I’m in mourning. Today is my last day of vacation. Where does the time go, seriously?! I had a great week off full of rest and relaxation, and I’m actually a little excited to get back to my crazy life tomorrow.
Today I’m going to be hitting up an RPM class at noon, my last “day time” class for a while, and I’m hoping to get there a few minutes early and nail the bike setup. This time I’m also coming prepared with a towel and a squirt waterbottle so that I’m not fumbling with the screw-off top of mine while we’re struggling up a mountain.
Even the fictious mountains are NOT pleasant. Who ever decided that humans should bike up mountains anyways?
This weekend Matt and I spent probably a solid 4 or 5 hours in total talking about the state of the cycling industry since the ugly truth has come out about Lance Armstrong’s long history with doping and the rest of the professional bikers as well. We are totally enthralled by it. It’s like the darkest, seediest, most twisted, incestuous soap opera you’ve ever seen….
Except it’s real.
Matt’s been reading an absolutely fascinating book called “The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-Ups and Winning At All Costs” written by Tyler Hamilton, one of Lance Armstrong’s teammates on the U.S. Postal Service team. I highly recommend it!
Anyways – today’s post isn’t actually about cycling, RPM or biking up mountains. It’s about running. And in particular, a realization that I came to this weekend.
I slept in on Saturday morning (slap my wrists) and missed my scheduled RPM class. Rather then get really discouraged and beat myself up, I decided instead to go out for a run.
Side Note: Pre-Ironman training Sara would never have thought to do that. I used to get very rattled when my plans went off the rails, and kind of thought that if it wasn’t how I had originally planned it, then it was doomed to be a train wreck. I’m totally loving this new-found flexibility and willingness to bend.
The first 20 or so steps of my run, I knew that it just wasn’t going to be a good one. My body felt heavy, sluggish, tired. I also picked a route that starts out up-hill, so right away I felt like I was labouring. As I struggled along, I was fumbling desperately with my iPod. I knew that my only hope of continuing to run was to find a great song that I could fill myself up with and disappear into.
Sure enough, I did come to a good song (it was the song “So Good” by B.O.B. in case you were interested!!), and then my run really began. I disappeared into the song, cranked my iPod, and ran for 45 minutes without looking back. The only moments that I really struggled, were the moments in between songs when I had to fumble around for another song to carry me through. I realized in that 45 minutes exactly how much I lean on my music and my iPod.
I’ve had this god awful, sick suspicion that’s been brewing in the back of my mind for a while, but I hadn’t officially confirmed it because the thought of it being true made me want to throw up.
Yesterday I finally faced up to it, went online and scoured the Athlete Guide for the words that I feared most. Sure enough, there they were written in Arial Bold font plain as the nose on my face.
“No iPods allowed”
What am I going to do? I am totally freaking out. I’ve been trying to get my head around the idea of biking for 90km and then running a half marathon with nothing except the sound of my ragged breathing in my ears, and it just seems insurmountable.
You know what’s funny? I don’t miss my music at all in the water. I actually enjoy the chance to let my mind wander a bit while I’m swimming and daydream about things. I’m not 100% sure about the bike, since I’ve never really done a “training bike ride” in my life (oh God…oh God…), but I would anticipate that my biggest struggle without music will certainly be the run.
I intended to write this post about “my game plan to learn to run without music”, but if I’m being truthful, I don’t have one yet.
So instead, I’ll share this list of 10 ideas that I’ve brainstormed for what to do while running a half marathon in silence to keep my mind occupied.
1) Solve world hunger
2) Try to recite the alphabet backwards and forwards 26 times increasing speed each time
3) Play that “animal” game by myself (where you say an animal, and then think of another animal that begins with the last letter of the previous animal)
4) Think about how much my feet hurt and how silly it is for humans to do events like this
5) Look at the spectators and make up stories about why they’re there and how they could secretly be a superhero in disguise
6) Bird Watch
7) Day dream about the absolutely enormous hamburger that I’m going to eat if I survive
9) Pretend that I’m Usain Bolt and repeatedly do the lightning pose as I run along
10) Draft Haiku about running
Sara’s First Triathlon Haiku
Dear Race Officials
Why oh Why Must You Forbid
iPods. That is mean.