Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Butter and Cement


Winter temps can be fickle in SoCal. Even on the most beautiful days I tend to stay close to home. When you ride out dressed for 61- 65 F and find yourself 15 miles from home when the wind comes up and it drops into the 40s it can turn a great ride into a big, slogging drag. I had a lot of work to do today besides, but knew I had to move my legs and was sorely in need of an endorphin rush.

My usual quick fix solution is to go up-down the hills just behind the house. The neighbors up there who walk their dogs are so used to me now they call out "How many laps today!?" as I zip past.

The revelation on this particular trip that makes it worth writing about is a subtle one but I'm sure familiar to many. The approaching crest of the first lap took me by surprise. Usually it takes me a LONG time to warm up. The first slope is short but steep and being far too proud to down shift into the wee gears I'm usually standing on the pedals for most of it. It feels like I'm riding through cement and I wonder if I'll ever get stronger. But here I was at the top and could barely remember the bottom. And the muscles in my legs were propelling me forward smooth as butter.

I can't even recall what it was that occupied my brain on the ascent. I might have been pondering (Ok, grinding my teeth over) the shamelessly fear-mongering statements made by John McCain in his victory speech last night. It could have been the old standby, 'why did I waste so much of my precious time on that particular ex-boyfriend'. Or, maybe it was about the big hole in the ground that I passed on the way up where the last pre-WWII cottage in the neighborhood was recently razed. Soon a $1mil. postage-stamp patch of ground would be turned into a $3 mil., three-storey ocean view pad with roof deck, at most three tiny bedrooms, a microscopic garage and not an inch of yard where kids or pets could play... priced thoroughly out of reach for 95% of the population....

The point is that I was DISTRACTED and arrived at the top of the hill without breaking a sweat. I felt awesome. Things are changing. The legs are BACK! So of course I went up-down the hills eight more times, as fast as I could until it HURT and I had a giant smile on my face.

Grrrrrrrr!

So many teachers and coaches stress FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS throughout any type of training process. I stand before you this evening in praise of
DISTRACTION!

If you want to make great strides in fitness my advice is to get out there and talk to yourself!

3 comments:

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

You are too funny my artistic friend.

Sometimes I get 40- 50 miles into a ride before I realize that I've really gone much of anywhere. Letting the mind wander might be "dangerous", but it sure can lead to some fantastic moments.

Love the butter.

April said...

I love going further, faster on the wings of distraction (albeit on feet, not wheels)! My only problem is my lousy sense of direction. "Woohoo! I've been walking for a couple of hours and didn't even realize it! So home is two hours away.... That way???"

There's nothing quite like retracing steps you don't remember taking.

Ride on!

Kk said...

Thanks Masiguy! But no thanks to Brando...

Hey April! Good to see you. Forget the GPS. All we need to get you is a big bag of Skittels!