At the beginning of this month I started to work with my Ironman coach, and the first big event that we are preparing for is my marathon. He decided to change the strategy that I was working on – originally I was doing shorter bursts of running and working to increase the duration of running and the pace of my walk to get to my total time. His workouts started with running for much longer intervals at a faster pace which led to me completing the distances but failing at the goals within the distances, (an experience which I wrote about in some detail.)
So we made some changes, keeping the longer running intervals but focusing less on the faster pace. The result? Success, in several ways. On the first run with the new goals I wrote in my comments to him (we are using an online tracker for our workouts) “I don’t want you to have a heart attack from shock or anything, but Holy Effing Shit I actually succeeded at a run workout.” Progress, however slow, however painful.
I was at York College in Pennsylvania to give a talk this week (Hi new readers, and longtime readers, from York!) and on the way home I was watching movies on the flight. One I watched was a documentary called “Half the Road” about Women’s Professional cycling and the stunning lack of party (and wealth of misogyny) that exists (tens of thousands of dollars difference between the men’s and women’s prize money in the same race, Women’s teams have a requirement that 60% of the team must be under 28 years old, men’s team have no such requirement, women aren’t allowed to compete in the Tour de France because it’s “too strenuous,” governing body considers banning women from competing while they are menstruating etc.)
The bright spot in my rage at how women are treated in cycling, was this quote that pro cyclist Nicky Wangsgard mentioned was an inspiration for her:
You have to work hard for a long time without results, and you feel like you’re putting yourself in a hole, but you have to stay focused, you have to have faith that if you’re doing the work now, you’ll get there sometime.
Nicole Reinhart June 3, 1976–September 17, 2000
It’s a process, as they say. And I have to constantly remember that one of the main reasons I’m doing this is that it’s not something at which I’ve ever excelled naturally and I wanted to push outside my comfort zone which is definitely happening, so there’s another success. I am confident that I’ll get there, I’ll finish my marathon and my Ironman and the other events on the schedule, but I want to make sure that I’m not so focused on the goals that I forget to learn from, and be proud of, the journey.
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