February 18, 2006

The Charlie Brown Effect

Morning (and early Afternoon) Workout
4 hours 30 minutes
Heart Rate Zone: Aerobic (Zone 1)

22 minutes
Heart Rate Zone: Aerobic (Zone 1) + Lactate Threshold (Zone 2)

40 minutes

Random Comments: There are a lot of teenagers in the gym during the middle of the day on a Saturday. Teenagers and lonely adults. You can tell they are lonely by the way they plod along on the treadmills with that blank stare in their eyes that seems to scream out about how they wish they were somewhere else with somebody else but are desperately trying to convince themselves that the gym is where they want to be, plodding along on an endless treadmill and staring outside the window into the sunshine of the Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, the teenagers are running rambuctious, mindlessly playing with the exercise equipment as if it were the latest video game. They'd be happier outside too - they're just too young to know it. Of course I'm there in the gym on a Saturday afternoon too. But I'm not a teenager. Or a lonely adult. I'm just training for an Ironman. Which perhaps just makes me stupid.

Star Spotting Of The Day: Carson Daly, MTV host
Location: Highly expensive ocean front Santa Monica residential area.
What he was doing: Talking on the cell phone, standing next to his mountain bike in the driveway of his house. Just came back from a mountain bike ride. Or at least I assumed he just came back from a mountain bike ride. I also assumed it was his bike and his house. And his cellphone, for that matter.

Yeah, that's definitely the best way to describe the bike and run this morning.

Pouring rain, driving wind, frigid air and uphill climbs. Non-stop. Both ways. Or at least that's how it felt. I don't like riding in the rain. And I especially don't like riding in the rain in the freezing cold with the wind blowing every way but the direction I'm going. But that's what we did this morning. A rainy, wet, cold and windy, seemingly uphill, ride.

The rain started right as we began our jaunt, heading north out of Santa Monica, and it just kept coming down stronger as we pedaled into Malibu. We were bicycling, the rain was driving. There's an irony in that somewhere. I'll figure out the joke later.

Oddly enough, it was my shins that went numb first. Odd place to go numb, I know. That's exactly what I was thinking as I suddenly lost feeling in them. And as I was contemplating the peculiarity of the numbness of my shins, I felt the ice cold water drip into my socks and down my feet. And then the feet went numb. That's about the time when the fun started. And when I say "fun", I mean "miserable".

Over one hour into the ride the rain had let up and we were under blue skies and sunshine. I know what you're saying,That must've been nice, you're thinking. The warmth and beauty of a clear blue day in Malibu. Well, you're wrong. You see, we were already drenched, the wind was blowing and the temperature was probably in the low 40s what with the windchill factor. It just kept getting colder and body parts kept getting numb. Yet we rode on, heading north up the coast. Apparently we're crazy like that.

As we neared our 2 hour turn-around, I looked up from my bike and saw another rain cloud in front of us. We should turn back before we hit the rain, I said. Actually I don't think I said that out loud because nobody heard me, including me. So we rode right into the rain cloud and turned back just as the rain started coming down. Nice timing, but no surprise.

You know that episode of Charlie Brown where the raincloud is right above him and wherever Charlie Brown goes, that raincloud follows? Everywhere else there is sunshine and crystal clear blue skies, but right over Charlie Brown is a big dark cloud that is pounding down rain. That, my friend, sums up the ride back home. You see, we were heading south down the coast at, let's say, 17 miles per hour. The clouds were also heading south down the coast at about 18 miles per hour. If we had thirty five miles to ride and the cloud was one mile long, than x= us getting really wet the entire damn way. For the entire ride back we could see the blue skies right in front of us. And when we turned back, we could see the blue skies behind us. But this one cloud - this one damn rain cloud - was smack dab right above us, dang gummit. And that cloud was going at just about the same pace as we were riding, so no matter what we did, the rain done followed us. It was a classic case of the Charlie Brown Effect.

Good grief.
Tomorrow's another day, though.
I'm sure it will be better.