A Good S*panking

Nothing motivates like a fitness reality check

Over the last month or so, I’ve been feeling pretty good about my fitness. I’ve been working out consistently and enjoying some pretty cool adventures on my mountain bike. And last weekend I headed up to the Fraser Valley/Winter Park area with my family and the rare chance to go on a long bike ride with my wife. The last time we rode together was in early May, and back then we had very compatible paces and had a great time. On Saturday, however, she quietly and steadily rode away from me on the first hill, never to be caught until she stopped to wait, and wait, for me.

This was humbling, to say the least. It was also very uncomfortable. In a couple of powerful pedal strokes, my wife snapped me out of the nice little dream world that I had been living in and recalibrated all my perceived workout intensities. Where she had kept pushing herself and growing stronger while training for an Olympic distance triathlon this weekend, I was literally spinning my wheels. The weird thing is that all this time, I thought I was working hard. Only now do I recall that, over the last month, she’s come back from her swims, bikes, and runs totally wasted and sore while I’d come back from a workout feeling energized and refreshed.

The next day my wife went out on a trail run while I rode up Berthoud Pass for an hour. This time, however, I pushed myself harder than I had in weeks: my back hurt, my quads felt like they were going to explode, and I was breathing harder than a man trying to avoid drowning. And I didn’t die.

But in addition to redefining "hard" for me, I realized that I'd found my focus again. So instead of merely riding to enjoy the ride, I now ride with a purpose. As a result, I know I can look forward to growing stronger and faster. Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll finally be able to catch my wife.