Monday, February 21, 2011

No Pain. No Gain. Really?

Well, you may have noticed that there are no more days next to my blog title.

On Friday, I did not wake up at 4:30am for Masters class.  So my streak officially ended at 11.

On Saturday, I struggled to get up to go to the Humble Lions Bike ride, but I did it with no regrets.

Every time I pull into the parking lot of an organized bike ride, I get a surge of energy.  There is something to be said about pulling into a parking lot full of bikers getting set up to ride.  The fog was thick and the morning sun was trying to peek through.  The sounds of bike pumps fill your ears combined with the music of those walking duck-like wearing cycling shoes that making clickety clack notes as they walk through the parking lot.

This is a camaraderie that you don't find at runs and for me, it is like a breath of fresh air. There is a bonding that occurs as you get your bike set up without even having to say a word with hundreds of other riders. 

There is never a rush to get ready because you start, when you start.  Since it is not safe for everyone to start exactly at 8am that even if you are ready to begin, you will still have to wait until your particular wave is permitted to go.  These races are not timed.  So when you finished getting ready, you leisurely make your way to the starting line.

On this ride, I decided to do the 25 mile route.  I am addicted to going as fast as I can, and I knew if we went the 46 mile route, I would really be hurting on the half marathon the next day.  So I played it safe, and let loose.  We rode out to the local park, ate some orange slices and the rode back to the high school.

As we are sitting at our table after the ride, a woman approached us who appeared crippled with a disease.  She asked us if we were riding in the MS 150 and my friend and I who are riding with the Continental Airlines team both nodded yes.  She introduced herself as a woman who is currently living with MS and asked for our names and emails so she could email us a personal thank you.

Since I do not know anyone personally who has been affected with Multiple Sclerosis, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this woman.  I was injected with a dose of reality of why I am training so hard for this race.  It is for beautiful people like this woman who are battling this disease every day.  In the blink of an eye, I have been given more meaning to why I am training so hard every day. Thank you, dear lady.

I had an a couple of hours when I returned home to pack and get ready for my trip to Austin.

Austin.  Wow, some things change, and some things stay the same.

As I remembered, the traffic is still awful in Austin.  We made great time to Austin, only to sit an hour in traffic just to park at the convention center.

Great swag though!  An embroidered messenger bag and a race belt.  Very nice!  It made up for the long wait to pick up our packet.  After a nice dinner, we were back in the hotel and in bed by 9am.

Race day.  I woke up at 5:00am.  I was feeling good but hungry.  I ate a cereal sample from the night before at the expo.  I am thirsty but I did not bring enough water with me.  I try to conserve.  I will regret this later.

At the race, I meet up with the rest of my running buds.  We start out in a circle wrapped around the Capitol building.  We entertain ourselves while it takes us almost 20 minutes to get to the starting line after the gun goes off. Thank goodness we can be very goofy.  The hills start out rolling.  Not too bad...I let it fly after every downhill.  This was so much fun!  But since there were so many people, I was just praying someone did not jump in my way so I would not have take them out.

We are running at a pace I am quite proud of until we hit mile 10.  It is quite warm and my head feels hot.  I lose my running buddy, and with that, went my motivation.  I start walking the hills.  In fact, I am ready to walk the rest of the way in, when I look down at my watch I realize I am on track to break a personal record.  I vow to run the rest of the way.  That is, until I see the next monster hill at about mile 11.5 and now I really want to cry.

You have got to be kidding me.

I try every mental trick in my book, but I still have to walk this monster. I am cursing every hill  and vow to run the whole way but the hills win every time.

I finish with a record time, but I am paying for it today.  It is true when they say, no pain, no gain, right?

So about the 4:30am challenge...I have decided to shelve this one for now. I am happy that I am getting up early now on a regular basis, but I fear I am playing with fire with everything on my plate right now. I have to listen to my body during high stress.  Although, I am so glad I tried this challenge since a few good things come out of this short sprint of a challenge.  Besides continuing with the Masters classes, I have also learned how to silence my bratty alter ego. And that was probably the biggest lesson of all.

Next month, I will focus on drinking more water since that kicked my butt the most yesterday.  I am positive that increasing my water intake will improve my performance.  I just have to create this new habit.  I will work out those details for March.