Adventures in Training

Adventures in Training

I recently had to opportunity to experience my first work trip. I spent a week in Peoria, Illinois assisting with the transition into a new electronic medical record system. There was definitely an element of novelty around this trip that produced some excitement, but being away from home provided an additional challenge concerning the logistics of training. I hadn’t realized how much effort would be required to arrange a full training week away from my normal surroundings. Partially due to some personal lapses in planning, as well as some unforeseen curve balls, there were some very memorable moments that came out of this week.

Let’s start at the beginning of the week. I had the great joy of getting to drive this gem all week…Peoria2I’ve never been that crazy about minivans, but everyone keeps telling me how much room they have. I definitely took advantage of this benefit. Peoria1Going into the week, I knew that my biggest obstacle was going to be finding a pool. There is a YMCA in Peoria, but upon doing some research I discovered that they only have an outdoor pool that wasn’t going to be open for several more weeks. They directed me to another location that they have a partnership with for their members to Peoria4use in the winter. It ended up being the local high school pool that proved more than adequate, despite incredibly cold water temperatures and an amazingly hot locker room. My first swim there was going wonderfully, until I broke a paddle. Fortunately, I was able to find a replacement to finish off my set. I had another swim scheduled for a couple of days later, but upon arriving at the pool I found out that there was something else scheduled, meaning the pool was closed off tPeoria5o lap swimming. Not being from the area and having an immediate alternative, I was forced to return to my hotel and swim in their 13 yard, 85+ degree pool. That is roughly half the length of a typical lap pool, meaning I was turning twice as much. It definitely wasn’t my most enjoyable swim, but the work got done. After these debacles, I was happy to have an uneventful third swim of the week before returning to my “home” pool.

Riding ended up being the simplest discipline to accomplish, minus the amount of equipment it required bringing along. I set up my trainer in the corner of my hotel room, cranked up the A/C and got to catch up on a lot of The Deadliest Catch and The Big Bang Theory. Peoria3I should have apologized to my neighbors, though. I have a magnetic trainer that can get pretty noisy, so I’m sure they could here it through the walls.

And then there were my runs. I love running because as long as you have a pair of shoes and some sense of where you are, where you’re going and how to get back to where you started you don’t need anything else. I stayed around my hotel for the first couple of runs in the week, running along two-lane, country roads. Peoria drivers are incredibly accommodating and always gave me as much extra room as they possibly could. But Friday called for 90 minutes, meaning that would I have to get out by 4:45am in order to have time to recover, clean up, grab some food and finish packing the van for the trip home. This time obviously equates to darkness, and I really didn’t want to be on open roads. I scoped out a trail that I had been referred to and headed out for the trailhead at 4:30 am. I was welcomed by pouring rain and a very desolate trail that snakes through a heavily wooded area. Here I realized how much of a pansy I am. There is something about being alone in the woods that completely freaks me out. I made it about 1/10th of a mile down the trail before turning back to find another location. I ended up in the parking lot of a Sam’s, running several laps through a cemetery (for some reason not nearly as creepy as the woods) and then finding a couple mile loop in a more populated area. It definitely wasn’t the most scenic or mentally stimulating run, but once again, the work got done. I guess that ended up being the theme of the week.

Obviously physical fitness and toughness is a necessity in this sport, but the mental aspect is just as important. Without training the mind and developing a high level of mental fortitude, you are liable to break down during the rough patches that are sure to present themselves in a race. I’m hoping that working through the obstacles during my week in Peoria without completely freaking out helps me to be able to do the same throughout the season.

This weekend I’m headed down to Kansas City for the Kansas City Triathlon, an olympic-distance event. Watch my Twitter and Facebook feeds for immediate updates on what transpires there, and I’ll be sure to post a full race report next week.