We all have occasional bad training days. In some cases, it is not that the training goes poorly, it’s just that everything else seems to go wrong. For me, 140.6 training is an obsession and I’m still learning to keep the minor setbacks in perspective. So when something goes wrong on a training day, I have a hard time not getting frustrated.
This particular day started with the memory of a setback on my previous evening swim session. I was 1000 meters into what was to be a challenging 3000 meter workout. I hear the teenage lifeguard’s voice: “sir you will need to get out of the pool. There has been a fire.” Fire? What fire? I’m in the water, how can there be a fire? Turns out the pool pump-room had an electrical fire. As I watched the half-dozen fire engines roll up, I was pretty sure that my workout was over. Pool closed indefinitely. Well, there’s all way tomorrow, I thought, as a dejectedly drove home.
Setting out for a bike ride is always a logistical challenge for me, especially if it is a longer ride. This particular morning was no different. My check list: contact lenses in, sunscreen on, Garmin watch and heart rate monitor, hydration and nutrition, tires aired up, helmet and shoes, and neck stretching (a necessity for me before any ride). I think I’m ready, but already 10 min behind schedule. Riding in the Texas heat will make you want to stay on schedule and get out on the road as early as possible. Just as I’m ready to start, I realize that I failed to charge my watch and I’m looking at a blank screen. Rats! I’m a data geek, so this was going to be unacceptable. I went for my back-up watch, which was not compatible with the heart rate monitor. A minor setback in my quest for data. Oh well, it is a reasonably nice morning and I’m on my bike. One of my happy places so it’s all good…
Until I hit the 5 mile mark of my ride and I got a flat. Of all the things I could run over on the road, somehow I managed to find a construction staple that logged perfectly into my back tire. At first I could just hear the “ting, ting, ting” of something in my tire. At that point my tire was fine. But I knew I had to pull the staple out, and when I did the puncture fulfilled its destiny-flat tire. I worked to get the flat fixed as the sun and the temperature rose higher. Back on the road after the brief delay.
Now I’m wanting to make up time. The first 10 miles of my route has several traffic lights. Sometimes I get lucky and breeze through the green lights. But not this morning. I’m confident that I stopped at every light. At one point after several misses, I verbally assaulted the light as it changed to yellow. My rant at the light did not help.
Finally, I’m on the open road and getting the work in. Maybe this day is turning around. And it did for most of the rest of the ride…until I was three miles from home sitting at a traffic light (red, of course). As the light went green and I started, I got that familiar feeling of rim against road. Yes, my second flat of the day. I only carry one tube and CO2 canister, which I had used earlier. At that point I threw in the towel and called the Crew Chief to rescue me. Unfortunately, I did not get the pleasure of climbing the last big hill before getting home. But I was ok with that.
As a side note, while I waited for the SAG wagon, three different people in cars stopped to offer help. Way to Roll Nice Austin!
Afterward, I contemplated the last 24 hours. Yes, things had gone wrong. But at the end of the day, I was outside doing something I love. I was safe, I did not have any injuries, and I got the work done. All-in-all I scored the day a success. I reminded myself that bad days are relative, and that I needed to keep my 140.6 training in perspective. And I already started looking forward to my next training adventure.