Today it was neither pretty nor comfortable. As I alluded to yesterday, today I had a strength session in the morning and mile repeats in the afternoon. The morning strength routine was great – I hit some numbers I haven’t seen in awhile, my form was looking good, and I was definitely feeling strong. I fueled up well afterward, I hydrated well, and I was psyched and looking forward to pounding out those miles.
Yes. Those miles. Six miles repeats were prescribed to me today. Just after 1pm I hopped on the treadmill (where I unfortunately have to conduct my speed sessions for the time being), and began my warm-up. My legs were feeling great, but in my mind I could sense that something was up. With my stomach. Oh, please, no, I thought.
I got through repeat #1, and my stomach started to experience great distress. A little extra recovery time, I told myself. Half-way through repeat #2, I thought I was going to have to stop and either lay down or puke. Or both. Relax, I told myself. You’ll be fine. Two more laps.
I finished repeat #2. Another slightly longer recovery, and I began repeat #3. Same result as repeat #2. At this time, the battle in my mind began. It would be easy to stop now, give in, go home, and try another day. My stomach is just not up for it today. But then another thought came into my mind, and it is this train of thought that will keep me going throughout my entire training, throughout the race. That thought? What if it happens on race day. Am I going to stop, give up, and quit? Am I going to throw in the towel, come back, try again another day? NO. As a matter of fact, I know that it is highly likely I will experience some degree of gastrointestinal distress during Ironman. And there will be no stopping. I can slow down. But I will not quit. The best way to prepare myself for this is to experience it in training; to learn how to best handle it so I can continue on in the safest and most efficient manner. What do I do if it happens during the race? 1) Calm down – you’ve been here before, and you know you’ll get through it. 2) Slow down – it’s ok, you can even walk for a bit until things settle. 3)Stay positive – don’t let the negative experience of stomach distress win the battle!
As some people may find hard to believe, and I am certain I have said this before – I am indeed human. I experience a great deal of GI upset and sickness during my training and racing – I have all my life. It is something I have learned how to handle (with a little help from my Pepto-to-Go!), and I have gotten better with every year. Do I recommend training like this for everyone? Certainly not. I know what my goals are, what is normal for me, and what I am capable of. And when the day is right, I will push through almost anything.
I successfully made it through all six of my mile repeats (of course I end up with a wicked right-side stitch for the final three laps of repeat #6). Once I hit repeat #5, things had started to settle, and I knew that I was going to win the battle and that I would make it through. That thinking alone probably provided a major role in getting me through. Nine-and-a-half miles later, I finished my workout.
Now, I am happily enjoying one of my favorite post-workout beverages (chocolate milk) and planning tomorrow morning’s yoga class. Ahhh yes. The feeling of putting in a great workout, beating the odds, and getting that much stronger.