Friday, May 31, 2013

Another surprising part of RAGBRAI training

I'm used to training plans, after a couple of years of running and not being effortlessly athletic. So I thought RAGBRAI training wouldn't be much of a switch from half marathon training.

I was wrong.

In addition to the differences in my hunger, soreness and sunburn locations, the training has been a big adjustment after all.

I mean, duh, RAGBRAI is longer than a half marathon, so each biking training session will cover more terrain, and that takes more time (even though biking gets you there faster).

What I hadn't expected was how much more of a role weather would play. And that's coming from someone who checks the hourly forecast at least twice a day.

Part of the problem is that I haven't overcome weather wimpiness for biking.

It took time, but I overcame my reluctance to run in the cold, rain, wind or snow (heat and humidity are still works in progress). Meanwhile, running only piqued my interest in the first place because I didn't want to ride my bike in cooler weather.

This mental block needs to be torn down, because to expect ideal conditions on the four days I'm doing RAGBRAI is completely irrational — better to prepare now.

So when I rule out less-than-ideal conditions, that further reduces the amount of time available to ride, when riding demands more time in the first place, meaning planning is an absolute must for me. (Until I toughen up and the weather backs off.)

I really hope this doesn't come across as a lament over bike training. Self-induced stress aside, I'm enjoying training; with a few test rides that involve stopping for sweets and/or beer under my belt, I'm confident that I'll really enjoy RAGBRAI.

However, along with the initial appetite suppression that running provides, I also miss the (slight) spontaneity it allowed me. A last-minute run, crammed in because of a change of plans or conditions, can be done in half an hour; I'd have to absolutely fly to justify that amount of time on a bike.

Expect further lip-chewing and teeth-gnashing as I enter the travel-heavy month of June. Or assume that the silence on this blog is because of my inability to get rides in.

But the ironic part in all of this? I'm actually not afraid that I won't be in sufficient physical shape anymore. It's just my Type A personality parts, with their obsession for planning and checking items off lists, kicking into overdrive.

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