The full moon a couple of weeks ago was pretty incredible but it kept me up all night. Due to some quirk of atmospheric mechanics, or maybe because my seven dollar reading glasses make everything look bigger, it was the biggest moon of the year. The moon that was meandering through my sky was big and bright orange and then my dog chewed a hole in my curtains big enough to let in moonlight and shine on my right eyeball so now I can’t sleep.
I read on Google they were calling it the “Supermoon,” but I think that’s the wrong name. In my family, we call it the “Werewolf Moon.” My wife occasionally has some identity issues during a full moon. When she is having a bad day, and the moon is full, I never wear my red cloak. Just in case.
In 1995, I sat in a cold, dark theater watching “American Werewolf in London” with about seven other people and it still freaks me out. Think about that movie for a second: A couple guys hiking through some small town, minding their own business, not bothering anybody and “Whammo” some werewolf rips out their throats and it’s over. Done. You can’t fight off a werewolf. I am not saying my wife is a werewolf, or is descended from werewolves, but I couldn’t swear she isn’t either. As far as I know, her family tree is swimming in werewolves.
I am afraid of two things in this world, one is werewolves and the other is middle-aged real estate women. Those are the two most aggressive beings on planet earth for which I have no defense. I am powerless against forces of nature as powerful as those. They can both rip the throat right out of your body before you can spit.
At this time of year, in the great Pacific Northwest, we bike outside when we can, for as long as we can. It’s gonna rain cats and dogs any day so we get our jollies in when it isn’t too wet. But, no matter how beautiful it is outside, I still go to spin, I still swim laps in the pool and I still do fartleks. It’s just what I do as part of my training plan and it’s the part that sucks. Who wants to ride a freakin spin bike when it is sunny outside?
Just like the rest of the Ironman triathlon misfits, I ride my tri-bike, I go to yoga, I lift, I run, I swim etc. The point is, even when it’s nice outside, I still go to spin to train and that begs the question: What do you do when you go to spin or when you get on a treadmill? Is it just a chance to stretch your legs? A tune-up? Or do you lay it all out and walk out ninety minutes later on shaky legs and a hankerin’ for a Big Mac?
For me, I try to kill myself in spin so that I don’t blow up when I am on my tri-bike. Maybe the math doesn’t work out exactly like that, but I think it’s close. I have always thought that I need to stretch further if I am going to get anywhere and I want to do it where I can do the least damage. In a 90 minute session, I shoot for max effort or biggest interval set for as long as I can go. I know there is a lot of science that I am skipping over, but the idea always comes back to interval training, or max effort or whatever your workout happens to be for that day, you need to push your envelope when you can.
Some days, max effort is just getting out of bed, other days, I have to broaden my horizon a bit to get there. Last week, I had just enough gas to sit on my spin bike and not fall off. Today in spin class, I had goo running out of my mouth and landing on my shoes. That’s a good thing.
No matter what you do, if you want to push your personal envelope out just a fraction, do it in a controlled environment like spin class or the pool. Knock yourself out in the pool. The obvious advantage being that if you pop your cork in the pool, you can limp the twenty feet to the edge. If you are in the middle of the lake when you blow a gasket, its tough to dog paddle a half mile back to the beach.
Unless it’s a full moon. If it’s a full moon, you will probably be running for your life and set a PR.