Monday, October 18, 2010

How Bad Do You Want It...

I used to have a coach in high school track that became known to me for this phrase "How bad do you want it?" She would ask me while I was snuggled up in a warm bus at some neighboring high school while one of the last flurries of April were blowing past my window and I was our only 3200 meter runner and a big scorer for the meet. I was just beginning to understand my mind as an athlete, and my 3200 time was nothing to be that impressed with, but it sure meant something to me. I was convinced that I was one of the better long distance runners in our district, and I was on the varsity track team in 9th grade (not something that other girls could necessarily say). It was rough out there on the track, wind blowing in my face, tiny see through horribly fashioned yellow polyester shorts blowing against my freezing legs..

But my answer was always the same.. for me, and for my teammates.. I wanted it.. and I wanted it

Friday after my long bike / run combo of the week.. I cried. There, I said it.. I was a total girl and I just burst into tears in my car.

I'm also convinced if you don't cry once, maybe twice during your Ironman training.. well, I hate to say it, but you're probably not doing it right. That may be harsh, but it's the truth. Ironman training is hard.

When I started out on Friday at 12:40pm the skies were a bright blue against the autumn trees and the day was a pleasant 58 degrees. It was a tad bit chilly on the downhill, but I knew I could handle it. I had a plan to go meet my fellow Ballou Skies teammate Joe about 20 miles away and tackle the middle 2 hrs of my ride before riding back toward home for a few hours before dark. You do the math - that's a 6 hour ride. I still had an hour of running planned before I would be done - at 8:00pm...on a Friday night. Yep, that's Ironman training. I knew it would all be worth it when I made it through my Saturday run with a good friend and was done for the rest of the weekend. If I could JUST HOLD ON..
I met Joe and even though I was feeling the extreme week of training in my legs, our chatting and the beautiful scenery kept me feeling upbeat and happy to be on my bike.
He decided to take me on "hike a bike" through a section of road that was not quite finished being repaved. That's ok Joe.. this ain't my first rodeo.

Then we stopped by my summer home :) Ok.. well, maybe it isn't mine, but I left a note asking if I could stop by and give them free nutrition / triathlon advice if I could just take a look and figure out WHAT is in ALL THOSE ROOMS.. seriously!! Who needs that much space!!
Joe had to get back to work on some things at home, and I noticed the sky overhead seemed much more unhappy by the time I was headed toward home. Thanks Joe!! I had fun!

It proceeded to drop and drop in temperature. Then the winds picked up to between 10 and 20 mph in certain stretches (mostly when I was lucky enough to be headed right into it). My face started to hurt and my hands started to go numb. At some point my stomach was revolting against any more drink (which was not enough to begin with due to the cold) and I was pedaling on very few calories. While climbing the final hill up to my car at 6:30pm, a driver shouted some obscenities out his window and I was just trying to hold myself together for 10 more minutes.

Would I run? I didn't want to run.. I didn't feel like running.. I was FREEZING.. my legs were killing me.. I wouldn't even run fast - then why do it!

I augured and argued with myself. After changing in the building vending area of my office, with a coke in one hand and a bag of chips in the other.. I decided I would give it a try. I headed back out into the dark with nothing but my headlamp and some upbeat music.

I didn't make it an hour, but I did make it five miles.. On a day like that.. I'll take it.

Still, by the time I got to the parking lot at Giant Eagle, I had gone almost 8 hours without a meal and it was just too much. I was cold, tired, beat down and so hungry it was playing with my emotions. I said all the bad words about Ironman in my mind that I could think of, and I then I tried to imagine how I would feel standing on the starting line at IM Coz. Wouldn't I want a few of these in the bank?? Isn't it important that I wanted to get off my bike about 16, 343 times - but I didn't.. and that meant something.

You see.. I want it folks, I want it bad.. so I'm just going to have to get through a few more tough weeks of this, and then I will rest, regroup and let my body build back up again and get stronger. I want to know that while I was out here working hard, I was working so hard that sometimes it made me question WHY I was working this hard. I would need to find the answer much more before mile number 130.. that's too late to be asking the question. The question already needs to asked, and the answer known.

So, that was training last week. Let's see if we can do it again this week..

If you're taking your off season and letting the fire build up in your belly once again, or if you're like me... in the midst of it so far you can't even see sometimes.. you've got to ask yourself


I know.. do you?

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