This blog series follows me, an extremely average cyclist, as I go all in to complete the legendary Leadville 100 race on a singlespeed mountain bike.
7 Weeks In:
How tired am I? I made some tea to put into my thermos for work, only this time without the tea. It wasn’t until my last few sips tonight, towards the end of my shift that I realized I was just drinking warm water. I’m nearing the end of a higher-volume workout week, but since I switched some days around to accommodate us going to Fat Bike Worlds next week, I’m only four days in on a nine-day work streak, and that thought alone is daunting.
My job isn’t particularly hard or stressful. It pays the bills, has awesome benefits, my coworkers are fun, and I love that I can leave work at work. But I’m finding that having to be somewhere, not of my choosing, for 40 hours a week is a bit tedious. I’m not lazy, I swear. I want to contribute to society, but a month and a half into my training program, the biggest challenge I have found so far is time management. I am still in the “base” period, so the individual workouts haven’t really been harder than what I have already been doing. They have, however been a lot more consistent. Before, I rode two to four hours, once or twice a week, with a shorter workout somewhere in the middle of the work week, maybe. Now I have one to three hours on the schedule almost every day, whether I’m working or not. So now I’m pinching minutes and wondering how people with busier lives and children manage to do something like this.
I’m stressing a bit, but I’m stressing because I have to go to work, not because I have to go ride my bike, or hang out with my husband (I don’t get to see him much anyway), or cuddle with my cat, or read a book. I think having limited time just really highlights all the things I would rather be doing. Slowly I’m adapting. I set up my coffee maker at night, and sneak in small errands as I have a few minutes here and there. I repeatedly stare at my training schedule and play time slot Tetris before I commit to any appointments. Often, I’ll put on my workout clothing first thing out of bed because it will get me out of the house quicker. Most importantly, I’ve been allowing myself a little time, both in the morning and a bit after work, to just sit; with my coffee, with my thoughts, and with my idiot cat.
In spite of being tired today, I stayed out a bit longer than planned. Today was a cross-training day, so I went skinning around my neighborhood mountain. Being stingy with my time, I have been doing that a lot since I don’t really want to drive anywhere. It snowed the day before, so I felt like I should be hunting powder, so I went looking for anything that looked even remotely skiable. I found nothing, and the old me was slightly disappointed in the new me for missing some potentially good turns. The new me, however, was finding other things to enjoy about the tour. I loved being the first one out on a Saturday morning and laying first tracks in the new snow. I loved trying to improve my really poor navigational skills by trying to figure out where the buried trail was, and paying attention for the first time to how it followed the natural contours of the terrain. I also loved saying “fuck it”, and breaking in shortcuts, and trudging around to get a better peek at something, and going straight up a pitch because I can.
The workouts will get much harder and longer as the next eight months leading up to the race will fly by. When we get back into summer mode at work, the job itself will get much more physical. I am using this time to tweak how I handle a busy schedule, and I hope that I will keep a perspective similar to today’s: I am out here because I want to be, and work is just something I have to deal with so that I can be.