The sun! Where is the sun? The heat! The hot temperatures?
Since coming down to Solvang (the alleged "sunny coastal region") we've had weeks on end filled with the odd sunny day. Mostly though they've been saturated with the not-so-odd wet days.
I'm not complaining (in the written word anyway!). The uncommon weather patterns just call for some changes in the training plan---more indoor riding, cross-training and well, hardening the %#@! up! It's time to get a bit wet! Off goes the shorts and t-shirt (or pajamas!) and on goes the rain parka, gloves and toque (as we call them in Canada).
My last run had me wearing the full bottom drawer: rain-jacket, rain-pants, gloves, my clear-lens Rudy Project "shades" and a long-billed visor, to help shield the rain. I was slogging through the muck with my soaked-socked feet sloshing around in my heavy-slogged AVIA shoes, wondering why I love doing what I do. The winds were hitting me head-on, the side of me, and hard, making it a serious challenge just to stay upright.
Are triathlons ever like this? In the magazines, we never see wind, rain, sleet, or bundled-up athletes trudging through the elements! Instead we see glamour shots of sexy men and women with smiles on their faces, crystal clear blue skies and definitely hot weather by the looks of their scantily-clad bodies! Hold on. I don’t need to train in this weather! The races aren't like this…so why make training harder than it needs to be?
Yeah right! We all know the realities on race day. As coach says, "Anything can happen, and on race day it usually does."
I've raced a couple times in the rain, and had one of the crappiest races I've ever done and one of the best races I've ever done. Weather doesn't change a thing…the work still has to get done, both on race day and in preparing for race day.
Muskoka 70.3 was the one I like to remember. Pouring rains, muck on the bike, (especially the 5-km dirt road we had to ride) and the twist-and-turns of the golf course made for downright dangerous conditions. But it was a great race for me and I smiled the whole way. The bitter cold and the rain didn't even faze me. It was one of my best performances to date and worthy of a podium place.
Then there was Boise 70.3 a year before, a race I try hard not to remember! The gusty winds, the F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G water temperatures, and wet roads made for a hard, self-defeating race. I left town with a DNF, a broken toe, and a drained bank account from traveling there.
So what is an athlete to do when it rains like this? There are only two options:
1) Suck it up and enjoy the sun when it creeps out from behind the clouds.
2) Sleep in.
Since guilt prevents the latter from happening, I opt for option #1.
It's not always easy, but then races never are either.