My legs were sore, and my mind was tired, more so because of the soreness in my legs. Wednesday is brick day – more specifically – BIG brick day, and although I had mostly worked up the gumption and enthusiasm for the bike part, my mind was already set on not running after. ‘My legs are too sore’, my mind said, ‘I just don’t feel like it’, ‘Running is my strength so I’m not as concerned about working on it’. These thoughts continued to roll through my mind. This is my last heavy week before my first race of the season – the final part of a 6-week training block where three of those weeks have been consecutive heavy weeks. Yes, I’m starting to feel a bit tired from it, but I will admit, most of that fatigue is in my mind. When I got on my bike yesterday afternoon, I knew that. And I knew that I needed to break that cycle. It is all in my head, and I was not about to let the negative win over the positive. Yesterday’s workout involved intervals at a high resistance with a lower cadence – all seated, and all without any movement in the upper body. I plopped myself in the saddle, and began my revolutions. ‘We’ll see how this goes’, I thought, ‘We’ll see what happens’. I had a new playlist on the docket, one with a series of “Ironman triathlon motivation” videos; I needed something different to stimulate my mind. As I progressed through my warm-up, I made note that my legs were feeling better than I had anticipated, and after the first series of progressive spin-up intervals and first motivating clip, my mindset was beginning to change. Slowly. But it was. A couple of videos in, and I was ready and willing to hammer.
And hammer I did. I made it through the hour of hard intervals, and the rest of the workout – should I choose to finish there – was easy cadence work and spinning until cool-down. Coincidentally, it also came at the time the last video in the series came on: NBC’s highlights of the 2008 Ironman world championship. It was just over an hour long. I couldn’t stop watching. Instead of taking the short cut and finishing my workout with the easy stuff, I switched it into high gear, and for the lat last 45 minutes, I pedaled like my life depending on it, with unrelenting motivation. When the highlights ended – along with the bike portion of my workout – I was all revved up and ready to get on the treadmill. ‘Be like Chrissie’, I kept thinking (if you are unfamiliar with the 2008 world championship race, I highly recommend you watch it). I got on that treadmill, and although at first my still-sore legs protested, once I get them moving and in rhythm, they seemed to be saying to me “come on, faster, let’s go, we’re ready now’. All doubts washed away from my mind. I ran just shy of 30 minutes, but I could have kept going. And going. And going. If that was how my legs felt and responded on a sore day, it makes me very excited to think about how they will respond on race day. I didn’t want to get on the treadmill, I didn’t want to get that workout in. My mind was telling me it wasn’t going to do it, it was telling me not to do it. I almost listened. But I found what I needed within myself – because that is where it always is – and got the job done. I am glad I did. I felt awesome afterward, and I felt satisfied and accomplished for having completed it. Oddly enough, I had the same type of apprehension with my swim workout this morning. Prescribed for today was a grueling test of pace, and pace-endurance (this should be read as: mental strength and endurance). 10 x 50, 5 x 500, and then 10 x 50 again. It is a simulation of race-day swim demands: the fast start of the race and getting out and into position (10 x 50), holding a pace and then steadily increasing that pace (5 x 500), and then picking it up and speeding toward the finish (10 x 50). Do it, I told myself. You can do this. You did yesterday, and you are going to do it again today. And I did. I hit every pace, every number, every interval. A quick little 4400 yards later, and that workout was kicked to the dirt as well. We have within us the power and ability to do so many things, if we only believe that we can. Don’t defeat yourself before you get out there, and although there will be days where this will inevitably happen, remind yourself that it is only one instance of many, and you have the power to change it the next time. Don’t forget that, and don’t let yourself think otherwise. To finish out this heavy week, the next three days bring with them three more swims (I get four days in a row of swimming this week. Woo!), another heavy lifting day (I really hope I’ll be able to get it in), a long run (hooray! The weather breaks!), plenty of yoga, and plenty of crazy core stability work. The race season is about to get underway, ladies and gentlemen. Saturday, March 21st will be here in no time. Ready or not (and I’m so ready!), it is here. Time to see just how well I’ve prepared.