Yesterday, I opted to hit the mountains for a favorite ride for those of us that train in San Diego. 45 miles, with about 5,000ft of elevation (doesn't match mt. palomar by any means, but it's definitly a solid ride). Friends advised me not to ride alone because it is out in the boonies, but my heart was set on this ride. 3 hours of climbing, fighting the head wind and rocking out to my iPod mix.
Then at mile 15 the music died. Ugh! Ok I'm alone out here with my thoughts...
There were many, but most centered around why I was out there climbing up and down mountains, alone, smiling the whole way (ok fine, the wind got on my nerves at times to the smile broke and was replaced with frustration at times).
Reason one: because I can. I am usually stuck in the court room or office, but not today. Reason two: I love to train, push the limits, and remember that nothing motivates me more than hearing someone tell me I can't do something. Yes, one friend tried to tell me not to do this ride because it didn't make sense to ride long again... only problem is, that is what motivated me to get out there first thing in the morning. And of course today's ride hurt more than if I didn't ride yesterday, but recovery is around the corner. So until then, I'll fight on.
A quote that remained next to my bed throughout college: "No one can do it for you, and No One can tell you you can't!" During our tough workouts our coach reminded us that No one could put in the work for us. The second half of my quote also came from my coaches. For the first time I experienced motivation as a result of constant denial. They made it clear that they didn't think I was capable because I was smaller than the rest. Again, tell me I can't and I'll only work harder!
My friends and training partners hear about my college years more than they might care to. I often wonder "do they care," "do they understand" and "why is it so much reminds me of those fabulous four years?" The truth is: once a Wolverine, always a Wolverine! Yes this feeling is one held by all students who've attended the magnificent university since it's opening in 1817. For those privileged to have attended the school as student athletes this is more true than ever. Day in and out you wear the Maize and Blue and represent a school with a history greater than any other!
University of Michigan athlete... the sweet (and hypothermia!), tears (oh there were many!)...and the pursuit of Big Ten and NCAA championship titles. This is where "it" all began: the self realization of my love for training and pushing my body to its limits. I was not the most talented on the team, and therefore had to work harder than any other. I think I did! There were many nights spent doing homework on the treadmill or stair-master (it's amazing how well u can read on those stationary machines with practice), an attempt by our trainer to kick me out of the athletic training room for allegedly working out too much, and that hot summer day when I kicked my ass so hard in the weight room, that paramedics were called to the rescue (shortly after I learned the lesson of how important recovery days are).
This week I presented myself with a challenge. A self indulged training camp. Normally my schedule allows for a maximum of 20-24 hrs at the peak of my ironman training. This week I needed a mental escape from "life." In steps triathlon training. 6 days of biking, 20k swim yards, 2 hard interval workouts to highlight my running, and a double run on Sunday to finish off the week.
Out in the mountains of San Diego I remembered where this love for athletics began. There were good, great, and awful moments spent on UM's athletic campus. But in the end, I knew that I was an athlete out of love for the sport (not for scholarship, the ability to wear the Nike swoosh, or for the championship rings). It's about the love for the game! So many call it quits after their collegiate athletic career, but for me it was a beginning. I didn't have a bike (other than my college cruiser), but when I walked off that campus I knew Ironman was in my future.
I found a sport where high volume training is normal. This week I'll put over 25 hours of training in the bank. For so many triathletes out there this a normal. But this kind of volume doesn't fit into my chosen career. Usually I am limited to trainer workouts during the week, and one long ride on the weekend. For this one week my focus was training, so I'm trying to enjoy each and every minute and mile....
Time to get some sleep before tackling a long steady paced morning run, masters swim, lots of food coupled with a few hours of rest, and then a short evening run.