When I first decided to hire Matt he told me about his plan of riding 100 days in a row. At the time I kind of laughed but I also was like, “game on.” I love a challenge, so I told him that I was up for it. I didn’t think about it too much until it started. 100 days in a row. That’s longer than 3 months. I just tried to start by taking the challenge day by day. It’s very cool to think back to when I started because I am in a much different place than I was over 100 days ago!
So a few quick facts. I never rode less than 60 minutes a day (okay except for one day, read on). All of my rides were/are based on heart rate zones and cadence. I usually had a high cadence ride, a heart rate progression ride, a few easy rides, and a long ride per week. Matt and I discussed buying a power meter but Mark and I decided to hold off on one for now. They are really expensive. If I keep up with this training I am sure I will invest in one eventually. I have the Garmin 910xt. I love the watch, it does everything I need. I do wish I waited for the 920 but the 910 does what I need. All of my rides were done on a good old trainer. Nothing fancy!
My first worry with completing the 100 days in a row was that I was going to a work conference. I was going to be gone for 5 days! I panicked but realized that I did have an option – the lovely exercise bike that the hotel workout room provided. Before I got there I assumed that the workout room would be a dump but it was actually really, really nice. I rode every day while I was there! I couldn’t believe it. Those 5 days had changed me as an athlete. I always have read about people making it work when they travel. In the past I have attempted to care but then given up justifying it with being busy. I got up every day before 5:30 a.m. and got my workout done. I felt like a rock star that I did what Matt instructed me to do when I was gone.
The only questionable day that I had during the whole 100 day challenge was the Wednesday after I returned from my work conference. My flight got in really, really late on Tuesday night and I knew that Wednesday was going to be a rough day. I went to work and made it through the day half-awake. It’s been so long since that day but I remember being completely exhausted and falling asleep in my bed. I woke up in a panic before the clock finished ticking for Wednesday and freaked out. I couldn’t wimp out and not ride. I had to do something! So, in my pajamas I got on my bike and rode for 5-10 minutes. Yes, 5-10 minutes but I still rode my bike, right? Right.
Looking back I laugh at the person that I was at that time. I have changed so much since the beginning of this challenge and this Ironman training. I never used to ride the trainer. I refused because it was boring and I never knew what to do on my bike. Having a coach has done wonders for me. I can’t believe it took me this long to realize that I could have been doing a lot more during the winters with just a little initiative on my end. Oh well, you live and you learn.
I would say there were more pros than cons to the 100 days in row. Each day I could feel myself becoming a little bit stronger physically and mentally. In the beginning I felt like I had to have a TV show to watch, because everyone else on social media was always watching something. After a few weeks I realized I didn’t need the TV. Since the middle of November I have just been using music. Sometimes I even turn it off when I am doing a very hard workout or interval. I don’t know why but sometimes I don’t need the music, my mind is enough! There were absolutely cons but nothing awful. Did I get tired of having to sit on my bike every single day? Absolutely. Was I constantly doing laundry? Yup! Are saddle sores a real thing? Yes, they sure are! I have come to realize a lot of women don’t like to talk about saddle sores but let me tell you, they are a bitch and they should be talked about. At first I thought it was weird but now I know they are just another part of cycling. Not having to ride every single day has definitely relieved some of that pain. Saddle sores are pretty much a pimple on steroids. Its a bump and if you touch it or it grazes clothing it can feel like your being stabbed by a million needles. I asked my doctor about them and she didn’t seem too concerned. She did tell me not to touch them. I won’t get graphic but I did/do mess with them because I want them to go away! She gave me some lotion that didn’t work. I just make sure to immediately shower after any workout (common sense) and to be careful with the razor. The reason these sores exist, I think, is because women shave, then the hair follicles are open, and then we do a sweaty activity and a sore starts to form. I am as clean as can be and I still get them. Luckily they never came to the point where I couldn’t ride. I got off on a sore tangent but for other cons, I would say, just not wanting to ride. There were plenty of Friday nights I wanted to punch Matt (even though I hired him) for making me ride. There was a night where I went and got my hair done and then rode. There were a few sick days but I got through them. The rides that I didn’t want to do are the ones that really made me mentally stronger and looking back I am so glad I got through them!
All in all I am so glad that I attempted and completed the 100 days in a row of riding. I know that it is going to do wonders for me throughout the 2015 triathlon season. I am in such a different place than I have ever been. In 2014 I was lucky enough to squeak about a few age group wins and top 10 finishes. I am hoping to do a lot better than that this year and can’t wait to see what this body can do!