2008 is 1/2 over! I can't believe how fast it went by. Did you do some memorable things that will make this year stand out? This is the question I often ask myself. I was out riding a few days ago and I had a short amount of time so I rode a standard route that takes me 90 minutes. As I was riding, I went past a right hand turn that I have never taken before and fought the hard urge to deviate from my planned ride. I was being pulled that way though, the curiosity of an adventure teasing me. This week, on a ride where I have a bit more time, I will take that right turn and see what happens.
We can easily become creatures of habits. Remember that your athletic side is just a more open view of your true personality. I work with many who ride and run the same exact routes on a weekly basis. I understand doing this for a good portion of the training sessions - you have more control of your situation this way and in our busy lives, we all need structure and control to a certain degree. But to do the same routes all the time is just boring and playing it very safe. It's no fun and doesn't leave any lasting impact to live status quo. Most of our vivid and entertaining memories are from when we "ventured off course" and tried something new and different.
Last year on my France trip, the plan for the next day was either the A ride which was to ride 20K out to the Port D' Bales climb, ascend, descend, then do the Plateau D' Beille climb, then descend into the finishing town, or the B ride which was just to ascend the Plateau D' Beille then descend into town. There was a sign-up sheet in the hotel lobby where you were to select which ride you'd be doing. I was the last to sign-up, and out of the twelve of us, 10 had chosen the easier B ride. Now granted, the B ride wasn't easy by any means and it was a smart move probably for most to take that option since there was still a lot of trip left. The only one on the A ride list was Erika, an Australian woman. Gil, the guide, came out to where we were eating that evening and announced that Michelle, one of the guides, would ride with Eric (me) and Erika, and the other guides would assist the B ride. Erika became very nervous and was going to switch to the B ride. I went over to her and told her she'd be fine. She was still very tentative, not believing me at first until I said that tomorrow night at dinner, after we had ridden that day, while we were sitting around semidazed from a combination of a great ride earlier that day and great wine, it will be very cool to personally reflect back on what you did and those emotions will be far superior if you take the chance and go for it. The Port D'Bales climb was the toughest climb I have ever been on. It was also one of the coolest. I was alone on the climb but I remember as I crested the summit being concerned for Erika. Later in the day when we were at the finish line, Erika was beaming. She did the ride, said it was a bitch, and was so fired up about doing it.
There is still a 1/2 a year left in 2008. The goal is to get out there and do some things that may make you a bit nervous but that also may bring some great satisfaction and cool memories. That's what it's all about.
On another note, I ran on the treadmill yesterday. I prefer running outdoors 10 out of 10 times, but I try to do one quality session per week on the treadmill because I can gage the effort and pace well. The session I did yesterday is a great on: Treadmill was at a .5% grade for the session. 10 min warm-up at 8.6 mph, then 5 X (2 min at 11.3 mph, 2 min at 10.3 mph, 2 min at 9.3 mph), then 10 min cooldown at 8.6 mph. This session is hard but goes by quick. The main set of 30 minutes is all tempo. The 11.3 is challenging and near my LT, the 9.3 is at my aerobic ceiling, so it's a great mix. I recommend this one for those looking to bump up their run speed. Adjust the speeds forward or backward according to your ability.