Monday, 11 January 2010

Cross Training

For the past two off-seasons, the only thing I really concentrated on was race season.

For the past two race seasons, the only thing I concentrated on was the race...then the next race and then the big race.  This year was going to be different and it has proven itself to be.

I still have a couple of races and the big race to prepare for. But I have spent - in my estimation - more time doing stuff around the house, asserting my relevance to teenagers and a partner.

This weekend is a good example. With my partner yielding the hammer and crowbar (like that isn't normally the case!), we systematically destroyed and disassembled a perfectly good, but dysfunctional basement. The plan is to gut it, empty it, rebuild it and carry on...along with the new mortgage carrying fees. Somewhere a banker is smiling...

We must have spent more that 21 hours over three days on this project and there is more to do. My humble task was that of sorter, carrier, dumper and family cook. I took on this role with gusto. It involved filling bins or my arms with debris, then walking out of said dungeon and into the freezing outdoors, only to deposit destroyed artifacts and detritus of my life into a larger bin - being careful to pile stuff to maximize room available.

It wore me out. I would much rather have spent the time doing an Ironman without any training.

But what occurred to me was that this was actually amazing cross training. Think about it:
  • Running up and down a flight of stairs countless times. That's all leg work (especially quad and calf work).
  • Picking up at least several tons of stuff without blowing out my back. That's all core. I never do enough core work. 
  • Carrying the damned, nail-and-dust infused crap. That's all arm work,. There is also significant activation of the small, stabilizer muscles throughout the body as I walked up to the outdoors and then on frozen, very slippery surfaces. 
  • Then there is the nutrition and hydration. Making and consuming the right food and drink so that I'm not bloated or sleepy (although I did make a turkey leftover-surprise-kinda-thing). And ensuring I'm putting in enough to give me the energy I need. And the drinking. Well lots of coffee, but not so much that I have to keep taking off my sodden boots to go in to pee. There are course marshals throughout my neighbourhood. No public nudity!
  • You want speedy transitions? How about finally feeling the urge and needing to get out of winter clothes and steel-toed boots fast? How about getting out of stinky, grimy and dusty clothing and cleaning up enough to make a nutritious, interesting and safe meal for four?
  • Finally, the mental toughness. Going to bed on Friday and Saturday knowing that Sunday will be more of the same. Yet persevering and still going for a run after down-tooling on Sunday. Then going to bed on a Sunday, knowing that there is at least three more days of work and then potentially five years of repayment. 
This is cross training at it's best. If Ironman did anything, it prepared me for real life!

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