The 70.3 Window - Part 3
“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” – Hal Borland.
I would like to start talking about the Tour Colombia 2.1 that took place in Colombia throughout the week because it marked an event that is important for this journey, which is growing exposure and opportunities for the biggest sport in Colombia. For context, it is the biggest men’s bike race of the year in Colombia, because it is also one of the only chances of top-end riders to be racing in their country/region before heading to renounced races in Europe. The biggest news (and exciting) is a brand Nu team (that’s the name of the team) was able to take the 1st place from the hand of world-tour teams. And it is amazing news because it is a huge bet for the future, they were all patient and persistent to resist the push from other teams. It is a team that could be the resurgence of a Colombian team in the cycling elite. And it shows again that, if we were to invest in sport and development of athletes, we would get places.
This week has been a lot about patience (or lack of it) and persistence. I feel it has shown me how we are naturally focused on the need or want of achieving certain goals, that we know are coming our way, but we tend to rush and seize them, when maybe we could enjoy the wait and embrace the goals as they get here. I keep learning this during my training sessions because I forget to trust the process and get dragged by the shine and light of being able to say that I accomplished this or that and my body gently reminds me that it’s not the time to be there yet, that we’re building up and (the thing it always falls back to) that the beauty relies on the process. It is a way this journey has had of dragging me away from the flash of the accomplishment and focus back on each step. And each step is tough sometimes, it doesn't feel like enough and it seems short.
Which then links into persistence. By persisting in my steps, I will not only get to the goal, but just keep going towards wherever each step takes me. Showing up, being vulnerable and staying there, day in and day out, that is what has been changing me over the last weeks. And of course, what has also allowed me to get better in different aspects of the performance side for all three disciplines. Being persistent also entails prioritizing the space, which has allowed me to mold the trainings into spaces where I come together with myself, and check on me, ask questions and revisit thoughts, it even has reminded me about other work that I need to attend to after finishing. All that has taught me how to enter a space of examining myself and thoughts in a (very close to) non-judgmental way, giving me a sense of being closer to myself. Now where I want to take the persistence is outside of the training grounds, start applying it into the before and after of them. Which would look like understanding and choosing intentionally the goal of the training sessions and persist to see them fulfilled. It would also look like persistency on the after-training routine in the sense of taking care of myself and having a full recovery.
One other thing that was cool is the support has manifested this week in a couple training sessions with friends. Which I am grateful for because I enjoy being around people that by pushing themselves are teaching and encouraging me to push myself as well. It is a space of individual effort that is shared and that togetherness also allows me to go back to the process. I appreciate that and appreciate people offering such spaces. It is an honor.
The body is feeling it this week more than before. I have been sore for most of it, especially these past couple days over the weekend. Part of the job I guess. And the body’s way of communicating with me. More soreness to come for sure.
Numbers for the week:
Swimming: 4500m. Tough, a grind, and a learning curve.
Bike: I had to get my bike fixed this week, all good though. The static bike is still racking up hours on my legs and I can see increases in power output and cadence. FTP this week.
Run: 39km. Good balance between pushing intervals and long easy runs.
The 70.3 window - Part 2
“Somewhere in between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery of why we climb.” – Greg Child
This week was more monotonous and showed the ups and downs of this process, hence the quote of the day. The whole process has been and will continue to be one of self-discovery in very different ways. The training starts to feel automatic in the sense that it’s ingrained in the routine and actually determines how my days probably will look like, and at the same time it is a very interesting feeling when it comes to approaching something you know what it looks like and what you have to do but still don’t know how it’s going to feel on that particular day. Sometimes I feel like I’m thriving and getting better, both in numbers and in sensations which comes with a feeling that I’m unstoppable and making good progress. Others, my body feels asleep, and my mind is a battlefield, those days we grind with compassion, we stay present and walk through it with kindness. Both meet in the soreness of my body at the end of it, which then is a reminder that is not the summit, but what I do with the climb.
Support is still there, even when not expressed publicly or loudly, I can feel the embrace and I can feel the push it gives me. Especially from those close to me (shout out to my grandma for texting me that she believes I can make it), and that is the support that most matters at the end, the one from people close to your heart. It’s okay if there’s doubt out there (which I can sense sometimes), I even have it and it shows up big like a monster sometimes, and I’m here and I embrace it and offer to walk together. That’s why it’s me against me, it always has and will be, I know I can be better, and I push myself to that standard in all realms of life. Hence again, this reflection.
I’ve been more conscious about my body this week; it aches sometimes (most of the time) and it talks to me when I’m done. So, I’ve been going back to basics oof good stretching, good nutrition, and good sleep. It’s crazy how a challenge like this can connect me and bring awareness to so many different aspects of me and my life. I’m allowing to be intentional with the day to day and how it all looks like, that to me sounds pretty close to the here and now.
I have not made a huge effort to spread the word about the campaign this week. It was a very introspective one which I appreciate and celebrate as well. I am ready and focused to keep sharing the message and promoting Colombian cycling. Especially with the Tour Colombia right around the corner (starting 02/06). I want to focus a lot on who we’re impacting, less about me, a paradox of this whole journey I guess, but a very important one, nonetheless.
At last, numbers for the week:
Swim: 3600m. Finding a good rhythm and pace. Still got a lot of work to do for the kick.
Run: 38km. Stick to the plan, less is more over time.
Bike: Still a lot of sweat and effort on a peloton. Uping the times of training. Trying to be comfortable and working on being light and smooth on the pedaling.
Stay true, siempre más!
The 70.3 window - Part 1
First recap Jan 28.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, (…), who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly” – Theodore Roosevelt
I feel this phrase encompasses the way I have felt these past days and the way this whole journey is going. Knowing that the road to the goal is long and winding, it seems unfair with both those who have been so kind by supporting and with myself not to reflect on the process. Now reflecting cannot just encompass how training is going and a matter of numbers (whether it is watts, strokes, or pace), that can be compilated in pictures and Garmin watches.
Also, it cannot encompass just training because there is a higher goal in this journey and it’s finding support for the Fundación Gero, it isn’t just about my journey to get to the finish line and I won’t lose the focus from which it matters, which is both raising funds that go straight to a local organization that creates immediate impact and spreading the word about Colombian cycling and how powerful it is/can be.
This writing is meant to be an honest look at all aspects of the progress and whatever feelings come up with it. So, I want to begin with acknowledging the vulnerability that I’ve felt present with this process, vulnerability is letting yourself be seen independent if the outcome is positive or negative. I’ve felt it both facing my training sessions, especially those that have been tougher, but even more, I’ve felt it when thinking (and acting) on how to ask for support and share the journey. It comes with a lot of doubt about myself, my intentions, if people care about what I have to say and then it all crumbles into ‘am I actually able to do this’. To respond to that, I’ve been learning how to be compassionate with myself, I’ve revisited and strengthened my intentions for taking this challenge, I’ve been learning how to lean more towards discomfort and let it shed light into areas that seemed dark.
One of the best enlightened paths has been all the support I have received. The most obvious or tangible support has been the funds raised up to today, almost 20% there which is crazy!! I thank all of you for your support and vote of trust and feel embraced within a community of people that are very caring. Although that’s the goal, support hasn’t just been there, it has been in endless conversations with people that are curious about what’s happening and give me some of their motivation; it also is in training with friends and going through it together; it is someone cooking for you; it is all the words of encouragement on social media; it is all the advice that’s been given on how to front it. Support is a constant embrace from people, an act of love and what allows me to go back to the discomfort and to be true.
Another heavy factor in this first part of the journey has feeling that resonance with the Fundación Gero and the work they do as a form of motivation. This is because I see how they’re creating change through various different ways, starting with the mayor impact we want to make and it is Youth, Women’s and Adaptive cyclist. This weekend were the National Road Cycling competitions in Colombia, and to watch cyclist that the team already sponsors like the women’s Equipo Ciclismo Capital battle it out with other teams to get a rider in the top 10; and then watch Héctor Ferney Molina, a rider that grew up and developed in the Team Tibaná (sponsored by Fundación Gero) clinch the 5thspot in the Under 23 competition shows the impact this goal can have in the development of current and future athletes in Colombia. Another way of change Fundación Gero is doing is promoting more sustainable ways of transportation, something that has really been present in my mind especially after seeing the effects of various wildfires in Colombia. Efforts like this, create a different understanding and approach towards our relationship with the world. These two reasons have been inspiring and make me want to put 100% of me into this, even with the discomfort.
All that I’ve said have turned training sessions into a space of connection with myself, of self-discovery and of vulnerability. It is the place where I get to think about and act immediately on who I want to be and how to be better. It is, again, transcending the numbers. My body is feeling it for sure, some soreness especially in the legs and hip, but it is also recovering pretty well. My mind has been feeling it the most, at sometimes I feel tired and confronted, others I feel wiser and stronger; but most of all I feel grateful. I feel grateful for the support and opening the doors for it to come in; I feel grateful for the way I’ve been changing how I’m showing up for myself (which in turn is changing how I show up for others); and I am grateful for allowing myself to be in discomfort, where I feel challenged in so many ways.
Lastly, and not as relevant, the numbers for the week are:
Bike: A lot of sweat and effort. I’ve been doing stationary bike taking advantage of the Peloton at the Universities gym which gives me flexibility if the weather is too cold. Probably did 5 rides in the week, between 30-45 minutes each.
Stay true! Siempre más!