THE TRUTH ABOUT MY DIRTY KANZA TRAINING.
If you’ve looked at my race schedule for this year you may have noticed the “Dirty Kanza” aka The Dirty. A couple of things to note – there is no “tri” in the name and there is “dirt” in the name. You know that can mean only one thing “off road bike”.
This is a 200 mile gravel race in Kansas. Yes, you read that correct 200 miles. Am I crazy? Yeah, a lil’ bit. It is self-supported which means that you supply all your own food and drink. I have 20 hours to finish the race. So I’ll likely be on the bike for a little less than a day. Another fact is that the race is at the end of May. That is less than 6 weeks.
This video from the website helps to put into perspective what it is that I’m doing. I like the part when the guys says all he could see was green, blue and a strip of gravel.
My training has been less than stellar. I am working with the same coach I used for Leadville, Mike. He’s definitely one in a million. I haven’t known him long but this guy knows what to say and when to say it, he gets it and he has great philosophy on life, riding and training.
I say that my training has been less than stellar because I haven’t been able to stick to my training plan. I usually am very regimented about completing my training plan. If there is a way to get it done I will find it. Where did that mental strength and tenacity go? Here’s my laundry list of why my motivations fizzled.
- The weather. It is impossible (or extremely hard) to do large training blocks on a trainer. I just don’t have 5 hours in me.
- The weather. It is depressing me. I have been commuting most of the winter and the cold weather just hurts, it’s the only way I can describe it. It has sunk so deep into my bones that I can’t get it out. It has made me weary and stiff. The couple of days that have been warm were glorious I felt like a rocket on my bike.
- The weather. It is making me not want to get up in the morning. Somehow I managed in Jan and Feb but lately I am just a suck. I set my alarm for 5 and I get up at 6 or later. I don’t remember ever needing so much sleep or not having the mental will power to get up and get it done.
- Work. As the miles ramped up so did work. I have a very seasonal job. The only month that I had a bit of a break so far this year was March, even then it was unusually busy this time around and of course (once again) the weather was shite.
- Work. Is also depressing me. I’m not a huge fan of what I do and having to work long hours has been hard. My races and workouts are my escape and without that I had fallen into a vicious cycle and am/was sinking in to a pit. I wasn’t able to get away somewhere warm to get some rides in because of work.
- Sadness. My sadness from Katie’s passing runs very deep, I miss her more than anything. In fact, this list are things that I would normally talk about with her and she would know exactly what to say. What I didn’t realize was what a physical and emotional toll it has taken on me. This is something my coach had to point out. I really didn’t put it together but my lack of spring in my step (pedal) is directly related to this.
- Lonely. Partly due to the cold and the sadness, I think the extra long rides by myself were tough because I was just lonely. I usually ride on my own but somehow I think planning to ride with some buddies wouldn’t be a bad idea.
- Diabetes. At my last doctor’s appointment my A1C ( measure of how controlled my blood sugar is) increased to 8.0 not a huge # but I had been in the 7’s for so long. Ideally you want this # to be lower than 7. In the past few weeks I have not been good at monitoring my blood sugars because of work which has been tough on my body and on my mental health.
- Weight. I’m not over weight by any means but I’ve packed on a few pounds and I can feel it. I am probably 5 pounds or so above what I like to be. I can’t seem to shake it. I am an emotional eater (and drinker) I am having trouble finding that will power to stick to a good diet. The long hours at work and Katie have made me seek comfort in food (and wine).
IT ALL STOPS HERE.
I turned over a new leaf this week. Just like I do with my diabetes all the time I will do it with this training. I can’t get myself down because of what happened in the past I can just look to the future and make it better than yesterday. So this week, I just rode when I could even if it was just a commute. And I didn’t push myself particularly hard when I did ride. Today, Friday, I got up early(ish) with a plan to hit the path before work at 6. I left the house at 6:30, returned at 6:35 because it was so cold that I needed to change into my winter jacket. I didn’t worry about speed or time. I just rode my bike for the sake of riding my bike. I rode 30 miles on my heavy commuter and took in the sun and the water and just had a nice ride. I even stopped to snap a glorious picture.
So with only 6 weeks to go I have a lot of work to do but I’m not going to sweat it. I admit I thought about not doing it but I really want to, I think it’s going to be a blast (ok some of it might feel like hell). I will finish this ride not because I have or have not done the training, I will finish because mentally I am tough and I am not a quitter. As my coach says this should not feel like a second job I should be doing it because I like it and I want to do it. So, with 2 hours in today, the plan is to ride tomorrow 7:30-11 have some lunch then I’m volunteering at another Tour de Cure event for a couple of hours. Sunday I have plans with a couple of VQ’ers to ride from about 6 to 11 or so, then hit the in-laws for Easter dinner.
Stay tuned for my progress!