Friday, February 17, 2012

A day off

As the kids are off school for half term, I thought I would take a day off work to spend some time with them (and to tear them away from the telly). For most other kids in Spain, half term doesn't exist, so it was a good opportunity to hit the slopes just north of Madrid, which are normally so crowded at weekends it's a wonder why anyone bothers going there at all. We spent most of the afternoon sledging and I began to get quite tired from schlepping up the hill and from the thinner air at altitude (about 1,800 meters). Still, it was probably good training.

While I was driving home I remembered an episode from my training for a Half Ironman in 2010. It made me realize just how crazy I was, all the more so for not thinking much of it at the time. We had a long weekend break in las Palmas (in fact, it was while we were there that I learned of my friend Neil's death). Determined to stick to my training one morning while my wife was working, I hired a bike-rickshaw and set off with the kids on the back seat and me pedaling at CEXT (pulse rate of 123 bpm). You can imagine that we were going along quite a lot faster than those bikes are really designed to go. At first it was fun, I suppose, and we were all laughing. But at some point, the top corner of the rickshaw frame caught a low hanging tree and stopped us dead in our tracks - my eldest son banged himself on the saddle and got a nasty shock. If that wasn't enough, I got into a game of chicken with a hoodie on a BMX and ended up in a swearing match with him which he sensibly backed out of, pointing out that my behaviour wasn't appropriate in front of the kids.

Reading back over what I've just written makes me feel quite embarrassed about it and I very nearly deleted the whole post. I've come to realize that if you have to make that sort of effort or sacrifice to squeeze your training in, it isn't worth it. The problem I find is that it is easy to fall a little bit further into that trap each day without realizing it, rather like what happened to me some weeks ago when I got all stressed out about my training and decided to cut back. Now if I had some gadget which told me I was pushing it, I might actually listen.

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