Relatively Speaking

I just finished reading 3 different accounts of important physical undertakings – events that the writers could hardly believe they were crazy enough to attempt, let alone finish.

The first was a 10 mile running race (16 km). The guy who finished it was very, very pleased to complete this in the middle of the group.

The second was the Etape du Tour – this year a 135 km / 3500 meter race near Annecy. The blogger in question had never done anything remotely like this event (sound familiar..?) before and was concerned that he wouldn’t finish before the broom wagon. He did, shattered by the effort, but ahead of the van nonetheless.

The third was the Cent Cols Challenge – a cycling event reserved for the most elite of us (or the most insane, take your pick). 10 days, 100 cols, that roughly works out to be a Marmotte a day for 10 days. This guy – one of the best non-pro climbers in France (at least according to Strava) – was also worried about finishing, even though he’d had two Haute Routes in his legs already. He finished, crushing it from what I can tell (1:17 up Ventoux qualifies as ‘crushing’, believe me).

Somewhere among these 3 is Haute Route and me (and you, too, maybe!). Unless you are Peter Pouly, and therefore a mere mortal, the Haute Route is probably going to be the toughest physical challenge you have ever attempted. You are worried about meeting the daily time cut-offs, or even finishing it at all.

I don’t have time this morning to figure out what I really want to say about all this, so I’ll stick with two points:

  1. Objectively, some challenges are more difficult than others, I suppose there’s no disputing that. And since that is true, it is also true that there is always some maniac out there doing something bigger, longer and tougher than you are. Be humble. It is important to live in reality.
  2. For me, the personal journey is much more interesting than elevation charts and combined kilometers (although that’s cool too!). It’s one reason I think everyone should have a blog – there’s always a story to tell.

So, aspiring blogger, spark up WordPress and start telling the world about your journey today – it’s only a year till Etape/Haute Route/Cent Cols 2014!

12 thoughts on “Relatively Speaking

  1. I think I have been learning more and more your two points. This is a good post and sets in perspective a lot of the other blogs that I read. Thanks, much.

  2. Fully agree, Gerry! I knew the training would be very demanding, and it was (to the extent I’m saying that I will only do this once :). But the journey has already been amazing: without this HR goal, I would never have had the energy or will to train so much. Amazing what a goal and a plan can do to committed people (and we surely all classify as such). With the hardest overload week just done, I am looking forward to tapering down. This week is still demanding, but it is getting better and the call of HR is sounding sweeter and sweeter.
    I will leave the worry behind. The work has been done. Nothing I can do to change it now. My focus is now changing to “enjoy the adventure!”

    • Me too, Jan. I’m not one to worry anyway, usually, which often gets me into trouble! My last hurdle is getting 2 more kg off and managing to survive my own peak week. I am hoping that one leads to the other and that I can hold the weight off till HR.

      • Weight management is tough during these hard training weeks: I just am hungry and don’t want to go to bed hungry (and that’s what it takes to lose more weight once you’re close to race weight) after training so much. I have not lost anything, even when burning 15,000kJ and 17,000kJ the last two weeks… I hope to get to 140.0, but have seen that number only once this year (and that was two months ago!). I guess I should transition the discipline from training to food input control now over the next two weeks 🙂

        • Funny timing. I just went to bed hungry last night! I don’t like it either, but, like you, realize it’s a good sign for getting down a few grams. My goal is the same as yours (140). I’m not far off, depending on when I step on the scales. But I haven’t been that low since I was a teenager, so it could be a bigger than expected jump.

          Good luck with it, especially now that your volume is decreasing.

  3. Here is a bit of wisdom I have gleened over the years: In the end, you are not racing against the other riders.

    Deep, isn’t it? 🙂

    Good luck!

  4. And that last comment reminded me of the quote of the day offered by my yoga instructor tonight. “Don’t measure your beginning by someone else’s middle.” This is the first time you will do the Haute Route. I have a friend Greg who will be there right along with you for his first as well. Best of luck on a brand new adventure.

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