ESPN + iTunes + Treadmill = Happy

I woke up at 3:50 a.m. California time to go running today. (Any wonder why this blog is called Ironmadman?)

OK, so it was 6:50 a.m. in Durham, NC, where I'm staying, but tell that to my body. It begged to differ.
Admittedly, the appeal of staying warm and comfy in my bed -- knowing this would be the best sleep I'd have for weeks thanks to Trudy and Bam-Bam -- was almost too great to deny. I was able to persevere though, knowing all too well that I can't afford to ignore Coach Gerrardo's training regimen. Bad habits form easily and especially in moments of weakness. Plus, I'm sure he's curious to see if I can handle a workout schedule even when I'm traveling, and that thought alone was the deciding factor to get up and motivate. If I think I'm letting someone down, I push that much harder not to do so.
So at 4 a.m. PST, I found myself alone in the Doubletree's tiny gym (pictured). It was me, a few treadmills, my iPod and ESPN...really all I needed besides water and a toilet to survive. And guess what? There was a water cooler just a few feet away. Happy.
The schedule called for a 45-minute run within heart-rate Zone 1, which apparently is below 135 for me based on a middle-of-the-night text from Gerrardo, who graciously answered my ignorant question.
I'm really enjoying this new way to train. As I've mentioned, I previously thought that the best way to train was to grind, to outwork myself and everyone else around me by pushing myself harder, farther and faster. I've never been the most athletically gifted (as many of my childhood friends can attest), but I always prided myself on being the "Rudy" of the group...I will out-hustle and outlast everyone else until I win. I don't mind pain if it means victory, and as my buddy TJ would say, "that's that."
So, this new approach to running and cycling, which Coach Gerrardo calls "Light, Slow, Distance" (LSD for short, no joke), is a switch. It doesn't feel like I'm working hard, and that leaves me with a slightly guilty feeling so far. But it also leaves me with more energy to get through the day, and less likely to crash around 3 p.m. like I used to do this past triathlon season. Despite my initial concern about the lack of intensity with this type of training, my workout still produced a four-mile run that burned 400 calories. Not too bad, but certainly not the six-mile, 800-calorie torture session I'm used to. Something tells me this is a little healthier (and wiser).
Tomorrow's workout calls for an hour run in zones 1 & 2, meaning my HR must stay within 150-ish the entire time. Then, I'm supposed to lift for 45 minutes after. Mostly legs and abs. Should be fun, considering I get home from North Carolina in the early evening, California time.
356 days and counting...and training already feels a bit like a part-time job! But it's a job I love.