Last week I slacked off a little - I didn't do a single hard workout. Fact is, I just didn't feel like it and work was stressful enough without piling on any extra stress. I decided to do a set of 3 long, progressive series of 15 minutes running on the treadmill last night, starting off at 15.5 kph and ending at 16.5 kph (while watching "Hellraiser VII"!). It didn't feel as tough a workout as the shorter, more intense series I had been doing a few weeks ago but it was still hard enough. It probably did more more good self-esteem-wise than physically. I really don't need to worry that I will "go to pot" if I don't have someone cracking a whip over my back. It feels good to run fast now and again!
Talking of running fast, I decided to sign up for the race organized by my company, the II Carrera Solidaria Santander. I opted for the 5k race even though I prefer longer races where I don't have to push the envelope so far, but the 5k route is much flatter. The race is a week on Sunday and, if you live in Madrid, Valencia or Santander and haven't already done so, then sign up! The proceeds go to Unicef.
This morning I came in by bike even though it took a huge effort to get out of bed the prerequisite hour earlier, especially with my heavy legs from the running series the night before. It's the perfect weather for commuting right now - cool enough in the morning that I don't work up a sweat, not so cold that I have to wear anything more than shorts and a t-shirt - and so it is no coincidence that two colleagues have approached me this week asking for advice on coming in to work by bike. There is still a chance that it catches on here as this is the first summer since the official cycle routes were announced back in October last year. (By the way, the cycle racks they have used only support the bikes from the wheel and are too wide for a racing bike wheel and too narrow for a freshly pumped mountain bike wheel. I'll have to see whether I get told off for chaining the bike to the signpost this morning.)
I enjoyed cycling along the same route that I went with Luca on Sunday, imagining he was there with me this morning. It's been a while since I have used that particular route to get to work because it is 99% off road and lately I have preferred to take a more roundabout route that allows me to cycle faster, getting a better workout and in less time. But, in terms of cycling pleasure, there is no doubt that the off road route is best. Luca had to write a short paragraph about his family for his homework last night. He wrote:
My dad is big and strong and likes to do training every day. My mum is kind of the opposite. She is short and has long hair. When I go cycling with my dad she says "Don't push him too hard!".
I realized today that I am much less obsessed about running, shoes, gadgets, triathlon, bikes, the blog (sorry), personal best times, injuries, etc. I'd love to know how to control my obsessions, how to turn them on and off, how to direct them. It's great that I was able to go from not having ridden a bike for ten years or even knowing how to swim with any semblance of technique to completing an Ironman in a decent time only a year and a half later and certainly shows a level of dedication (obsession?) - but if only it could have been in doing something more useful! To be fair, it is very "useful" to be in good physical shape - not only has my life expectancy been extended but, according to advocates of regular exercise, I should even have more energy and be more alert as a consequence (I also believe this). But this could have been achieved in a less dramatic fashion, surely...