A New Season

We were all set up on the trainers facing the full wall mirrors in the back of the Endorphin Fitness facility. I did not know how I felt about this addition. Maybe I would like it mid-season when my muscles bulge and my body is toned. But today with my hairy skinny legs, bulging hips and my child-like upper body I am not liking what I see.

However, although I took an extra lenient off season enjoying hiking as opposed to training, something tells me I am strong, and I am fast. Sure I was dropped in the shop ride last weekend and sure I have a couple pounds more fat and a couple less muscle. But this will be my seventh year running, sixth year cycling, and fifth year competing in triathlons. And I think after that much time on the road, in the saddle, and in the pool that I can take hints from my body.

I know something is different this year. Something within me is responding and adapting faster than ever before. So my hesitation with this workout is purely visual trusting that even the subtle curves of a Ford Crown Victoria can hide a nasty surprise.

On my first run back my legs flowed like my Peak race was just yesterday.

I joined the YMCA to see if the EPO-like boost that hiking gave me transferred to the water. While not so immediate, the improvements I have gained from the past couple weeks in the pool have given me times faster than ever before.

I tested myself yesterday. After hearing a quote from Will Smith declaring that if he were to race anyone on a treadmill he would win or die trying I ventured down to my dusty basement clad in synthetic wear and a cotton headband, sweat rags draped over my shoulders. In suit the dogs came close behind. As the belt began to turn and the floor began to shake as the machine lifted up to top speed, my dog Lola, stared at me with curiosity. But the stare could not be returned. The mission, not impossible, was to complete three mile repeats in six minutes each. By the last minute of the last interval a near grin formed on my face, a smirk that could not find the ease I found with a formerly difficult pace.

Something has renewed me physically and mentally that has brought an extreme change in my level of fitness. Whatever it was it is sure to lead me to my best and most enjoyable season yet. With being away from training for such a long time I had doubts about my fitness and my inspiration suffered from those doubts. But seeing the times and the heart rates and feeling the comfort, I think I may test my legs at Smithfield triathlon this year. Last year I was owned by my teammates at Tech and Endorphin. This year it is time for redemption.

But for now my goal is to struggle on these trainers facing the ugly reflection of  the side effects of my four-month relaxed hike.

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