Saturday, July 24, 2010

Life on the Road Part III

So the thing that seperates my job from most other people's are the hours, and the attitude.  I tend to have to work extremely long days.  When you attend an event, a tradeshow, a corporate sales meeting, conference whatever you just sort of walk in and watch, explore, experience it and then leave.  But behind the scenes there are people like myself who were there days before the event settting it up under the constant threat of a non negotiable deadline.  They don't hold the doors to let us finish setting up.  We have to be done in time.  There simply isn't another option.  The show must go on, as cliche as it is, rings very true in my world.  So we work tirelessly and sometimes through the night to get it done in time.  And when you walk in on show day just before the event starts we've already been there for several hours turning everything on, checking it, rehearsing it, and polishing it.  Sometimes frantically fixing it.  So when I travel the hours I work are long, and being late isn't an option.  Showing up to work offering anything less than my A game is not an option.  I'm here at this show because people know and trust me.  They know the quality of the work that I do and they are willing to pay to put me on an airplane to fly me out to the show and put me up in a hotel, feed me, and pay my daily rate.  They could hire a local guy for a lot less expense... but I'm better that that guy.  : )

So with all that in mind I need to be carefull how I train on the road.  I can't go out and do a 4 hour brick in the morning before work and show up all tired and be useless all day.  I can't complain that my legs hurt or whine that I'm too tired to climb that ladder for the 20th time today.  I have to suck it up.  We have a saying in my business that usually applies to guys going out after work and drinking too much, but it also holds true to going out before work and training too much....    If you want to play...   you gotta pay.  And its true.  There is a price I have to pay for putting in a hard workout before work.  For me its a juggling act of getting my training in and still being able to do my job.  Sometimes in the middle of a long workday I have to dig deep into reserves I didn't know I had to get through the rest of it and still put my best foot forward.  But I have to suck it up as there are plenty of younger guys out there ready to take my gig if I screw it up.  Good lord...  did I just say that?  I must be getting old!

Learning this balance has been tricky for me but I'm slowly figuring it out.  Fortunately most of the mistakes I made in figuring it out were when I was training for marathons while on the road.  I've suffered through some brutal days of getting up at 4am and running an 18 miler before putting in a 14 hour workday.  Often after getting out of work at 11pm the night before and only sleeping a few hours.  The truth though is that I work, so that I can enjoy my training.  Given the choice I'd train for a living and quit my job, but nobody is going to make me a proffesional middle of the pack athlete unfortunately.  So I'm stuck with trying to balance it all.  But enough about all that....  on to this morning's fun.

Some good things happened to my schedule this week as the show has progressed.  The best bit was that we ended last night way early and I was in bed by 11pm which was awesome.  So this morning I was up at 4:45am and was in a cab and on my way to the gym by 5:30.  At 5:45am I was on a spin bike in the gym getting my workout started.  The plan for the day was a 50 mile ride / 20 minute run.  At least that what my training plan called for.  In order to fit this into my work schedule and due to the fact that the spin bikes have no computer on them I changed this to a 2.5 hour ride, 5 mile run.  The 5 mile run just made sense as thats how far the gym is from my hotel.  So I cabbed it to the gym, rode for 2.5 hours, and then ran back to the hotel.  I initially started my workout on one of the other upright bikes in the gym and I quickly decided I hated that thing.  It just didn't feel like riding a bike.  And the seat was enormous and uncomfortable.  The body position was also all wrong.  So I moved over to the spin bike again and I was much happier and with all the adjustments on it was able to once again get a much more realistic and more comfortable riding position.  The seat was also smaller which made it easier to pedal.  So off I went.  I set the resistance to the point where I was starting to think about standing on the pedals every now and then to maintain pace and then I dialed it back a little.  My thought was that a nice steady resistance at a fairly high cadence while remaining seated was the best idea.  Ten minutes in and all was adjusted the way I wanted it.  2 hours, 20 minutes to go.  Hmmm.....    cranked up the Foo Fighters on my ipod and had at it.  There were not many other people at the gym and there wasn't a lot to be had in terms of anything to look at.  No bike computer, no tv, nothing.  Just me, the bike, the clock on the wall and my thoughts.  Actually there were tvs, but I'm recording all of the tour de france while I'm away so I'm desperately trying not to see any news coverage of it.  So I tried not to look at any of the TVs on the walls tuned to ESPN and CNN.  So I drifted off to my happy place and let my mind wander.  After about thirty minutes I was covered in sweat and well on my way to a nice rhythm.  At the one hour mark I was thinking...   man I really miss my bike.  Going nowhere is just not the same.  Remarkably the 2.5 hours passed pretty quickly.  But as the end approached I wondered how strong I would be on the run.  I was thinking about the brick I did in the high heat and humidity the week before and how I overheated and how hard that was.  I was hoping I would be much stronger on the run today.  Fortunately I was!

Off the bike, cleaned it up and ran out the door of the gym.  I'm fairly certain there were some people looking at me going whose that weird guy in the spandex shorts (tri shorts) whose been on the spin bike for forever this morning suddenly running out the door putting on a fuel belt covered in sweat?  Weirdo!  And can someone please mop up that puddle of sweat under the spin bike!

Out the door and I'm off and running.  Looked at my watch...  7:30 pace again.  Apparently the high cadence I like on the bike stays with me and keeps my legs moving quickly on the run.  This time however in the cool 70 degree temps and the early morning sun leaving shade everywhere I wasn't exploding inside.  I felt GREAT!  I was psyched.  I made no attempt to slow down at all.  About two miles in as I was climbing a hill I started to feel a little winded (maybe the altitude a little) but I still felt good.  The rest of the run felt awesome and went by quickly.  The route was fairly flat with some gradual ups and downs and a few rollers.  I managed it with a 7:40 average.  Nice!  So I'm thrilled that my problems with the run last week were heat related.

I got back to the hotel with just enough time to shower and clean up and head into work after a quick nosh on a power bar, some almonds, a banana and a bagel to refuel.  And now I'm back here at work feeling great.  At some point this afternoon a wave of tired will hit me and I'll have to bury it and get through the rest of the day.  Speaking of food/fuel...   I went through two gels, 20oz of gatorade and 48oz of water during my workout.  (another good way to get weird looks at the gym is to eat a GU gel while sitting on a spin bike)  As well as eating two balance bars and another 20oz of water before I started.  And even after all that I was 2lbs lighter at the end of my workout.  (yes I do pack a scale with me when I travel...  I'm weird like that).  Which is a good sign I was working hard today. 

But back to balance again...     As much as I've somewhat figured it all out and manage to get through an intense workout in the morning on not much sleep and then get through the workday the people that really impress me are the ones who train at the crack of dawn all the time, have three kids a house and two dogs and a fulltime job and still manage to get everything done.  I'm single and live alone and I feel like training, working, and keeping my place clean and my life in some semblance of organization is all I can handle.  So as much as I'm thrilled I've been able to balance it all so far I realize there are people out there that juggle a lot more than I do.

Up next tomorrow is a 12 mile run in the morning and then another long workday.  Should be a great run in the nice cool and dry early morning air here.  I'm looking forward to it.

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