Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What Coaches Do

Warmed up on a hill, then you see the five repeats!
[ Gentle Reminder: Help me help kids with cancer! ]

So today was a hill repeat day.  Not just any hill repeat day, but five-minute hill repeats.  Five of them.  Which means I needed a five minute hill.  For those who may not quite understand, that's a hill that it will take me a full five minutes to ride up on a mountain bike.  Which is a pretty long hill.  And add to it that I needed to maintain a pretty high power level for the entire interval, too, which means if the hill isn't very steep then it has to be REALLY long because I'm going to have to go fast to maintain that moderate power.


Step one was to find a hill.  In looking at some old data, it seemed like I could do it at Umstead State Park.  Well, I'd actually have to start outside the park on Old Reedy Creek Road and travel into the park on what was basically a really steep hill for a short distance that flattens out into not much of a hill.  But all I needed was any kind of sustained uphill and I'd just make the bike go really fast to keep my power up.


So as I got the hill figured out and looked ahead to doing the interval, I thought "see, this is why you have a coach.  What a great idea that was.  You'd never plan to do something like this otherwise."  And with that I patted myself on the back and started my day.  Unfortunately, the day actually started with a little over an hour in the weight room with my other coach.  With him, well, there is no plan that I know about, I just show up two or three days a week and he puts me through all manner of crazy exercises that I couldn't even remember much less plan to do on my own.  And sometimes I even get to work with NBA or former NBA or going-to-be NBA players.  Which is cool until you are actually doing exercises with these freaks of nature who have legs about a mile longer than yours and are half your age and yet you somehow feel like you must do everything in your power to keep up with them.


After that, it was off for some lunch, a couple errands, and then to my hill in the afternoon.  Which was, of course, the hottest afternoon of the entire year.  I got warmed up and hit those first couple hill repeats.  Those went well, and I even put out more power than I should have.  But by the third one, I was thinking "WHY THE HELL DID YOU GET A COACH?!?!  WHAT KIND OF STUPID IDEA WAS THAT?  AND WHY IS SHE SO MEAN?  DOES SHE REALLY WANT TO KILL ME?!?!?"  (Yes, I yell at myself in my own head.)  But then Pandora saved me with just the right set of songs at just the right time and before long I was near the end of that last interval.  And I pounded out the rest of it.  The data is lovely.


And with that, my thoughts pretty much immediately went to "Man, I love my coach.  That workout was something I would never have done in a million years if she hadn't been there to make me do it."  And just like that, I turned around and coasted down the hill for a while, recovered, and decided to take a victory lap of Crabtree.  Which, as it turns out, I did really fast because, well, I was inspired.  I didn't care that it was hot, I didn't care that I was tired, I just wanted to let loose and have some FUN.  And while it put me over my prescribed time by a few minutes, I'm pretty sure the kind of fun I had was something my coach wouldn't have minded at all.  But just in case she did mind, I'm going to suck up a bit and plug her by reminding all of you that she's not just an awesome coach, but she's an awesome writer and yoga instructor.  So go buy her books and take her yoga classes (in person or online!).  gulp

[ My apologies for the gratuitous use of underlines, bolds, italics, and most of all, combinations of all of the above. No, wait, nevermind, I do not apologize.  It's cool and you know it. ]