Well, I'm one week in on this 82 week training plan, and I have to say, wow, having a trainer is surprisingly motivating. I hadn't quite understood how much having accountability for training and really, really, really not wanting to waste (lose) the money I'm paying for the trainer would motivate me. Historically, that accountability would come from my teammates, I don't want to let them down, but I seriously lack a team these days. Perhaps that "not letting them down" was too much of a motivating factor, I'm not sure. I'd like not to disappoint myself in particular, which means putting in the work now, for the success later.
One of the biggest surprises I've had so far is just how much I do not have the internal feel of an uphill athlete. I know what having sprint endurance feels like. I know the internal feel of being an ultimate frisbee player. I understand the motions, the aches, the nuances of training too hard vs slacking, but only for ultimate. I do not have these values set for uphill climbing. The advantage of being a fit ultimate player is that most non-skilled activities are "easy," - we were fit enough that we could fake being able to do those other activities. Walking the Cotswold Way? No problem. Building a dam? No problem. Hiking the Grand Canyon? No problem.
But now, with this lack of fitness and a lack internal set point for "uphill athlete," instead of "ultimate athlete," gosh, everything feels so slow.
What, don't raise my heart rate above 120? Um... can I tell you about the time my heart rate monitor recorded my heart rate at 248 and I decided never to wear a heart rate monitor again? 120 isn't even a slow jog heart rate, it is a walking heart rate. On flat ground. Unladen. How do I move this slowly? Argh.
The biggest non-surprise has been just how stunningly not in shape I am. I knew I wasn't in a great place, I just didn't realize how much of not in a great place. Consistency is key to fixing that. And that accountability the trainer brings.
Paired with that non-surprise would be my other actual surprise: that I've finally accepted that this is where I am, fitness-wise. Yes, this used to be easier. Yes, I could hike from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top without stopping except once for water, once upon a time. That upon time is not now. I am no longer that person. I'm not competing with anyone else for that spot on the team, for our team to win. I'm training to climb a mountain. One mountain in particular.
Trying to raise or lower my heart rate artificially in order to "win" a workout doesn't help me achieve the goal of summitting that mountain and returning safely. Listening to the trainer does help me. And if he says go slowly, I'll go slowly, and eventually learn how being an uphill athlete feels.