The weather in Heidelberg has been unpredictable and often rainy in the past couple of days, which I suppose we deserved after a stretch of incredibly nice weather. Yesterday, I avoided the rain as I had a rest day in my training schedule. Today, however, I had scheduled a 60km cycle followed by a 30-min. training run right of the bike. The temperature had dropped overnight to 13 degrees Celsius and dark clouds threatened from the time the sun rose. I can report this, because the day got off to a start today at 4:50 a.m., when NP mysteriously (a loud mystery it was) woke up and wouldn’t go back to sleep. KT recently looked after NP solo while I was in Greece for a week, and I generally tend to need less sleep than her, so I volunteered to get up with NP and let KT sleep until 7:00 a.m. (luxury…..cue Monty Python).
Now, as many of my readers will know through personal experience, getting up at 4:50 a.m. with a toddler requires a certain patience, for it is almost a certainty that the toddler will for the next few hours have 2 to 3 times the amount of energy you have. Not only that, but the energy of the toddler will be directed at tasks of repetition manageable for adults at noon after a reasonable sleep, but a bit like water torture prior to 6 a.m. After a rather lengthy breakfast, designed to keep the noisy NP in the kitchen away from the sleeping KT in the bedroom, it was my pleasure to read every book NP owns at least three times (including one book, a gift [title omitted], whose sing-along progression causes a small part of my non-sentimentally oriented self to die every time I read it). This brought us to 6:15, at which point NP made a move for her cymbal-shaker, an instrument deftly removed by me before it could be shaken and replaced with her stuffed cat, innocent except for the fact that it reminded her once again of all the cats in her books…. and so the cycle continued. When KT arose at 7:00, I had been reduced to lying on my back on the carpet, with NP running joyfully around me.
I had, perhaps foolishly, decided to wait to make coffee until KT got up. But, whatever the wisdom of my initial abstinence, KT, perceptibly noting my state of dishevelment (I think it may have been the prone position that gave it away), quickly put on the kettle and soon handed me a cup of coffee. Elixir of life acquired, I retreated to bed for a few minutes to sip my coffee in peace, and as I contemplated my present state of fatigue and the dark clouds out the window, I thought ‘training today is really going to be miserable’.
I had, it so happens, just yesterday been reading a list of 30 reasons to cycle, which DCRainmaker included as a link in his Week In Review. This (sometimes funny) list includes numerous health and other benefits to be gained from regular cycling, many of which apply more generally to regular exercise. This in itself should be enough to get one out there on the days when it might seem preferable to stay indoors and read a book. But I had cause to reflect today that there’s another very good reason that I’m doing triathlon and getting out on those less palatable days.
First of all, what seems bad at first may not be so bad in the end. As it turns out, despite the threatening clouds, it didn’t rain at all today, and we even saw occasional sun in the afternoon. I was in the office all morning, but came home after lunch in order to head out for my ride at 2 p.m. The ride started out with a 30-min. warm-up on flats, before the route headed up into the mountains (with elevation increasing 300m from the flats to the highest point), and back down the other side. Even with a few pushes up the hill, the ride somehow felt great today, despite the early start. I could feel that I’d worked my legs on the bike as I transitioned to the run, but after just a couple of minutes on my feet, I realized that my legs felt great on the run too – unlike Tuesday at the track, when I was really tight after my travels, my flexibility was back (as I ran by a window on the way home, I could see that my form was good). My training run was just 30 minutes at lower heart-rate zones, but I felt like I could have kept going and going.
So, what’s my reason: it feels really freakin’ awesome to be able to cycle for 60km and then run for 6km and feel great both during and after (exercised but not spent). Just to repeat, really freakin’ awesome (and those of you who know me will be aware that I seldom use the word ‘freaking’, and then even less often without the final ‘g’).