up with it or anything.  I picked it up on some forum last year on Beginner Triathlete and it stuck with me.    But there are days when I feel like I am standing there next to that bale of hay, just looking at it, not sure I  am in the mood to pick it up. 

Maybe it looks a lot heavier than the last few bales I threw in.  Or maybe I really only want to lift half a bale. 

Or maybe I just want to lay in the field and chew on a piece of straw.

Take this morning.  It was below 20 degrees, and a thick white frost covered everything outside.  I stood there looking outside holding my bike, watching as my breath came out in white puffs.

Suddenly, a later bike ride sounded pretty darn good. 

Except I have plans with friends that require me to get my ass out the door and get that hay loaded in the barn - if the hay is to be put up at all.

Twenty degrees is the perfect running temperature (IMAO), but not perfect biking temperature.  AND had I stuck with the plan my coach had laid out for me, today would have been a run (hi Ange! Sorry about that).  I had to go and switch things around for some reason that seemed completely legitimate at the time that I switched them, but now I can't remember for the life of me what it was. 

Now I was looking at a freaking heavy, wet, cold bale of hay.

So I snuggled with Bailey for a little while.  He is so warm and is the only one in the house who is happy I am up at 5 in the morning. Not that he got up to greet me or anything, but he wags his tail so I know he is happy.  I wanted to stay right there, warm fur in my face, listening to the thump, thump, thump of his tail banging on the floor.

It is days like these that I long for a training partner.  A group to bike with.  Something.  Someone else I could physically see that was on some part of this journey with me.

But I don't have that - all I have is me.  I am OK with that 99.9% of the time.  What I have is my resolve.  My stubbornness. In the end it is really up to me to get out there anyway.  I ripped myself away from Bailey and finally got out the door.

It was a cold ride, that got not much warmer towards the end.  My hands were useless claws by the end of the ride, I didn't bother to shift the last 8 miles.  Surprisingly, that is all I have to say about that.  My run off the bike was good, but slow to get moving. 

I wouldn't call this my favorite or best or most efficient workout ever, but at least I got that darned hay in the barn.

This week: Recovery Week
Swim: 3200 yds
Bike: 80 miles
Run: 23 miles


Aimee said...

I LOVE this, and loved the hay analogy. It's perfect!
You are doing so awesome! And, just you know, on the days that I have to get outside in the "cold weather" here in CO and debate whether or not I really want to go out in the cold, I think about you. I think about how you get out there in 20 degree weather for a bike ride and it makes it hard for me NOT to get it done. So, thank you for the inspiration to get my own bales of hay in the barn! :)

Pahla said...

I love this post so much! That hay analogy is just perfect (especially the part about wanting lay in the field and chew on straw sometimes)!
I have a harder time on recovery weeks, too, not sure what that's all about. Way to get that bike ride "in the barn!!"

Unknown said...

How hardcore are you that you bike outside under 20 degrees? DAMN

LB said...

Love that analogy! Putting into a real, tangible idea makes workouts seem more productive. Will definitely be using this mental imagery! Great recovery week, you never fail to inspire me!

misszippy said...

I definitely find that the more time I have, the less efficient I am with it. Sounds like that's what happens to you too. But you're still doing an awesome job and you'll be ready to conquer LP come July!

Coy Martinez said...

Yesterday I was riding in the car and was thinking about doing a Half Iron Man and thought I would ask if you had done one?? I've done two sprint triathlons but think I could be up for a Half Iron. It'll take a village for everyone to convince me that I won't get eaten by a croc in an open water swim. :)

Unknown said...

You are so strong Mandy - and days like this prove it. I know that you train alone and I can't imagine how hard that is. And there is no way in heck I would have been out there in 20 degrees biking.

You're a touch cookie...

Unknown said...

Great job Mandy, you are so inspiring. I'd like to think I would have done the ride but i probably would have ran instead.

Seriously, I would not have got out of bed this morning if it were not for the fact that my riding buddies were expecting me there. You got some serious mental toughness!

Annie said...

You are definitely amazing! That is all.

Ironman By Thirty said...

Awesome work Mandy! You are hardcore to the Nth degree. You fought (and won) both the mental and physical battle today. And in 83 days, you are going to have all the hay you need.

I'm totally with you the whole sticking to the plan and crossing it off the list. I just X-ed off the last day in April and smiled as a I saw every day with a giant red X.

A Prelude To... said...

I totally had this conversation with my dad today. He's not into the weather...and training by himself...and he's just in Oregon. I get you.

Cuddling with Bailey sounds fun though :D

Unknown said...

recovery weeks are harder to me. Its almost an excuse not to do them, but in actually they are the most important. Well thats what my hubs says. Hope it warms up for ya!


I call it my "bank". The more experiences you put in the bank, the more you will have to draw on in the future. And they do pay dividends!
Good job

Unknown said...

You are amazing!!! I totally love (and am inspired by) your dedication!!

Way to go!! My coach always says 140.6 is 80% mental, so you've got that covered in spades!!

Hollywood said...

IDK how you do it. I hate the cold...LOATHE the cold. If its below 55, I wear like 14 layers and still complain. I'm impressed

DRog said...

Serious mental toughness

training solo + the weather lately = huge mental toughness....with (gasp)12 weeks to go the weather will only get better and that change alone will help 120%



Runners Fuel said...

You got the workout done and that's what matters!

Matty O said...

So what you are saying is that you think Bailey was happy that you were up at 5am to snuggle with him? WRONG, he wanted you to toss Barkwheats in his mouth so he could go back to sleep on a full tummy. I hope you get the hints a little more clear next time, for Bailey's sake ;)

Great job, loved the analogy. I have bailed hay a bunch. They keep coming up the hay bailer and whether you want to grab that next bail or not, it's there, right there. If you miss it, it will back up the bailer and cause the machine to jam up. Typically you have a 2 day window to bail hay. So, you grab every bail that comes up that ramp, you don't think, you just do it.

Don't think Mandy, don't pause at the door. Put the bike down and hop on it, THEN think ;) much harder to get off the bike once you are on it.

JohnP said...

Great post - luv the analogy, but I like Matty-O's addition of the 'backing up of the machine'. Dont miss!!

Awww... if I was closer I would totally train wif' you!

The weather is coming, hang in there - it will get better soon!

For me, I do what Matty-O does, I just 'Go through the motions'. Don't think, just do. I turn my brain off and mindlessly prepare for the workout. Once you are going it'll take care of itself.

You are one Hard Chick!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Wow, your are a rockstar!!!

Lucas R. Tucker said...

"do it never." = me yesterday and today.

Matthew Smith said...

Way to push through. I don't know if I would have been that tough in 20 degree weather. That's cold!

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