Introducing…… Milo!

No, we didn’t get a new pet, Milo is a character in a kids show.   It’s a cartoon called Milo Murphy’s law.  The general concept is that this kid, named Milo, has anything and everything go wrong for him.  He knows it,  his friends know it, and they go about their adventures and have to deal with all the things that will go wrong because Milo is involved.  I have felt a lot like Milo lately whenever I do my cycling training.

I generally look forward to my cycling.  I have an awesome stationary trainer.  I have my really cool power pedals.  I use Zwift which is like a video game to entertain myself as I am trying to get the work done.  I have my headphones and a t.v. right there should I want to have another form of entertainment.  Lately,  anything and everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong.  I am not just talking about once or twice.  I am talking one or more things go wrong, every time.  I have a limited number of hours in the morning to get my workout done before I have to get ready for the day.  When something goes wrong and I end up taking a bunch of time to fix it, then I have an issue.  The first time it started, I chalked it up to a bad morning.  I was upset, but got over it.  I can’t remember if it was short enough that once I got it all fixed I was still able to work out, or maybe I did it that evening.  Either way, I let it go.  Then it happened again…. and again… and again.  I cycle three times a week and for a couple of weeks in a row, every single time I went to do it, things went wrong.  My heart rate monitor would not connect.  Fine,  I will do it without capturing that.  My power pedal lost connection and that mean that even though I was pedaling away, my workout was not being captured.  I deleted and started over…. four times.  Finally I just did it without the power readings.  Those were important since the entire workout was based on the power output.  Other times, Zwift wouldn’t work.  Ok,  fine I can use other forms of entertainment and means to capture the workout.  Last week, several things went wrong at once on more than one occasion.  One time, I just lost it.  I broke into tears, said forget it and just went and had my pity party in the shower.

It’s really disheartening to push yourself to get in a mindset where you are going to give it your all and then not be able to do it.  It’s hard to come back to that after all that struggle and enjoy it.  Once is one thing, but over and over can really try a person’s patience.  Well,  it tried mine at least.  After my little breakdown, I came back to it later in the day and got the workout done.  Still, not everything worked right, but I made do.  I still kept feeling sorry for myself.  Why can’t things just go right for me?  Is this the universe telling me that I should just quit this nonsense?  Can’t just one of these go right?  As I sat there feeling sorry for myself, I tried to think about what I could do to prevent the issues and see if that could help.  So, the night before my next ride, I opened up the apps, activated all the sensors, tested all the connections and got everything working.  Awesome!  Set myself up for success!  I was excited for the next ride.

The following day, I got my water bottle and my laptop and went over to get moving!  I was really stoked.  I hopped on the cycle triggered all my sensors and got going.  This was going to be a ride!  Not two seconds into my power based ride, did my power meter complete bag out on me.  Not again!  Keep calm, I told myself.  It’s ok.  I had scheduled enough time this evening that I could crank this workout out and still have dinner on time and everything.  Ok, I can fix this.  I worked on connecting, disconnecting, reconnecting.  It took well longer than anticipated and I still could not get it connected.  I eventually remembered that my trainer can act as a power meter and connected that for now.  After more than 30 minutes of struggling, I had a band-aid I could use to at least get it done.  I had already wasted any extra time I had, and then some.  I got started on the workout.  About ten minutes into it, I realized that while I could certainly use the trainer as a power meter, it would have been a lot better to use if I had calibrated it.  So, there I was, struggling through the workout not sure if I had the correct power or not.  It seemed harder than it should have been, but maybe it was just that I was so beat from trying to fix it.  My heart rate was way up before I started.  Don’t take that to mean that it was reading my heart rate well, because it wasn’t.  If I were a patient in a hospital and you looked at the readings, you would think I died every few seconds because it kept losing connection.

I eventually finished the workout and felt great.  I didn’t lose my cool.  As much as I wanted to throw my cycling shoes across the house, smash my bike, the trainer and the t.v….. I didn’t.  I stayed mostly calm (I’m not gonna lie, I was really frustrated) and was able to get back into the correct mind-set once I got moving for a while.  The “I should just quit this crap” thoughts were eventually replaced with pride that I worked really hard during that ride and did a good job.

Darin and I had joked that I was the Milo of cycling workouts.  Whatever can go wrong always seems to go wrong.  I am still not sure what lesson I am supposed to learn, I guess it’s patience and maybe mental preparation.  On the show, Milo doesn’t even think about it.  He pretty much knows it will go wrong and it never phases him.  His friends know it could go wrong, and it doesn’t phase them either.  They hang out with him, literally knowing everything will go nuts.  Why? Well, it always works out in the end.  Guess it’s the same with my cycling escapades.  What can go wrong, pretty much does, but it all works out in the end.  I have a ride tomorrow.  Fingers crossed!

Life, Triathlon

Where am I?

I have been blogging for a little over a year now, and did my best to post once a week.  There were a few times I missed, but for the most part I have been pretty consistent.  The reason I posted once a week is because  I thought that if I went monthly, or when I felt like it, I’d end up falling off the wagon, so to speak.  Over the last couple weeks, I have been beating myself up about it.  I’ve sat down at the computer and tried to write, several times.  I’ve probably started three or four different posts and ended up tossing them.  Not only was I drawing a complete blank, but even when I could get the words flowing, they didn’t mean anything.  I don’t want to write for the sake of checking off a “to-do” item.  I want to write because I enjoy it.

Similarly, I haven’t posted to social media in a while.  I used to post to Instagram, which auto posted to Facebook, almost daily.  I did that because I wanted to share and have had people tell me that seeing my posts has inspired them in some way.  I had been way more present in social media then I had ever been before.  I found myself checking Facebook and finding inspiration in others.  That’s one thing I really do love about social media.  Over the last few weeks, I don’t think I’ve posted a single thing.  I’ve liked others’ posts or shared others’ posts, but I don’t think I’ve posted, even when I intended to.

What changed?  First and foremost, I went ahead and took a leap of faith.  I hired a coach.  It was a difficult decision.  Half of me wanted to.  I want some guidance, I want some validation, I want to see if I can actually become good at this sport.  Not good in the podium sense, just good enough to “feel” good.  Half of me felt like I would be taking myself too seriously.  Who did I think I was?  What would I do if I were now accountable to someone?  Well, I am slowing starting to figure all of that out.  I had a discussion with my coach about my goals, challenges and upcoming races.  Then, my new plan was put into my calendar and the work started.  In the past, I would download a boxed training plan, which always included one to two days off each week.  When I got a look at the first two weeks of my new plan and saw that I didn’t have a day off, I started to realize how real things got.

Not only was the new plan missing a day off, the workouts were almost all double the time I had been training.  I was actually happy about that.  I’d been feeling like I was going through the motions in these 30-45 minute workouts each day.  None of them really challenged me, except the swims of course.  I jumped in with both feet, excited to see how I did.  My coach warned me that I’d only feel like I “crushed” my workout about 10% of the time.  Same thing with having a super struggle or not being able to finish.  The remaining 80% would be just “fine”.  I would push myself, but not to the point where I could not finish, just enough to get it done.  Boy was he right!  By the end of the week, I was pooped, but I was also so proud of myself.  I had increased my training hours by more than 25% and increased my effort exponentially.  The downside, I was exhausted.

At first, I wanted to post each morning.  After all, I had just done 1.5 hours compared to the 30 I had done prior and I was excited, but I found myself tight for time to get ready for work.  I figured I’d post later, but after work I was tired and didn’t bother.  By the end of the week, I hadn’t done a single post.  I went to blog that weekend and my head went blank.  By the end of week two, I was almost too tired to care.  Almost.  I did care, I wanted to post.  I wanted to blog, but I just didn’t have it in me.  I was feeling a bit defeated in one way, and absolutely amazing in another.  I had never worked so hard in all my training weeks.

I had to figure things out.  It all comes down to priorities.  Training means way more to me than any social media posts, updates or events.  I want to feel good about my performance at my next race.  I love blogging, but I never want to force a post.  I may do some kind of weekly recap of my training so that I have something to look back on (which I can also post to social media if I would like), but I’ve decided that if I post once a month, I will be happy.  I’ve got three weeks until my next triathlon.  In some ways, I feel like it’s my first triathlon, because this is the first time I feel like I have really prepared.  I don’t want to just survive this one.  I want to feel like I did well and prioritizing my training will hopefully do just that.