Back on November twenty-third I attempted to cycle 40-Km/24.8 miles in less than 1:16:17. On December fourth I posted, “Let’s HIIT It!” which detailed my failed attempt at mediocrity. I promised to try again soon.
“Soon” may be relative but I was planning on trying again within a fortnight. It’s not that I intentionally avoided my rematch against self in this, “Race of truth,” as time-trials are known, but rather that I’ve just been focusing on other things.
I was reminded of my failure to reach higher by, of course, my beloved goddess Durga who once again demonstrated her superhuman superiority on December 15th when she competed in her first post-operative running race as she toed the line for a local three mile/4.84 kilometer “Fun Run.” (Guess who had fun winning her age group in back to back victories in her second running of this race?)
Durga’s foot surgery was back on October tenth and though she began light training before the month was through she of course experienced a decline in her aerobic capacity that, though it has abated, still lingers. When I asked her what her race prediction was she said twenty-seven minutes, which is a 9:00 minute mile/5:35 kilometer pace. I scoffed.
“Fine,” said I, “what is your goal time?”
Durga bit her lower left lip, scrunched up her left eye and conceded, “Twenty-four minutes?” which of course equals 8:00 minute miles or 4:58 kilometers.
“Way faster than I can run,” I conceded and left it at and her at that as I wished her luck in her race before cycling merrily to the bike shop where I work part-time.
But she didn’t. Leave it a that, that is. “Hey,” she texted, “last year my time was 20:15. Goal time is definitely sub 24.”
“Do it, Durga,” I texted back. Followed by, “Drop into the shop when you’re done.”
The race venue was less than a mile from my work but she texted me before she drove over. The text merely said, “22:52.”
I returned her text. “Great! How’d you do in your age group?”
“First,” she texted back.
“What was your age group?”
“50 to 59.”
“So you were oldest.”
“How’d you do overall?”
“Tell ya when I see ya,” she texted back, walking through the doors of the bike shop five minutes later.
Durga finished in front of 58% of all runners. She also finished ahead of 79% of the other women.
“Not too bad for an old lady,” I told her.
“I’ll get better. Foot bothered me some,” she responded before kissing me and heading home. I bet it did too. And so it was that on the day following Durga’s race I set off to ride my 40 kilometers at an average pace of 14 mph.
Durga and I have been hitting the Orange Theory Fitness studio workouts regularly, me every-other-day while she goes four or five days a week. (Hey! I ride my bike on the off days! Leave me alone!)
I know I’ve made fitness gains in the last 3+ weeks. I know I ate far more wisely today than on my last attempt. I know the day was a perfect-for-me temperature of 61 degrees F/16 C and that this lovely, sunny coolness was accompanied by light winds. I know I rode my 24.8 miles/40-Km in 1:06:37, aka 15.4 mph/24.8 kph, a rather mundane pace for most cyclists but a ringing success for me. I know Durga and I will keep pushing each other to try harder and not to quit and that we will do so with the greatest of adoration.