A Christmas Test

For most normal folks, Christmas time means relaxing and celebrating with friends and family.

Guess this is another reason I'm not exactly what you'd call normal.
Today marked the four-week mark of my training with Valley Coach, which means it's a test week to re-calibrate heart rate zones. I checked off running and swimming earlier, so today was about the bike. My favorite.
The assignment was to work my heart-rate up to 153 bpm and then maintain a 90-100 pedal stroke per minute cadence for 20 minutes. Distance, cadence, heart-rate and average speed would all factor into the equation. Of course, the equation became muddied since my ever-finicky speedometer wasn't working. This required using some dreaded (and dreadful) math and my car's odometer to figure out my average speed. I wasn't thrilled with the result, not because of my performance but precisely the opposite...I could've sworn I was moving faster! At least the average 154 bpm was encouraging.
Once I posted my results, Coach Gerardo changed my HR settings ever so slightly lower. I'm curious to see how much of a difference this makes in my training. He reassured me that this isn't a "bad or a good thing", it's more of a statement on where I'm at fitness-wise. I suppose only the next four weeks will tell if I'm making real progress. It's too soon to say right now. With all this training, I really hope so. I'm not quite sure what I'd do if I didn't see any progress for all this time, training and money invested.
Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
The highlight of the morning was once again discovering a new part of SoCal. This time, I explored the nature trails at the Sepulveda Dam in Balboa Park. This was part of a very slow and leisurely 45-minute jog prior to the cycling test. I saw all sorts of birds throughout the run, usually nestled together on small man-made islands on the lake. It almost looked like they, too, were celebrating the holidays in their own quiet way. Peaceful. Calm. Happy. Graceful.
Tomorrow I have the day off from training. I'm not sure how I'll spend the holiday just yet. But there are five NBA games on (including Lakers-Cavs) TV so I'll start there. I also bought groceries to cook myself breakfast, which I haven't done in a long time.
To the people who actually read this blog (and have read this far), I hope you have a terrific holiday. I hope it's filled with family, happiness and harmony. My personal gift will be a day off from training!
335 days and counting.
Merry Christmas to all.