Highs and Lows

As I zipped myself from head to toe in spandex, and clipped myself into Red Lightning for a short 45 minute ride, I felt stupendously ready to pedal for hours. The sun was shining through a scattering of fluffy white clouds, and the warmth was invigorating. Clearly, I was blissfully unaware of the torture I was about to endure.

These are the highs and lows to triathlon training. I have days when I feel like I’m a fish torpedoing through the water, a galloping gazelle, or a Tour de France champion. Then are days like today, when I felt like I was 80 years-old and my body was slowly, but inevitably deteriorating. I wasn’t even 25 minutes into the ride when my legs started to feel like lead; heavy piles of useless lead. I felt like I had been cycling for days, and that no matter how hard I pushed, grimaced or screamed, I was not going to go any faster and soreness was not going to subside. The wind felt like it was blowing at Mach 3, yet the trees and plants around me barely moved at all. As I continued to spit and curse through my personal hurricane, I was thinking, “Oh my god, this is so painful,” and “Oh my god, this head wind is so strong,” and “Oh my god, I’ve only been riding for 25 minutes,” and then I thought, “Oh my god, you want to do an Ironman?!” These are the typical self-talk conversations that usually consist of me asking myself a lot of soul searching questions. But after ramblings of self-abuse, I always remind myself that this is still the beginning, results take time, and muscle soreness during athletic activities is normal. I also remind myself that even the pros go through these ups and downs. Mind you, usually they are asking questions about why their normal four minute pace per kilometre for a marathon is a few seconds off, and not asking why they can’t ride a bike without muscle pain for 25 minutes; but it’s all relative.

After the ride, I tremendously un-elegantly hoisted my heavy legs off the bike and stumbled around like a drunken fool. The feeling of lead had quickly given way to the sensation of half jelly, half lead, and I struggled to maintain control of my stance. It was a

Red legs after icy bath,

Red legs after icy bath,

relief I wasn’t doing a brick workout (ride then run), because I would have face planted before my first two steps. Advil and ice were definitely required, so when I clambered into the house tonight it was straight to the bath. I have read many conflicting reports on the validity of ice baths, but I figure that if my entire lower body is aching then may as well submerge it in ice. And every time, it’s the same routine of cursing, flailing, gasping, more cursing, and muttering. Tonight was no different, as I somewhat danced around the edges of the tub as if trying to avoid the inescapable. The initial submersion is always the worst as the sharp pang of cold shoots through my toes and straight to my heart. Eventually, I found comfort in the numbness and distracted my mind with music and more thoughts of, “What am I doing?” I can only hope that my remedy provides some relief and magical healing powers, because I have a 45 minute run tomorrow at 6am, and I’d rather not feel like I’m carrying lead bricks for legs. These are the highs and lows to triathlon training, as I moan and groan on the road to one hundred forty point six miles.

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