Friday, August 27, 2010

Updates From Raleigh

Another day another dollar, and more fun cramming in workouts around actual work.  So lets get to it...

Yesterday morning I was up at 5am and in the hotel gym by 5:30 to get on the spin bike.  Its one of those Life Fitness brand upright bikes that every hotel gym seems to have.  I hate them.  The handlebars are too high for me so my position on them is awkward at best.  But its better than nothing.  Often I'll try and find a real gym near my hotel and see if they have actual real spin bikes to use as I find them to be more adjustable and a better approximation of a bike.  But no such option here so me and the Life Fitness bike are about to get real close.  I usually set these things to "Random Hill Workout" at 50% of max difficulty.  The variance in intensities gives me a great workout and stops my brain from shutting down due to intense boredom.  Theres a friendly little display of evil red dots that shows you what your upcoming toruture is going to be.

The really tall spikes indicate upcoming pain.  The really low spikes indicate blissful easy spinning.  Sometimes there are many really tall spikes in a row which indicates sustained pain and suffering.  I find the random workouts to be pretty good and at the end of an hour I feel pretty accomplished at the puddle of sweat under the bike.  Especially in your typical way too warm hotel gym.  I find that the least likely someone is going to want to get on the bike after I'm done with it the better the workout I've just had.  I am however happy to say that I do a pretty good job of cleaning the bike when I'm done.

After the bike it was back to the gig for day 2 of setup.  I'm also happy to say that day 2 went a hec of a lot better than day 1 did!  I had some good local lead techs on my crew which made the day go by nicely and I managed to get everything done and show ready by 3pm.  At which point I pretty much just had to hang around till 5 to be told I'm done for the day.

At 5pm I went back to my hotel room and made a fabulous PB&J bagel sandwhich, banana, and some raw almonds for dinner.  And then promptly after that I fell asleep and had one of those "big mistake" naps.  I was pretty tired.  My job can be fairly physical at times so usually after an intense workout and a long day I'm pretty beat.  I wokeup around 730pm and spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling trying to fall asleep.  Pretty exciting eh?  Not so much!

This morning I was up at 5am again and headed to the hotel torture chamber / gym for my long run.  I decided to do my long run on the dreadmill for a few reasons.  The largest of which is that although I didn't have to be at work till 10AM this morning its always possible that some problem will arise and I'll be asked to come in much earlier than that.  If I'm out running 5 miles from the hotel I'm going to be in a world of trouble and my client is not going to be happy with me.  It was also dark for the first hour of my run this morning.  I don't really care for running in a city I don't know in the dark when I'm at risk of running into the wrong neighborhood at any moment.  (I've done that before... it wasn't fun!)  I also have a tendency to get lost easily as I have no sense of direction whatsoever.  Add all that up and its rare I will run long on the road if I can't find a nice long straight road or trail to run on thats easy to navigate.  The other reason not to do it outdoors is I'm right smack in the middle of the city which from looking at the map the night before means that I would have been stopping every 2 minutes to cross the street.  Which gets really old after a while.  So the dreadmill it is!

When I walked into the hotel gym this morning I had the place to myself.  Fabulous.  This means I get to crank my ipod and attempt to air drum and sing along to my ipod.  Sweet.
I decided I was going to run easy and long today with a planned distance of 14 miles.  My training plan calls for this run to happen on Sunday after a long bike/run brick on Saturday.  Well my work / travel schedule means I have to get creative with my training plans so my long run got moved to today as it was the day that I didn't have to be at work at 7am and could get my run without having to wakeup before 5AM.  I also wanted to do my last long brick on my actual bike and not on a spin bike so I've bumped that one to tuesday even though that means its technically cutting into my taper time a little.  I'm not worried though as I'll taper dilligently after that workout is done.

Anyway...   so today was long run day.  Nothing like looking at the treadmill display to see it saying .21 miles run so far.  And then your thinking....   AWESOME!  Only 13.79 to go!  Yikes...    I have to say the one thing I discovered that I was good at when I got into endurance training is that mentally I can be a rock when I need to be.  I can go to my happy place and let my mind wander and stay positive while the miles tick away.  So for the first ten miles I thought about all sorts of things.  I thought about running the FIRM course.  What that last bit of the run along the beach is going to feel like.  Who might be at the finish line cheering.  Hoping that I'll see and get to run with other Tri-NE club members out on the run course.  And maybe even getting to battle them to the finish line a little bit for some good fun and friendly competition.  I remembered back to watching everyone assemble in the finish area after finishing the AMICA 1/2 and how happy all the finishers looked and that this time I'll be one of them!  Lots of happy thoughts today.  I thought about some good things that are happening next week, about a friend of mine whose been having a bit of a tough time lately and all sorts of other random things.  This mixed with some early U2 on the ipod meant I was having a grand ol time for the first 10 miles. 

Somewhere in there the hotel gym started to fill up with the usual suspects.  Every hotel gym has the same characters in it.  Especially early in the morning.  Theres always the old guy on the recumbent bike set to zero resitance gently spinning away while reading the paper.  The larger sweaty guy on the elliptical mistakenly thinking that he can make up for eating that giant meal and 12 beers at the hotel bar with twenty minutes on a machine with a towel around his neck.  Then theres the serious runners hitting the treadmills for the same reason I am, the guy who is sort of lifting weights only he's resting about ten minutes between sets while not very discreetly staring at the fit looking woman on the treadmill.  Then there's me...   the weird guy with two bottles of gatorade and GU wrappers all over the floor around the treadmill whose made a giant puddle of sweat everywhere and doesn't seem to stop running.  Ever. 

All this gets me to mile ten.  At this point this switch goes off in my brain that says...  YOU MUST STARE AT THE DISPLAY!  I can't seem to help myself.  I can't help but stare that mileage display creeping every so slowly towards 14 miles.  Actually its creeping up to 7 miles as the stupid treadmills wont let you run longer than an hour.  So you have to stop and restart them at that point.  But I digress...    the last four miles were long, boring and dull.  The only thing that broke it up was that I accidentally swung my arm into the headphone cable going to my ipod which made my ipod land on the belt of the treadmill and go shooting ten feet across the gym floor.  Oops!  So I picked that back up and resumed my run.  Switched the tunes to some screaming loud Foo Fighters to give me a little pep and dialed up the speed to 7:30's to keep me motivated, interested, and get this stupid run over with!  Eventually the human hamster wheel relented and I'd made it to 14 miles.  Yay!  The end of a good workout always feels great, but the end of a long treadmill run feels fricking fantastic!  In fact its pretty spectacular.  I'd rank the sensation of watching the mileage indicator reach where your heading for up there with winning the lottery.  At least momentarily anyway.

So with that workout done I'm now back at work.  Today should be an easy day.  Mostly babysitting the lighting rig till the live broadcast tonight which will keep me busy till around midnight when I can collapse in bed again.  Tomorrow is an off day although I may try and swim if I'm feeling good.  The hotel pool isn't quite 25 yards, but it might be 20.  Could be worse.....

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