Time off from training, without time off from training.

Jeff Gaura at the bottom of Steamboat after running 10K in the winter.
At the bottom of Steamboat, after a 10K run.

Been taking time off from work and training to go play in the Colorado Rockies with my kids.  Crisp, dry air, snow deeper than the roof of a home, lots of time outdoors, all in the middle of winter.  Once a year for who knows how many years, I take them and some of their friends to some place that none of us have ever been before to go skiing and snowboarding for a couple of days.  Call it family tradition. Having two boys 10 years apart requires an act of great prowess to find something that both of them like to do.  Turns out that skiing out West happens to fit the bill.

For them, it was fun in the snow, at high speeds, with a belief in youthful immortality.  For me, this was to be a rest period away from all the training and all the work related change that keeps me up at night.


That so didn’t happen.  Part of the day is very “normal” family skiing.  Each day, I have been hitting the slopes with my youngest son, while my oldest son and his friends from High School hit the double black diamond routes.   All of us spend most all of the day outside,  resting only to eat and warm up.  We then walk back to the slopes and ski till late in the afternoon, near the time that the lifts close.  We come in and call it a day.

Stopping there wasn’t OK for me.   I just couldn’t feel comfortable calling it a day.  I am less than a month away from my first practice race of the season, and only a few months away from “real” races.  I have spent a lot of money and collected some money and support from the outside world, and am in process of getting some quality sponsors.  “Taking a break” for 4 or 5  days in the middle of  prime training season felt wrong.  Sure, skiing is a workout, but it won’t make me cycle faster, run faster or transition quicker.

Alex Gaura, at the top of Steamboat in Colorado
Alex, at the top of Steamboat

So, I worked out.  Day 1 was a 23 mile bike ride at sunset, c/o a nice stationary bike at the Sheraton Fitness Center, next door to our condo.  Day 2 was a 10k run on a treadmill.  Lots of good recovery food, post workout.  Spent time doing forward folds to stay loose and stretching in the main room of the condo.

Someone once said, “take your work seriously, but yourself, not at all!” I am applying to training this week.  My work is preparing for a World Level competition.  My next break comes at the end of the summer.

That said, we had some great fun, and my kids have had some real funny things come out of their mouths.  My youngest son was waiting for me at the entrance to a lift, and he started talking to a ski patrol.  He said, “I am here with my brother and his two friends.  Two of them are pretty good, but one of them…he’s just not that good.”   Too funny.

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