Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
I officially began zone training using my handy-dandy Garmin 310 XT (known henceforth as the Garmin Overlord) today. I had to do 25 miles while keeping my heart rate frustratingly low... as in under 121 bpm. Whenever my hr went outside the prescribed limits... BEEP! The Garmin Overlord would BEEP my punishment. At first, I could only(BEEP) maintain 13-14 mph without my heart rate(BEEP) winging skyward like a happy little lark (BEEP). I truly though my brain was going to (BEEP)explode! I rebelled. (BEEP) I bitched. (BEEP) I whined. (BEEP) I got mad. (BEEP) I got bored. (BEEP)(BEEP)(BEEP)
Then I started focusing on being the most efficient cyclist I could imagine. I really wanted to get this over with. (BEEP) Knees in, elbows in, head down, engage the hamstrings, accentuate the backside of the pedal stroke. That earned me about 1 mph. Better than nothing. Keep it up! Focus! Focus! Fo.... ooooh... something shiny!(BEEP)(BEEP)
I started getting caught up in the scenery. The beautiful, magnificent ocean, palms, houses, the stunningly perfect weather, the dappled afternoon sunlight and early evening shadows.... and the really great song coming through my earbud. (Only one, the left ear is dedicated to traffic sounds.)
Slowly, slowly, I felt myself relax. I let go of the tension in my jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, hands... and realized that I was holding speeds over 17 mph with a heart rate of around 116. I accelerated slightly and held at 17.5-17.8 and if my heart rate crept to 120, relaxing again was all it took to bring it down.
And then this random biker passed me.
ARRRGGHHHH!!(BEEP) (BEEP) (BEEP)I don't do "passed". (BEEP) As I struggled (BEEP)with the need to bolt off after him, my heart rate(BEEP) shot way(BEEP) up and nothing(BEEP) I did would bring it down. (BEEP) I had to slow waaay down to a turtle's pace to bring it back under control. (BEEP) For a number of miles, I was harboring so much tension(BEEP) that 13 was about my top speed. Finally, I relaxed again (or I would still be out there finishing my mileage at midnight!) and was able to finish the ride at a 15-16 pace, never quite finding that slightly zen pace.(BEEP)
And now I know that I waste an awful lot of energy to tension. My coach has now added meditation to the list of things I need to do to be successful in this sport. I am reminded what a beautiful place I live and how much I enjoy my training. My bike is always my happy place and today's moment of clarity made it even more so. And I know that I really hate the Garmin Overlord!!!