Tri-ing in the winter

My tri workouts are much harder in the winter. Not because I train harder but because of all the circumstance surrounding the workouts. At times it seems difficult and then other times I realize that I wouldn’t have it any other way because the challenges make me stronger.

Get up at 4:40am to get dressed, grab my lunch, feed the dog and scrape the snow off of the truck and be on the road by 5am. When I first step out at that time in the morning I can feel the crisp mountain air and the snow is crunchy underfoot. As I start my drive towards Nederland to catch the bus down to Boulder it is pitch black outside. I keep a lookout for any animals along side the road. Quite often I will see foxes, coyotes, or even a herd of elk standing right next to the road. It’s about a 40 minute drive from my house to Nederland in which I usually do not play any music. I prefer the time to think and sort out my day.

As I arrive in Nederland the temperature on the bank sign reads 9 degrees. Brrrr. Standing at the bus stop with the wind whipping in your face, everyone is looking down trying to avoid the snow that is swirling around. It’s a kind of unique camaraderie that regularly riding the bus brings. You recognize all these people but know none of their names. You all are very different people but experience the same commute on a daily basis. I can’t read while riding the bus as it makes me nauseous with the net elevation change of 3,000 ft and the winding curves through the canyon. So, I sit and stare out the window watching the shadows of the trees in the snow created by the moonlight. The 35 minute bus ride is beautiful and relaxing.

Arriving in Boulder, I now must wait at the bus station for about 10 minutes until the 2nd bus comes at 6:22am. I watch all the characters at the bus station (and there are a lot). Wondering where they’re going for the day. Thinking about what time they got up. Some of them are homeless and are just trying to warm up. Some have suitcases and appear to be heading to the airport. There’s certainly enough to see to pass the 10 minutes away.

The 2nd bus is a short bus ride (10 min) heading towards my gym. When I reach the stop that is closest to the gym I get off and walk for 10 minutes. The sun still has not come up.

It’s now about 6:40am, I’ve safely made it to the gym and I’m ready for my workout. The gym is already buzzing with people working out and some that are ending their workouts. I change into my swimsuit, put on my swim cap and goggles, grab my pull buoy, paddles, and fins and head outside to the pool. It’s a brisk run across the driveway to get to our pool so I run fast. Once in the water it is still chilly so I immediately start my warm up; 500 meters no stopping. During breaks between sets I get to see the sun rising. It is such a beautiful sight with the red, orange and pink hues laid out on a blue canvas. After my warm up I do drills, mix up the strokes, and do a little bit of speed work. I always need to work on kicking. 2000 meters total (40 laps). Swimming has become one of my favorite activities! Sometimes I’ll have a few minutes to hit the hot tub before heading to the showers. Ahhh.


After finishing up at the gym I walk to another bus stop. This 3rd bus picks up mostly college kids and shuttles them up to the university. I work on campus so I jump on the bus along with them. I have another 10 min walk to my building which puts me at work just before 9am. Yes, getting up at 4:40am for a job that starts at 9am may seem weird to some (many of my co-workers) but it’s how I’ve got to get it done. Now, I must focus. I get in the mind set of work and plug away. My first agenda though is food to replenish my workout and aid in recovery. Small carton of muscle milk (chocolate), one banana, and one hard boiled egg for breakfast. Working out in the morning really gets me hungry so I usually eat my lunch before noon and have a snack after 2:30pm.

My workday goes until 5:30pm and then it’s time to jump on a 4th bus which takes me back to downtown Boulder. I have about a 15 min wait at the bus station until my 5th bus arrives to take me back up the canyon towards home.  This bus smells of body odor (from the happy hippies), sweat (from the snowboarders/skiers at Eldora), and fresh marijuana (from the people who picked up their stash while down in Boulder). The bus is very full with commuters heading back up into the mountains. On this bus, I quietly reflect on the days events. It is already pitch black by the time we board so I don’t get to see much out the windows. Occasionally we’ll get stuck in the canyon because of snow conditions or the bus may break down. No big deal…we all hitchhike up. It’s a pretty common occurrence in the canyon for trucks and Subarus to pull over and offer rides to people who are obviously stranded by the bus.

Once back in Nederland, it’s time to get my truck started for my 40 min drive back home. Sometimes we’ve gotten more snow during the day so I have to clean off my truck again. There’s no music on, just me planning out my workout for the next day while driving the winding roads.

Backing into the driveway (about 7pm) I see my pup at the door waiting for me. That’s always a great sight that warms my heart! He insists on hugging as soon as I come in the door. With his paws on my shoulders we talk (well I talk) and he listens intently. He’s usually gone for a hike with hubby during the day so he’s generally pretty tuckered out. For those of you keeping score at home…total commute time is approximately 3 hrs 50 minutes. So I am one tired girl by the time I get home. I feed the pup, start chopping up dinner for myself, unpack my gym bag and re-pack it for the next day. While I eat my dinner, I ice my knees, shoulders or what ever needs just a little extra attention. I roll out my IT bands on my foam roller and stretch what’s tight. Change into my pj’s and pick out work clothes. Now, it’s 8:30pm; time to read and fall asleep. Gotta get up early to start another version of this day all over again. Triathlon training is difficult in the winter but with the difficulty comes the rewards! I’m happy to be able to do all of this.


~ by willtriforbeer on January 30, 2013.

One Response to “Tri-ing in the winter”

  1. This made me tired just reading about it.

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