That literally sums up my training this spring. I’m not where I was in October, but to describe my winter and spring training as uneven would be a slight understatement. My first “race” is coming up, and I feel woefully unprepared – or, well, woefully unfit for this particular distance and race. I’ve certainly learned quite a bit from training through colder and darker months, and the main takeaway is that I will never, ever commit to a pretty big race (70.3) for the beginning of May. The timing worked well when we lived in California and I was happy to train throughout the “winter” months, but it’s a different story here in Colorado! Even though it was a mild winter by anyone’s measurement, I found it hard to string together solid weeks of training. Yes, a week here and there, some workouts that felt good, maybe a handful that I’d call “great”, but I lacked overall consistency in training. And, I’ll say that as every weekend came around, I felt torn between skiing, which was what I wanted to do, and training, which is what I needed to do.
Some of that rests solely on my shoulders, and I’ll take full responsibility for the days when I just didn’t give a f*ck. Or I did, but didn’t care enough, if that makes sense. Or I did go skiing and then, instead of a swim/bike/run afterwards, I quaffed down a stout. I definitely began to suffer from major trainer fatigue – doing most of my long rides on the trainer is NOT the ideal way for me to train. Not, at least, mentally. I recognize that the trainer is an effective tool and has its place in my regime, and I certainly had plenty of good and hard workouts on the torture device. However, I began to dread the trainer for those longer rides. Plus, spring in Colorado frustrated me on more than one occasion – when we did get those warmer days, they were often accompanied by WINDS, which just suck my soul. In fact, I ran over my bicycle wheel after one such shitty ride. It was an accident, I swear, but I also wonder: was it REALLY an accident? The wheel, fortunately, did not have to be replaced. Anyway, I finally got in a few lovely rides outside last weekend and this most recent weekend, which reminded me that I actually DO like to ride. Shew!
In addition to the slog of training through the winter, there were a few minor mishaps that also set me back a week, or even two. I was managing my usual paranoia about my foot flaring up AND my hip tightening up. Yes, I am getting old! So, it’s hard enough to feel 100%. Then, back in February, I slipped down a short staircase in our house (and I was totally sober). It wasn’t a big deal, but it tweaked my knee for about a week or so. And, just a few weeks back, the most recent tumble which I’m still recovering from. It was the LAST weekend of skiing (for me), April 15th, and I waffled between skiing or not. Ultimately, I decided to squeeze in a super quick morning of skiing before a birthday brunch (YOLO man). It was a GORGEOUS day, and there was a little fresh snow. And I was going to try out my new mittens! Needless to say, I was psyched to be out there (and a little sad because it WAS the last day). Well, on the first run, I wasn’t paying close attention and was skiing a little too fast, and ended up somersaulting down part of the slope. Thankfully, my ski popped off, so nothing twisted. Also, I’ve never been more thankful for wearing a helmet because my head took the brunt of my fall. I got up, shook it off, and skied a few more runs, taking a bit more care, and went on my merry way. I was a little worried about my calf, which seemed sore, but thought that I’d be okay. Then, the next day, I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a truck – my neck and shoulder and abs (that was the weirdest part!) felt SO sore. While nothing structural was amiss, my body had definitely taken a beating from my tumble. On the one hand, I felt quite lucky that it wasn’t worse; on the other hand, the timing sucked. Rather than ramping up for a final two weeks of training, I had to back off and let my body recover. Le sigh.
So, while it wasn’t a perfect training cycle going into April, my hope to ramp up my fitness these past few weeks was definitely deflated. And now I’m headed to California to “race” this weekend and feel that not-in-racing-shape is another understatement. However, I did have a mindset shift well before my spill; I’m super excited to return to Wildflower (which was cancelled the past year due to the drought). It’s such a beautiful and fun and hard course, and the energy is amazing, so how can I not enjoy the experience? Even if it totally sucks! It may *just* be a long training day for me, but how lucky am I that I can make it to the start line? Fingers crossed that I’ll make it the finish – I guess I’ll find out soon enough!