Week 2: Hello darkness, you have never been my friend

week_2Thank you? Thank you!

To start things off, I would like to thank every one of you, who have read my first post last week and shared some feedback on it. First of all, feedback was consctructive, helpful and insightful – hopefully I have managed to extract from it and implement some improvements this week. Secondly, I really appreciate your time spent on reading through it. Nowadays, time is a very expensive resource and knowing that you willingly spent it on reading through what I had scraped – that means a lot. Thank you, sincerely.

Difficult beginings

After pretty OKish start of the Week 1, I expected much more from the Week 2. I expected it to be more mellow, more fun and of course – to feel better. But coming back to reality, it differed quite much from the expectations. Lithuania was getting into its winter and my training regiment, seemed to be further away from “winter-alignment”, than spring and nice weather. Naturally or not, but difficulties started coming up. Apart from withstanding the difficulties, it came quite clear that I had to not only withstand the difficulties, but learn to cope with them.

Going into a bit more details, my mornings got ruined, I was no longer able to get up earlier to spin my bicycle and do some stretching or yoga (luckily our cats and dog have not complained about it, perhaps they did not mind extra sleep either or hated being woken up by my exercises  in the first place, who knows). Instead, I started oversleeping, despite going to bed earlier or at least at the same time and getting up even later. I was reminded  that waking up without short exercise session is much more difficult, than to wake up  15minutes earlier and do it. Some days, I went to sleep thinking how I do not want to do tomorrow’s session or how to “legitimately” skip it – I can say for sure that there was nothing legit about those skips, only lazyness taking over.

In the end, I was presented with some reality by my wife, who made me think a bit more about the situation and what am I experiencing. So I tried to complain less, embrace what has to be done and go through it. How did it go? I am not going to spoil it, otherwise you will skip next week’s post.

One more thing, this week was a week of switching, basically due to my commitments elsewhere or other plans (<shame> or sometimes plain lazyness </shame>), I juggled the training session assigned by my coach like a real clown – literally and not. Retrospectively, I do not think I should have done it, as it might have become the root cause of my problems, but at that time, it seemed like an good decision. In the end, 40% of my sessions where re-adjusted by myself.

Run / 27.5km planned / 21.5km finished

Actually a pleasant start with good weather and a daytime jog. We had a Bank Holiday on November 1st in Lithuania, which I used to include some jogging during daytime on pretty good tarmac. It went rather well and I had enjoyed it, technique drills went better than last week and in overall, I felt better and more capable. Few hours later, winter came on knocking and I would be so glad to proclaim to it “you can keep on knocking, but you can’t come in”, however it never listens. Good thing that I managed to squeeze in my first run of the week in a good autumn conditions.

Then come my long runs. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew! Dark, cold, snow-raining, windy, muddy and barely visible streets. During first 3-4ks I was very unhappy and it was extremely difficult to maintain any pace, heart was skyrocketting better than some stocks on the market that day. I barely could control it and I still had to do some faster efforst and rest of the 6ks to collect at least 10 in total. I was unable to maintain the pace of 5:15mins/km, which my coach had envisioned and was stressing myself out already there. Around 4-5k I had strongly decided (!) that I will treat myself with whiskey+cola cocktail after the run and it kept me going. Just by thinking that some alcohol will reduce the stress I had collected with this run, was good. During this run yet again I came to understanding, how much I owe to my wife. I was running and being unhappy for an hour by doing that to myself by myself – nobody made me do it, only me and my own decisions, while she was helping out at home, making me a dinner, a recovery shake and being very supportive, by listening to my whining through the start of the week. I know she will not admit or agree to it, but at least half of the iron I earned through Ironman Copenhagen is hers. I am putting that into my will.

Who could have thought that my Friday’s fartlek will become a walk alongside the riverbank? In other words, during my potentially most fun run session of the week, I started experiencing severe leg pains in shins and knee. To a point, that instead of jogging,  I was only able to walk, so I could withstand the pain. This continued through my weekend long run and instead of 1hr run, I clocked only 44mins, which included a good 10-15mins walk. Such situation, not only breaks your body, but it starts breaking your mind as well. Going back home walking, out cold and feeling the pain, understanding that you can not complete a session, which is fairly easy – there was a lot to take in during those walks. And this had a negative impact on my training even more. Why did this pain start? What happened? Am I done here? Have I injured myself earlier this year and only now it comes up? A lot of questions and doubts have started to circle around my thoughts.

Bike / 3h planned / 1h completed

To be fair, after last week’s cold ride outside, I was looking for an excuse everywhere to skip weekend’s long ride of 2hrs outside. I did not have to google for it to be found. I skipped it and did not seem to regret it. Perhaps because of the fact that I really did not want to do it. Anyhow, only indoor session of 1hr bike ride has been done, it went fairly well and was combined with midday’s run. It is very warm in our house, so indoor sessions become a test of agility – whether you can spin your bike, while reaching out for the towel and cleaning up some sweat. And I am getting better at it. So far these 1hr sessions are not painful and I am quite pleased after them, as well as I do not get anxious, when I know there is one planned. The only thing I have to figure out is how to deal with +20C degrees at the room and non-existant air circulation. Opening windows is not an option, because of the forementioned cats, who are very curious what is outside and are very difficult to catch indoors. Therefore having them leave the outside – would be a bad thing and we are very careful about opening the windows, unless we “trap the cats” for the time.

Swim / 1h planned / 1:10h completed

  It went well, I quite enjoyed it. The session was difficult to remember, so I had to write it down. It kind of went against my expectations, which I have set reading some advises on the internet – “a swim session should be easy enough for you to remember and should not be written down”. I am very trustful person, especially when it comes to some random people advising on the world wide web. Therefore, being a little bit sceptic, I have written it down on a pink post-it note and hit the pool. Luckily the complexity of the session on the paper, did not transfer directly into endurance complexity. I managed to finish the session and do most of the drills (despite one, which I have forgotten, not on purpose, to write down). Coming back to the pool, reminded me that I my nose has love-hate relationship with the pool and it tends to show itself by the rest of the day being accompanied with sneezing. My swim times were not that bad, I managed to clock 2:02mins/100m. Keeping in mind that I have not swam for 2-3 months and my peak form was 1:40ish/100m. All in all, it went well.

Strength training / 2 sessions planned / 1 session completed

Excuses. Excuses everywhere. I managed to convince myself that due to my business and other things I have to do – I can skip one of the strength sessions. And I did. The session which I have done, went well. My legs could withstand the rude awakening, which my dad had planned for them and I no longer had to go down the stairs, feeling like liquid, because of soreness in my quads. Adaptation to the training is coming together well in this part of training. Perhaps one of the reasons is some time being spent with my dad.


Song of the week: Paul Kalkbrenner – Revolte
Reading: Terry Pratchett – Light Fantastic (have not opened it this week, but want to finish. Halfway done)
Game: Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void / Dragon Age: Inquisition (DLCs)
Average Weight: 79.8kg
Average Suunto Recovery: still have not started measuring

A lot of things happened during this week, which detracted me from rather good start of the first week. However, no regrets are present when reflecting upon it. During one of my runs I understood that to reach some things in triathlon, that I am aiming for – I need to sacrifice a lot. That sacrifice will not come from anywhere else, but myself. During the summer, I have done it and at some points, quite heavily. Now – now I do not feel ready to start sacrificing at such big margins right away and that is why I am chosing to skip sessions, to put them on different days, than my coach suggested.

I think prior to sacrifices, I have to start feeling content with my training and to receive satisfaction from it, which would outweigh to some extent satisfaction from other activities. Right now I seem to enjoy a vast spectre of activities, therefore to receive the same amount of happiness from tough training on brink of winter – it is going to require much more mental preparation and input, than I was putting as of yet. And even after that, I need to put it on scale and see, whether it is worth it and if I am prepared to.

All that being said, I am in constant dialogue with myself, every day, reflecting on the skipped sessions, on the difficulties, on plans I have and am preparing. During that dialogue, I try to be the debater of both sides and moderator, looking for a best possible solution. Will it blend?

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