Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bike and Swim Day

Today was the first day of what I think will be the "new normal" for me: I went to work very early and worked out when I got home, rather than the other way around. I'm a big fan of routines and it has always been my routine to exercise before work, so getting used to this might take some doing. My job is part-time, so it was still morning when I got home (in fact, it was about the time I would normally work out! Sorta funny that I had already been up for over 4 hours at that time of day), but I was almost out of gas before I even got on the bike.

Today wasn't a long ride - 10 miles - but I was definitely struggling to finish. It wasn't physical tiredness so much as mental fatigue. In fact, thinking about it now, I was probably just hungry, but on the bike I was beating myself up for not being able to pick up the pace. I generally feel that if I'm going to bother working out, then I should be giving it my best effort (not necessarily measured by speed; more based on my ability to focus and achieve the results I'm aiming for). This is a topic I've wrestled with occasionally since becoming an athlete - it's such a fine line between cutting myself some slack on tough days and letting myself slack off when I could do better.

File this under, "Childhood Issues Never Really Go Away, Do They?": when I was a kid, I was allowed to quit everything. My parents signed me up for T-Ball and I sucked at it, so I quit. Took swimming lessons and I was scared of the water, so I quit. Piano lessons? Quit. The first three colleges I went to? Quit. (I did graduate from the 4th one, in case you're wondering.) The thing is, when I started running...I didn't want to quit. Suddenly, there was this foreign sense of accomplishment when I didn't quit. I started feeling it regularly and I wanted more. In spite of 36 years of evidence to the contrary, I realized when I became a runner that I am NOT a quitter! But I still hear that quitting voice in my head sometimes, and that's why I struggle with cutting myself slack. Do I need to slow down or am I just letting myself slide?

I could analyze this to death (I was in therapy a long time ago...wanna guess how that turned out?? lol.) but in the end, I have to be okay with the fact that today's training was...fine. *shrugs* For the number crunchers, here's how it shook down: 10.1 miles on the bike @ 17.6 mph, 500 meters in the pool @ 43:26/mi.

To make a broad generalization, I think athletes - even average ones! :-) - push themselves pretty hard. Does it bother you to cut yourself some slack?? How do you accept and let go of not-your-best training days?


gmontalvo13 said...

that is not just fine, that is great!! i have done brick sessions myself and that is awesome time! but this is coming from a less than average athelete :)

misszippy said...

So true--we are all hard on ourselves. Even when I am tired as a dog, I will still push myself to get out there. Dumb? Not sure. Great topic.

Michelle said...

I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to running. There was a point where I always had to go further or faster (or BOTH) than the day before and I was pretty much killing myself and miserable. I've learned to just take it easy on myself and push myself really hard a few times a week and not kill myself the other days.

Average A said...

Thanks, P! Yes, I saw you followed Steve & figured you'd appreciate the reference. :) I was catching up on his blog this evening and saw that he even mentioned me in one of his posts! Of course I was just "some lady" to him, but it still felt good. :)

You are so hilarious, but this is still a very relevant (and serious) topic. Part of me has felt -- mostly because I quit everything I did when I was younger, too -- that we can't quit running (or biking or swimming) as adults because there's nothing left for us! The way I view it, unless you want to join some co-ed/booze-related team, there truly aren't many "sports" left for we can't quit knowing that there's nothing else to do! As kids, we just move onto the next activity.

I definitely have super high discipline so it gets hard for me to not always be pushing myself further or faster, but I find little bargains or workarounds that make me feel better. Hello, I walked the few miles of a marathon and was okay with that?! Never in a million years did I think I would actually allow myself to do that. But hell, the fact that I did a marathon after just setting my mind to it a few months ago seems like a pretty big push.

I write a lot. Sorry. :)
A said...

I have a very, very hard time cutting myself some slack! I want every workout to be a good one and get frustrated when there is a bad one. That being said, i am learning to realize that today's "bad" workout will lead to tomorrow's great one. It is a tough mindset to get into!

Great workout, nice brick! Great post, also : )

Suzy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your workout sounds great - and terribly difficult (I'm more of a single sport gal).

Heather said...

I think we are our own worst enemies and biggest critics. Great job with the bike and swim workout - that's a great workout.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

I love that I think i'm average with like a 9 minute mile and you are busting out 8 minute miles :)

I think that our level of achievement changes as we go on longer. I go through phases of being hard on myself and then just wanting to enjoy running, etc. Sometimes when I get to that really critical point I have to step back and so you know this is something I enjoy and maybe if I back off a bit it will all start to improve as well