It's a new year

It's a new year and I'm back into duathlon training.  I'm very happy to have been accepted back onto the Ignition Fitness Athlete Team, now sponsored by Sketchers Performance shoes.  Coach Roger and I have been working on some early goals for the season and I'm pencilling in some potential race dates.

Today marks the completion of my first week of training.  The temperatures dropped drastically on Monday and I found myself wishing I was running along the ocean in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where I had been on vacation only days prior.

My balcony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Alas, that wasn't to be, so I soldiered on into my training, clad in my warmest winter running gear, only to be hit with a cold virus on Tuesday. I spent a day at home on the couch, upped my intake of vegetables and vitamins, and I was back in action on Wednesday.  

Roger structured several of the workouts this week as fitness tests.  They give us a sense of the impact of the off season and also set a baseline for the months ahead.  I took my runs outdoors, as we wanted to get a sense of my pace over different distances at my maximum aerobic heart rate.  Despite the frigid temperatures, we've had some beautiful days and nights in Toronto, with a full moon early in the week and skies so clear one night that I could find my favourite constellation of stars, something I rarely see in the city.

My indoor set-up in the spare bedroom.  A tight squeeze, but it works.

On the cycling side, the "gift" in my program this morning was a functional threshold power (FTP) test.  I had been somewhat uncomfortably eyeing this workout all week in Training Peaks, half hoping that my cold would return so we could postpone it.  Then I stumbled across a by Kim Osborne on her blog, Two Years to Kona.  It helped change my mindset.

Through this piece, Kim shares the technical elements of an FTP test, what it's meant to do, as well as tips about how to get through the pain that it entails.  Very helpful stuff!

That being said, one word in her post hooked my attention and prompted an internal dialogue in my mind that changed my thinking about my impending test.  One word: "neat."  Kim used this adjective to describe her first FTP test, taken just before Christmas.  I thought to myself, "Why can't it be neat?  And fun and challenging too?"  Kim's got an infectious style of enthusiasm and curiosity, and it worked on me.

So with that positive lens, I prepped a high energy music play list, set up my bike and new cadence and power sensors, and dove in.  Week 1, done.

And now, time to dive into week 2...