Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weather Warrior

Today was calm, sunny, and warm -- a picture-perfect spring day with a high of 66!  Yesterday, we hit 45, but it felt much colder because we seemingly had every climactic condition including snow, driving rain, drizzle, sleet, sun, thunder, clouds, and winds gusting to 35+ MPH.  The weather seemed to change every 15 minutes.  If you know me, you know I hate to be cold, and that wet cold is the worst.

Wind Speed and Gusts for Blacksburg on Saturday
Yesterday the schedule had a brick workout.  Today was a scheduled off day.  I knew the forecast.  And there was no question that I would keep to the schedule and so I rode and ran through snow, rain, sleet, and rain. I'm so glad I did!! It turned out to be a rewarding effort, particularly on the run where, for the first time post-injury, I finally got back that next gear and hit the middle two miles around my target 5K triathlon race pace (7:15-7:20ish). I also got more experience riding in some tough head- and side- winds and in reduced visibility.

As much as I fear being cold and wet, I won't move a workout due to weather unless there's a clear and present danger. I know I need to deal with whatever Mother Nature dishes out. For me, it's an important part of developing toughness and a necessary element of my own self-discovery process, to see what I am made of. Those are the workouts that I remember, the ones that I think back to on race day.

This relates back to the concept of being an athlete "Warrior" as described in Bob and Shelly-Lynn Glover's book, The Competitive Runner's Handbook.  My trainer Jake shares in this philosophy.  It really comes down to having the "desire, motivation, discipline, belief, self-esteem, confidence, courage, and mental toughness to win in battle." (p. 314)  He continues, "You need to make sacrifices to be a warrior runner. Every time you think about skipping a workout because you're 'too busy' or 'too tired' remind yourself that you are a warrior."  The warrior attitude is an all-encompassing lifestyle and not something you can simply take on during workouts. You live it.  Or you don't.

I'm not the strongest or fastest or best triathlete. But I am a warrior triathlete.  How do you live as a warrior athlete?  When do you most need your warrior courage and toughness?