Saturday, March 30, 2013

My First Canyon Ride

You want me to un-clip, stand on my legs AND  smile?!

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling  up anyway" ~ John Wayne

Scared to death might be an exaggeration so i will go with slight panic. After a 10 day vacation of eating and drinking I came home to the realization that I had signed up for a triathlon!! And time is evaporating!!

Even though I continued to workout during my vacation it wasn't with the same intensity or duration or..or..or...I was on vacation! Day two back into the swing of things my body is protesting!!

With that being said, when my sister told me that I needed to ride in the canyon (because ahem this race is comin up you know) I had a slight lump in my throat even though I calmly said, "Yeah sure! That sounds great!" As the words came out, my body thought "Oh sh#t! That sounds terrible!" I mean the CANYON is where the SERIOUS people ride, right?

Ok time to reset. I know that mental attitude is half the battle most of the time with almost everything. So push the reset button. I can do this.

On the day of I wake up before my alarm. I love doing new things because it sets of that excitement buzz. The fear of the unknown I guess. I text rose and confirm our time. They are in no rush. Ok gotta chill a little bit more. Play it cool. I'm ok. Reset.

Rose rides in the car with me and gives me the low down on the ride. What to look for, tricky spots, tips, insights and so on. At one point I can't really hear anymore because I just think man I love my sister so much and this is just so cool!

As we drive up Jamboree, Rose says, "I'm taking you to the other part, we usually ride up this but that would be tough" (insert laugh here). When we get to the "easy" parking spot Adam suggests that we go to the other (harder) parking spot. I'm just along for the ride, hangin with the cool kids so I'm trying to fit in. Sure, shrug whatever you guys want. Please accept me, I want to be cool!

Rose laughs and says, "Well sorry your brother in law hates you". I know he doesn't, he is trying to push me to be better. Yet this creeping voice says we DROVE up this hill and it sucked how is that going to be on a bike?!

We park and unload. I feel shaky. Adrenaline? Fear? I don't know. Reset. Reset. Reset.

As soon as I clip in the rest of the ride is surreal. The whole two hours is like a dream that I can only snatch up pieces of. Blurry in places and crystal clear in others. But here are the highlights:

1. Rose giving me safety instructions.  "Just follow me and go where I go, there are a few grates up here and we want to miss them".

2. Adam waiting for us while sprinting* back and forth across a bridge. *It was confirmed later that Adam was not actually sprinting but to me he looked super fast.

3. Going downhill at 30MPH!!!!!!!!!!! That was the BEST! After some brake instruction from Rosé and Adam we took off and I was hauling! Peddling faster and faster and fast and then the hill took a really good incline and all of a sudden I thought,"uh oh I haven't braked at all!" I'm going 30 like really flying! Adrenaline kicks in! My mind goes into skydiving mode where every second ticks slower than usual and you can see in slow motion. Oh there is a rock there, a crack here, move right, move left...and then my heart sings THIS IS HOW BIRDS FEEL!!  Then I hear Roses voice, "YEAH BUDDY!!!!!"  And we are soaring!

4. Sharing a snack with Rose. Honestly I would have forgotten to eat all otherwise.

5. The love and respect between Adam and Rose. If you have been in their presence you see it, you feel it and its beautiful.

6.  The raw beauty of nature. Rose kept shouting out, "Isn't it beautiful?!" And it was. It reminded me of when we used to hike up in turtle rock before it was turtle rock and every time was like being transported to a different place. The canyon was no different. Sunny, misty, magical. Time had no relevancy. We were just there..climbing, breathing, laughing and climbing again.

I have heard Rose say and if you have read her blogs you know, the whole triathlon training isn't about the race itself. It's so so so much bigger. It's all these demons we battle and baggage we carry. It's fear, joy, love, every emotion imaginable wrapped up in a little ball. It's strength, passion, glory. It's life. And now I get it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The day I Worked Out Without My Garmin

I am learning more and more triathlons are a good sport for addictive personality types. Not to say that all triathletes have addictive personalities but I will just go ahead and guess that most are, including myself.

There is a lot to be said for the regimental training aspects of getting ready for a race. As a trainer, writing workouts is a necessary but tedious part of the job. So it’s awfully nice to have Joby enter my workouts into training peaks, then I enter them into my Garmin for the whole week. That way when my alarm goes off at 4:00 AM I can just strap on my Garmin and it literally tells me what to do (slow down, speed up, your heart rate is to high…blab la bla Garmin, you slow down!). Insert eye roll here…but really it IS nice.

The obsessive compulsive type A personality part comes in later when I download the data back into Training Peaks. I can track and compare this workout to that workout. Times, laps, distance, pace, zones, heart rate… I have never done so much math in my life!

With all that being said I arrived to the gym today to discover I neglected to charge my trusty ‘ol Garmin. Imagine this discovery in slow motion with some dramatic music in the background: I drop to my knees, a look of pain crosses my face, fists clenched shaking up towards the locker room ceiling, “NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!”

Ok Anna get a grip! Deep breath, it’s ok. I used to workout without a Garmin strapped to my arm all the time right? No big deal, I can do this.

Some things I learned out of this “tragic” experience:

  • It’s good sometimes to leave the electronic devices off and remember how fun it is to just workout!!
  • The importance of knowing what it feels like instead of what it looks like. For Example, I had to feel what my max heart rate was instead of just looking for the number to pop up on the Garmin.
  • Mental relaxation. Without the Garmin constantly beeping and telling me what next my mind had a tendency to wander. I thought of some great ideas, old quotes, good times, lost friends. It was the most peaceful yet active mediation I have ever had!

All of that is good and well but don’t think that I haven’t already scrambled to get the Garmin on it’s charger!! I mean one day without it was enough!!!