Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tri Tuesday / Life on The Road / Open Water Quandry

Its Tri Tuesday again...    still figuring out how this is going to fit into my new training schedule.  This week its going to fit regardless as I'm away in Denver Wednesday through Monday so I have to cram in as much open water and cycling time before I go as I have no idea what I'll find in terms of facilities out there within easy access of my hotel and limited time schedule.  So I swam yesterday and this morning so even if I don't have access to a decent pool out in Denver I'll still have logged a couple of open water sessions this week.  Tonight I plan on doing the Providence Bicycle TT course with the 5K run tagged onto the end of it.

So lets talk about travelling for a little bit here...    a lot of people think travelling for work must be fun, and getting to see different towns is fabulous and exciting.  Maybe in some jobs....   but here's how my show in Denver will work.

Wednesday...   up at 5am, off to the airport and arrive in Denver at 2pm.  Get settled into hotel room, quiz the front desk on running routes, and then take off for a five miler.  Considering my client has decided to put their event on in the fabulous Denver Aiport Hotel I don't know if an outdoor run is going to be very scenic.  It will probably be a tour of rental car and longterm airport parking lots.  Joy.  Hopefully back from the run by 5pm.  Get cleaned up and showered and forage for healthy food.  Granted I'm in an aiport hotel.  So this probalby means getting a salad with some chicken on it and the dressing on the side.  Or if I'm lucky a sandwhich and some fruit from the starbucks I hope is in the lobby.  After that I'll research the pool and gym situation, try and find a hottub to go and soak in and then go to bed around 7pm which will feel like 10pm to me.

Thursday...  hopefully the hotel gym has a decent excercise bike in it.  Preferrably a spin type bike.  Or if not hopefully theres a nicer gym nearby that I'll shoot to arrive at by 6AM.  I'll do an hour on the bike and then rush back to my room to shower, then head to an 8 hour setup day.  Finish that around 5 or 6, shower, eat, sleep.

Friday...   I get to sleep in a little today!  Yay!  I'll hit the pool by 8am for an hour swim session, and then get ready to go to work.  Show opens around noon and I'll work from 10am or so till 1am.  Crawl into bed exhausted and pass out.

Saturday...   So heres the deal now.  Once the show opens it runs something like 18-20 hours a day.  And once its open I can't leave the hotel while the show is in progress.  I have to be able to rush back and fix something if I'm not there.  Since I work till 1am I usually have a later call time (time I have to be back at the gig).  So I'll get up saturday morning at 6 on 5 hours sleep and try and complete a monster indoor brick.  I'll shoot to do 50 miles on the bike and a 20 minute run after that.  Shower, and then off to work by noon till 1am again.

Sunday...    I have two choices on sunday...   getup at 6am to run 12 miles outside, or sleep in a little later and run the 12 miles on the treadmill indoors because the show floor is open at around 8am and I can't be off property when its open.  I'll aim to run outdoors, but sometimes I'm just too tired by this point.  I'll then work from about noon till 10pm.  The show ends around 6 or 7pm and then we spend several hours taking it down and stuffing it back in the trailer.  Which in the case of this show is a 53' trailer stuffed floor to ceiling front to back.

Monday...   swim at the crack of dawn, shower, head to airport, attempt to catch up on 5 days worth of not enough sleep on the plane, arrive in Providence at 8pm, crawl into bed as I'll probably have an open water swim tuesday morning and the TT that afternoon.

Now notice theres no sightseeing...   no fun outings to new and exciting restaurants, no hikes in the mountains of Denver or anything else exciting.  The most sightseeing I ever do on a business trip is whatever I happen to run past in the early mornings.  Other than that I see the airport, some variation of cab/limo/shuttle bus, a hotel room, the venue, the hotel's crappy restaurant, the starbucks in the lobby, and thats pretty much it.  Still think travel is exciting?  This is why I need to eventually come up with a longterm plan to get off the road and consider a new career, or a change in my current one that would allow me to stay home.  Training around multiple time zones and locations is a pain in the ass.  And the only way to do it is to sacrifice sleep.  I kind of like sleep.  An 8 hour day in my job when I'm travelling is a rarity.  Typically most days are 12-18 hours.  So pretty much any training you do has to be in the early morning.  I apologize if this comes off as whining...   I'm just trying to convey a little bit about the reality of trying to juggle my work/life/training balance.  Its really quite hard to do sometimes.  Although I will say this blog is letting me air my thoughts on the subject out a little bit and figure out where I want my priorities to be.  Not that I've figured it out yet, but this blog is certainly helping me down that road.  If anyone actually reads it, well thats nice too!  : ) 


So some other random thoughts....

This morning I did an open water swim with a friend of mine.  Our plan was to do a route just over a mile.  We swam out to roughly the quarter mile point and my friend decided that they just weren't feeling it today.  So this person decided to swim back to shore and told me that they would wait for me to return to make sure I got out of the water ok and told me to continue on with my workout.  I asked if this person was sure that they could make it back to shore safely and got a defnite yes.  So I swam on with my route.  However somewhere along my way out I started to wonder if I'd made the right decision.  I'm new to open water swimming so I'm not entirely sure of the proper way to handle such things.  Now this particular person was in a wetsuit, is quite strong, and a very safe swimmer.  But even the strongest people when tired are at risk in the water.  Should I have followed them back to shore?  Was it stupid for me to do the out and back by myself even with someone waiting for me?  The funny thing about open water swimming is they say you should never do it alone.  But really...   what is the other person going to do if you get into trouble?  None of us are trained in life saving techniques.  Not to mention how would I even know they were in trouble?  When we swim in groups we tend not to check in with each other except for maybe every 1/4 to 1/2 mile.  Which is plenty enough time for someone to get into trouble and drown without me even noticing or hearing anything.  Contrary to what you see on TV people drown silently.  Theres no splashing and yelling.  So was it stupid of me to continue on by myself?  Is having someone on the shore waiting to make sure I come out of the water a 1/2 mile from my current position even helpfull?  Is it enough?  Should I have even swam out there at all?

The more I think about this the more I'm kicking myself for not at the very least swimming back into the shore with this person to make sure they made it safely out of the water.  That was the right thing to do.  I know they told me to continue on with my swim but it still wasn't right that I kept going.  I'm a bit angry at myself about it now.  Had the tables been turned I would have appreciated the gesture.  So had I done that the question is then what would I have done after that?  gone out again on my own with someone on the shore?  or cut my workout short?  I still don't know the answer to that one.  Definitely food for thought.


  1. Nick,
    I was a life guard for many years and actually helped save a man's life last summer. You are right...he was drowning silently. If it weren't for his wife yelling, I would have kept on reading my book. Don't beat yourself up on that decision. We are all adults and I think we all assume that the people we swim with will be fine. I would have let that person swim back by themselves too. It's the risk that we all take by swimming out their...unfortunately.

  2. Thanks Nancy... good to hear another point of view on the subject. And nice job saving that guy. I think I may try and take a basic lifesaving course in the offseason this winter. Seems like a good basic skill to have.