Monday: 60 minute easy aerobic ride.
The ride itself was great, but my asthma kicked into high gear and I was coughing and struggling to breathe by mile 10...
Tuesday: 80 min swim.
I joined our swim group at the Blacksburg Aquatic Center with Coach Tom and the gang. The workout itself turned out to be very doable with plenty of quality yards, but my asthma was even worse than Monday and I didn't exactly enjoy the suffocating feeling that accompanied it. And let's just not talk about the rest of my Tuesday...
Wednesday: 90 min bike + 45 minute brick run.
It was sunny for the first time for the week and my heart was happy to be out on my bike enjoying the fall vibes. This workout was going SO WELL until about 5 miles from home when my derailleur hanger broke and the derailleur lodged itself into my back wheel. Needless to say, that was the end of that ride. I caught a ride home and finished up my workout with a brick run, but then was left with the issue of what to do with a very much broken bike two days before a major training ride dilemma (note: it's still not fixed and luckily I DO have my road bike...and luckily it happened now and not race day!)
Thursday: 60 min swim.
I successfully stared at the pool for a good while before deciding I should actually get in. Definitely one of those "I don't want to do this but I know it will make me feel better about life" type workouts.
Friday: 112 mile bike + 2 mile brick run.
Thanks to some type of tropical system, it pretty much rained all day Friday. With my motivation to do this ride already suffering, I was a bit relieved at the forecasted weather and ready to skip it in favor of a day-long nap on the couch instead. Then coach Jim came up with silly offer of riding his computrainer and I was crazy enough to agree because...well I really don't know why? Us athletes are simply not rationale sometimes. The ride surprisingly went really well, minus the GI issues that hit me towards the end and after and limited my ability to keep up with calories. I had the pleasure of riding the Ironman Coeur d' Alene bike course, which was definitely not quite the flat ride I had in mind, but the hills kept it interesting by providing some opportunities to shift gears and stand up. 6.5 hours on the trainer is a new personal record... by like 3+ hrs...and one that I hope to never break! Then again I should know by now to "never say never." :)
Saturday: Blissful day of REST and FOOD.
Sunday: 20 mile long run. This was definitely my best workout of the week. I enjoyed the flat terrain of the New River Trail in Pulaski, the peaceful solitude of having the trail all to myself, the slightly rainy-slightly chilly overcast weather and fall vibes. I found a rhythm and got lost in my thoughts and music and for the first time in a long time, just ran without a care in the world. Never mind that was my longest training run since the end of March and in fact, only my 2nd time hitting the 20-mile mark for the year: I was just happy to be feeling better and more like my normal self.
Anyway, with 9+ training hours over the weekend, I obviously had a lot of time and I dwelled a lot on the "ups" and "downs" and the overall role they play in the grand scheme of life and training.
There are days of floating through training and days where we just gotta get the work done.
There are days of perseverance and days where my attitude sucks and I want throw in the towel.
There are days of challenges that seem insurmountable and days where afterward I think "did I really just do that?!!
The good days are the days that make the work worthwhile. They fuel us through the the tougher times, the days of disappointment, challenge and frustration. And truly, even when it's "bad," is it really all THAT bad???
The tougher days are there to remind us just how sweet and worthwhile it is to keep chasing those days of bliss. They remind us how strong we are in overcoming obstacles, or how awesome the people we have around us are. The challenges keep us humble, keep us hungry and keep us coming back for more. Those are the days we make big investments in our mental bank, only to draw upon those memories to pull through the more challenging aspects of racing or life. They're the days we look back on and think, "YEA, I did that! And because of it I know I can overcome this as well."
What truly amazes me is how a single day or workout, 'magical' moment in a race or even a single feeling can become captured in our memory in way that won't let go and keeps us coming back for more. And what I love about sports is that it teaches us to live outside our comfort zone, stretching our often self-imposed "limits" to discover deeper levels of strength than we ever thought possible. It's those lessons that carry me through the more challenging "life" days: that encourage me to press on when I feel like giving up, to have the confidence to tackle negativity and turn it in to something much more beautiful and productive.
So when the going gets tough, press on: The good days are totally worth it!
Beach 2 Battleship ... now 17 days and counting!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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