I was just telling a friend today that I'm feeling pretty good this week about the life I've created for myself. As long as I'm not traveling, I feel like I've been able to strike a pretty good balance between being a mom, a wife, an athlete, a coach, and a saleswoman. It just takes a little prior planning (and beach park showers) to fit it all in.
Take today, for example. My plan was to call on a couple of restaurants up on the north shore... but I also wanted to fit in a bike ride that included a couple of long aerobic climbing efforts... and since there's a great 25-30 minute climb up there, I knew that would be the best place to do it. So after dropping Moana off at day care, I packed my bike, helmet, shoes, sunglasses, nutrition, work clothes, shampoo, towel, make-up bag, and coffee samples into my car and headed north.
I know I write about riding hard a lot, but the truth is, I do believe in aerobic base riding. And climbing easy. And I do it, quite often. I just don't normally write about it because it's boring. I've found that in order to force myself to ride easy, I need to arrange a couple of things beforehand. #1 I have to go alone. Forget training partners on your easy days. People always say they're going to go easy but human nature, in most cases, takes over and it's never as easy as it should be. #2 Wear a HR monitor and stick to your zones. OR #3 Do NOT look at your watch and attempt to time yourself in any way. I used to time myself on my easy days just for fun, or just so I'd know how slow easy pace really is, but inevitably I'd end up pushing the pace a bit in an effort not to see a slow time on my watch. So yeah, I don't do that anymore.
So today I was all set to climb easy up Pineapple Hill. I was riding alone. I did NOT look at my watch at the bottom of the hill. I forgot to pack my HR monitor this morning but I think I know what easy feels like and given that I had two of my three rules covered, I figured I'd be fine. And I was. The effort up the hill was perfect. I don't know how long it took. It doesn't matter. :) I cruised down the hill to finish the loop and began the climb again.
And then I saw him. Uh oh.
Some random rider up ahead of me on the climb. The self talk began. Do not go catch him, Michelle. You do not care about that guy. Just ride your own easy pace... etc. It would have worked too, except that guy ahead of me was slow. I was catching him. Oh well. Make a swift pass and maybe he'll let you go and that'll be that. So I passed him. And then you know what happened.
So this guy picks up his pace because heaven forbid he get passed by a girl. He jumped on my wheel as I rode by. Keep your effort easy, I tell myself. Ok, so the guy decides that he can now push harder so he passes me back. Control yourself, Michelle. Let him go. You do not care about this guy. Do NOT ruin your ride because of your ego. So I let him go. But you know that after about 1 minute this guy started to poop out and come back to me.
This is exactly what I was trying to avoid, but here I was, riding back and forth with this guy who thought it would be fun to push the pace beyond his capabilities. I knew that if I just rode tempo for like 2-3 minutes I could drop him and be done with it, but I stuck to my plan and just cruised. About 10 minutes later we face a steeper pitch of the hill and wouldn't you know it? This guy, who had been sitting on my wheel, rides by huffing and puffing and stands up to propel himself ahead of me on this part. Are you serious? Ugh. Once again, I let him go. But I would be lying if I said I was not annoyed by this point. But I stuck to my pace.
That was, until 'Pump Up The Jam' came on my iPod. I'm sorry, but I just could not help myself any longer. I'd controlled myself for most of the hill but I was done controlling myself. I didn't jump up and attack or anything, but I imagined I was wearing one of Julie's "I Drop Boys" jerseys and pumped up the jam until I caught him, and then rode right by. Guess who did not jump on my wheel this time? A few minutes later I crested the top of the hill and glanced back. Guess who was not even in sight? Make my day.
Back down the hill and to my car which was parked at a beach park with facilities to help working athletes like myself...
10 minutes later I was showered and dressed and ready to go sell some coffee. Love those beach park showers.