Weekly Wrap. Week 4.
I have spent almost all of this in a business trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, with work-related topics on my shoulders. The good thing about such business trips during winter, is that I can skip the temperatures I despise, while they roam around Lithuania and stay in Denmark, which is warmer, in the area of “positive temperature”. The winds are there of course and they sometimes make me re-think my priorities on warmth and windiness, but in general – the weather was much more pleasant in Denmark, while I was there, compared to the negative degrees in my home country.
Week itself consisted of what already became a “simple” week of a workout per day (and I mean that in a most honest way) – I got used to the structure and volumes already it seems. The fact that I worked out at least an hour per day did not scare me and I surfed through the week, thinking that it was not bad, as I completed session by session. Only few sessions kept me struggling and requiring extra mental efforts to continue, which was surprising. Usually, when I get my week updated by my coach – I review it and kind of try to estimate its overall complexity, depending on the amount of sessions, their length and varied difficulty. When I glanced at week 4 for the first time, a day-off on Monday was heavenly and might have softned my impression of the rest. While I am writing this post, I feel the tiredness and exhaustion lingering on my shoulder, ready to step in and make me skip some sessions.
Once again I got myself thinking on the topic of how big things are torn away from the small things, which accompany them or build them up in the first place. I have spent my Sunday morning thinking about it and wanted to share it here.
This idea came up when I loaded the workout on my watch. It clearly stated “Endurance Run – 1:45:00”. I have run it on previous week and I sort of knew what to expect. Previous week this run ended up in my “snowy half-marathon”. Excitement did not fill me in however during realization that another half-marathon distance is in front of me. Due to some plans we had later with my wife, Dovile, I wanted to do this session early in the morning, so we could have the rest of the day for ourselves. This meant that my Sunday starts with an early morning alarm buzzing. Alarm clocks are never the most fascinating thing to hear, however that fascination vanishes even more, when they are set to wake you up on a weekend.
Quick tap on the phone, not to wake up my wife, I get up, I sit down on the bed, pull my hands through my face to confirm that this is it, this is where my sleep ends on this Sunday. Visit to the bathroom, our cat is is going bonkers for attention and is mewing all other the kitchen. This makes me humble, this removes the stress and annoying feeling that crawls up to me, when I know that I have less than an hour to prepare myself and I have to be out there, moving my body forward for almost two hours. The weather outside is horrid, I was hoping that I will be able to run some trail, but it does not look like it. It was raining whole night, there is not much snow left and under that – it is usually very slippery. It is still raining or snowing? Depends on your mood. My moods tells me its “snow-rai”, combination of snow and rain. Nethertheless, 3 spoons of instant coffee, half a spoon of brown sugar, hot water – my rocket fuel is ready. This type of cups of coffee are not there to taste great, nor they are because I have an urge to drink coffee. They are there to wake my body up, to send this wake up call to my heart and back again, to prepare inside of me for the run. I cycle for 10 minutes at high, 110 approximately, RPMs (revelations per minute) to start the blood flow, to continue the wake up process, while coffee settles down. Then I go through my sun salutation yoga routine. Even though I have not seen the sun during these early mornings for a long time, I try to clean my head, breathe my sleepiness away and not blind myself from time to time from looking at the lamp too intensily. Coffee. First few sips are making my face do the stretching, which it missed during the salutation. Then the taste settles down and I can finish it off.
Hitchhikers guide to road running
Now I am outside, the “snowrai” confirms my assumption that I will not be running trail today. I would not be able to move fast enough on this type of frozen snow and it sets my target on the road. Road running around our house is not as glorious as trail running, where I can go to a lovely forest within 10 minutes. Road running includes running by the side of a road, which is used for a heavy commute for other neighbouring locations to city center. Few small jumps, leg extensions and I am off.
First few kilometeres squeeze in nicely, possibly liberating my bias that today might not be a pleasant run. Snowrai seems to be no more and I am greeted by fuzzy and fluffy snowflakes, landing gently on my cheeks from time to time. Not many cars go by and I can have almost half of the actual road to myself. Staying within the solitute I keep running and going through topics for my upcoming blogpost. I start to think how Half-Ironman was an elusive and scary target not so long ago and now I am running a half-marathon on weeekends, swimming 2,7 kilometers twice a week and covering almost 65 virtual kilometers on the bike in one session. I reflect that Ironman 70.3 Mallorca, which I am signed up for and which I will race is not that far away – 4 months from this moment. And I feel different. Up until now I was barely getting ready for my Half-Ironman races week or two before the race itself. And now, I feel quite confident, while running in this nasty weather – I can finish it even tomorrow, if I have to. Of course it will not be the perfect race, but the fact that the endurance and mental preparations are there, to finish at least a 5 hour and a half race – that is something.
How did I get to it? How did this extraordinary achievement of finishing a half-iron distance triathlon transformed itself into a more down-to-earth activity. I think it all comes down to the small things, which are being done on weekly basis. All those runs, which make you uncomfortable, like the one I am running today. Where nausea is coming up from the coffee I drank earlier and then is getting switched by intermittent stomach-aches and cramps, which come and go at different periods. Then there are period lorries which come past you. Occasionally I get an encouragement in the way of lorry honk, more often though – it is just mud, wind and some snow in my face. Only two things accompany me through this run – my Garmin watch, which has only 2 ways of communicating. One is an irritating beep, if my heartrate is lowr than expected, even for 1 beat per minute, with a mild vibration. The other – a bit more pleasant beep, confirming that I am in desired heart rate zone. And the solitude gets broken from time to time by it. Otherwise, I glance quickly at it, to see how much time is left to go. My wet clothes and wind in my face make me want to see smaller numbers, but I see 50 minutes to go. Luckily, my other companion, my iPod is there for me – I play music on shuffle. I have 16 GBs of different kind of music playing randomly. It creates another layer of communication, where sometimes I try to guess the song, which iPod decided to bring me within first few chords. However, this game does not last long. Frosty wind in front of me and sharp snowflakes hitting my face hurt. My legs are feeling heavy and all my 5 layers of upper clothing are soaking, making the wind only frostier. Some time within the fight, I try to keep myself contained and focus on the task at hand. I check my watch – bittersweet view, 40 minutes to go. On one hand, it is still good chunk of time to go, but I trick my mind somewhere and see that there is only lesser half of the run to go. I get few more stomach cramps, while I start to warm up the wet clothes on me – sort of a return on the investment, they warmed me up, now it is my time to do the same. Now I know that there is not much to go, I am close to home and my main session, 1 hour 35 minutes of heart-rate based running is behind me and I have 5 minutes to “warm down” and get back home. Warming down, as an activity being presented on my watch, sounds like a big misunderstanding at this point.
Once I stop, there are few things on my mind. First is whether I will be able to deliver all this spiral of feelings on paper, which get me closer to the goal and racing Ironman. Second, I am happy to have this session behind and to have the rest of the day off. Lastly, I know that at home, there will be my family waiting for me. And no matter how much I struggled, or how difficult it was, or whether I managed to do my best or not – Dovile will be there. Cats will be there as well and dog, will be there. And I am right. I step into our home and I can see Dovile greeting me with a smile, cheering for me and giving me a high-five for a job well done. Eventhough, all this training is an activity I chose to do and nobody, but myself is responsible for it, she cheers me up and has my back. Ready to help, ready to ask me how it went and has a surprise in the back of the kitchen – pancakes. I will easily run half-marathons on weekends for those pancakes.
Song of the week: Tool – Parabol/a
Reading: Stephen Hawking – A Brief History of Time
Game: Assassin’s Creed: Origins (PS4) / Starcraft 2 (PC)
Average Weight: Could not measure
During last week, I managed to finish the book “Waiting for the Doggo” and it came out to be a very pleasant one. It had some moments, which made me chuckle, some, which made my eyes watery and in overall a very good flowy read. Now I am trying to go through something completely different – Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”, which I somehow got fascinated for. It will be a difficult read, however I am looking forward to it. For some reason, I am very hyped for space and cosmos. Might be all the Big Bang Theory we watched earlier with Dovile. Oh well. Hope you enjoyed my little story today. What were your achievements during last week? Feel free to share it in the comments below! P.S. Even in games, my training is going well, here is an achievement confirming that I am a triathlete in virtual world as well: