Friday, June 12, 2009

Run, Swim, Bike.. Taper Countdown!

When I woke up yesterday morning I wondered if I was actually going to make it to the taper. The last too weeks have been good, hard, but really really good. I've managed to do just about everything I am supposed to be doing training-wise and I was really feeling it. My legs were worked over, tired and lifeless and my body longed for a day off.

One more long Thursday, then, you get a break, I told myself as I slung my legs over the bed and started to put on my heart rate monitor!

My day started at the track. I never look at a workout before that very morning if I know it's going to be juicy. When I saw juicy I mean, huffing and puffing, heart bursting out of your chest, leave half of your body (and mind) out there once your done. Wondering if my legs would even work once I got there occupied my mind as I drove over to the high school track. When I arrived, it was just me, the track, and the work I had yet to do.

On the schedule.. warm up, some strides, and then as Emeril would say - BAM! - 3 x 1600 (with rest at half the time of the interval) all out. I would finish with 8 x 100 and a cool down. "Ok.".. I thought, "first one - push but get your bearings, feel the track, get it over with but make sure you don't put it all out there, we are descending these babies, end of story."

So, that's exactly what I did. I ran strong, I counted down and got the leg turnover started and focused on getting that first one in but trying not think about how the next two would feel. Just like ELF said a few weeks ago, for those of us who run, being at the track is somewhat of a Religious experience, we grew up there watching those lane lines pass. I spent much of my life, and my blood, sweat and tears running on a curve, looking at my watch as I passed the 400, teaching myself about how this time would feel, or how this pace would feel. At the end, the watch was almost obsolete, I knew what I was running when I was running it, all by the sound of my breath, the amount of turnover, and the feeling.
Back to yesterday morning - When I ended the first repeat I was pleasantly surprised by the time, but not happy. It was, well, decent, but I wanted more (surprise, surprise). I set off on number two knowing I would work harder and would drop it (by how much was yet to be seen). On lap number three of that repeat I started to hurt, the thoughts started to creep in, "if this hurts so much now, how will you do one more?!" I pushed them away, it was all about this repeat, right now, lay it out and no holding back.
I crossed the line again and allowed myself to stand and pant for a minute. I looked at my watch and 10 seconds were gone from my previous repeat.. oh man, I'd done it now, this one was going to be hard to beat.

Lining up I tried positive self talk again, and set out to see what I was really about. Each of these times where you lay it all out you get to practice. Practicing all kinds of things is what makes race day easier because it's inevitable that you will have the same thoughts, the same feelings, the same challenges to overcome. Rounding my first two laps I was already feeling the fatigue of the other two repeats before and my mind tried to scare me, "you won't beat your time, you can't do it, you're too tired now." Then my strong-willed nature would come back and beat it down with more thoughts "you will do it, you've done it before, you need to practice doing it because in two weeks you will be doing it and you're going to have to pull it out then and put it all on the line, use this, learn this, do this."

When the final stretch came, I pumped my arms and left it all out there until I thought I might throw up, final time, two seconds off the last repeat. I did it. I freakin did it.

A big thumbs up and happy to be done!

After basking in the glory of making it, I cooled down and returned to my car where I drove to the pool. I had a nice swim but only got in about 2400 of my 3000 yards. After work, it was one last workout to go.

My friend No Helmet Jeremy!
I met my British friend Jeremy and although I warned him I was tired, he showed no mercy. He was going to make me work for that day off on Friday. We rode from North Park and although I had no legs, I managed to stay with him and we chatted making it go faster. Only once did his non-helmet wearing behind almost get drug off his bike when the car behind us shouted expletives at us for riding on the road. Road bikers on the road.. what a concept!

Then it was dinner and bed. I hit the pillow and eight hours later I feel like I might make it to the taper! Only one more hard weekend to go! Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

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