It's cold out there. It's dark. I could have stayed in and watched TV, eaten cake, drunk tea. It's not cold or dark in here.
My son is asleep on my wife's chest, looks peaceful. I wonder what goes through his little head? I could stay in here with them late on a Sunday night. But I know I can't.
"Go on," my wife says. "I can see you need to."
"I'll just be an hour," I say. She smiles, part resigned, part accepting. She'd probably rather I didn't have this need to go out and train at this time of night, but she knows me and she knows that I'll be better in an hour. I'm lucky that she's so understanding. But she's right. I do need to.
I don't want to take the mickey, so I give myself an hour including changing and shower time. Grab my kit, my towel, waterbottle, ipod, headtorch. Head to the turbo.
I don't remember much about it, if I'm honest. 45 minutes of threshold efforts. My eyes are closed for a lot of it. I'm sweating but can tell it's cold, below freezing out in the shed. Can see my breath in the light of the headtorch. Wish I had a spare room. Wish I had a garage. Wish I didn't have these demons that needed exorcising.
Exorcising. Exercising. Hard to tell the difference some days.
There will be races in a few months, a few short months, and all this hard work will be worth it then. No matter the demons calling me to relax and take it easy, I'll ignore them now so they can't taunt me come race day. I don't want to be lining up, thinking, I wish I'd not been so lazy during the winter. Training in the summer is easy, and because it's easy, everyone does it. It's these sessions in the depths of winter that make the real difference.
I get back inside, and my son is still asleep in my wife's arms while she watches TV. They both look so peaceful. Endorphins flowing and satisifed that I've done all I can in the time I had, I can join them.
I look at him. I'm so lucky. We're so lucky.
Part of me hopes that he grows up without this unbearable need to push himself, that he's just happy go lucky. But, part of me hopes he gets to feel this satisfaction of getting it done when it would be so much easier to collapse in front of the TV.
If you've been drawn to reading this, I think you know what I'm talking about.
Triathlon coaching packages and training plans are available now. Get in touch if you're ready to get started.