Saturday, February 19: It never fails. The less motivated I am to train but actually get out and do it, the more I surprise myself. That happened not once but twice today, during a 1.5 hour trail run off the dirt Mulholland trail (where I was rewarded with this spectacular view of Santa Monica) and, more surprisingly, during my afternoon swim at rainy VNSO Park.
For the latter, I sat in my car while the sky poured down for 15 minutes. I had no energy, no motivation, to leave that warm heated space. I was still cold with dried sweat from my Under Armour compression pants. Tired from eight straight days of training and business travel. But, I had a contractor at my condo due to a leaky upstairs washer thanks to my lovely neighbor, Trudy. So, I couldn't go home and enjoy a restful afternoon with all the clanging and banging. What was left to do?
It took me about 20 minutes to find my happy place in the water. The rain had subsided. The sky opened up with a few rays of sunshine. My attitude changed. I was going to make the best of this.
And ya know what? In the last of my timed 15:00 time trials, I was on track to PR my 1,000 TT. By 27 seconds!
I think this is the biggest mystery of training: Why do I perform better when I least expect it?
I'm not even sure it's a mystery worth solving. The result is what matters. And it all starts with the initial effort of getting out of the car and into the pool on a rainy Saturday.
Sunday, February 20: A day off. A much needed day of rest and recovery.
At first, I really didn't like the idea of switching my off days to Sunday. I felt like I was going to lose out on precious long training hours to help me bounce back into shape. But I was losing much more -- a sense of closeness with Steph brought about by a lack of perspective on free time.
While I will resume Sunday training in my final three months of Ironman training, I am a new man when I hit the road now on Mondays. It's a welcome change. I feel like I have a weekend again, as odd as it may seem. Training for an Ironman can often feel like a job even though it's what we do for fun on a weekend. Now, with some true Sunday fun day back in the mix, my perspective has been restored.
Today, my parents, Steph and I took a day trip up to Los Olivos to visit the key sites for our upcoming August wedding. I don't want to spoil any surprises, but we are going to have a memorable weekend. I can finally picture the flow of events and am officially excited for the big day. Steph and my mom came up with some ideas that I think will cause our wedding to be truly unforgettable.
Fortunately, my parents loved the wedding venue, Firestone Vineyards. We took a tour of the winery today, where we learned more about how wine is made, stored and aged. I also learned that wine should be stored at 55 degrees Farenheiht in a fridge, and that 90% of all red wine should be drank sooner rather than later. In other words, all that you hear about storing wine for long periods doesn't hold true for most of the wine on today's market.
I wouldn't have learned these things had I not gotten off my bike and stripped myself of my workout clothes on a Sunday.
As important as tri-training is, family time is even more important. Today was fantastic.
And now I'm looking even more forward to my 4.5 hours on the bike tomorrow, a President's Day treat.
121 days and counting.