I've had some good workouts scattered throughout the past few weeks, ones that keep me going through not being able to run and then returning to running only to see that I still have to run at the same slow paces I was running at before (two weeks off didn't make me faster at low HR? Rude). I don't really ever talk about my workouts here anymore, not because they aren't interesting, but there are only so many ways I can talk about trying to keep my HR under 145 while still making running motions with my body. But a few have stuck with me.
A week or two ago, I hit my target HRs on the trainer for an entire 2.5 hour workout. (Dramatic pause for effect). ME, who can never get my HR over 130 on the trainer and when I do it's for 5 seconds and my heart feels like it's going to explode and I look down and see - 131? Are you kidding me with this? But I hit all those little windows for an entire workout, and I walked around cocky, strutting my big game all day. I looked at the even flat lines on the graph of HR more than once. I made sure my husband was up-to-date on how awesome I had become. I kept my heart at 150 for ten whole minutes on the trainer, more than once, baby! The next afternoon I strolled down to the basement to do my workout, confident that I would crush it - trainer? HR? I GOT THIS. And instead, it ate me up, I pushed and pushed and put my head down and the sweat dripped into my mouth and up my nose and I couldn't even blow it out and looked at the monitor and saw - 133? Are you kidding me with this? Triathlon training is such a great equalizer. You can have one hell of a smashfest one day, and then you show up the next day and it bends you over.
I got handed a big swim workout and the pre-workout comments really talked it up. BE READY. The first time I read through it, I thought, hmmm, really? But once I wasn't reading it on my phone with one un-contacted eye at 5:45am, okay, yeah, sounds tough, but I'm loving all the work in the pool right now, so let's roll. Then I got to the pool deck and we had to actually figure out what exactly was meant by the rest and the math, and, whoa, crap, are you sure about this? I am NOT A SWIMMER. But I do have blind trust in my coach, so even when it sounds a little crazy, I'm in, and you know what? Those thoughts, let's just pitch them right out, whatever happened when I was six and held my nose and did backstroke with one arm, forget it. I'm a swimmer now. I thumped like a dump truck through the workout, I swam my little brains out, I chased the other two (much faster) girls that I was swimming with every time I saw them go by out of the corner of my eye, and there were a few times where my body tried to slow down and I kicked it in the ass and said NOT TODAY, JERK. I missed every single one of the intervals, every last one, and not by one second but actually by a lot, and I'm sure I had the form of a drowning zebra with a broken neck, but I didn't care. I was actually happy to have a workout where I could put my balls RIGHT UP against that wall and still miss my targets. Sometimes you kill the workout, sometimes the workout breaks you, it's all work, it all goes in the deposit window, it shows me where I am, keep on keeping on. This is what I'm learning. Trying to learn.
Holy cats how I laughed when I got the email back saying that I had done it wrong. Made it harder than it was meant to be, subtracted time off the interval, sigh. But my coach is right, sometimes the vagueness in training is good for you, maybe I wouldn't have worked as hard if I didn't think I was missing every single interval. Food for thought. It makes me think that maybe I should swim with a master's group even though I'd be eating fin in the last lane. Makes me itch for that Monday night no-drop-but-drops-me-anyway hill ride to start again. Attack at the bottom of every hill so I can't even see the back of the pace line after the first mile? Bring it on, you big swinging CAT 4/5 dicks. Maybe I need to be chasing more rabbits.
Last week at PT, Dr. Paul pronounced me "healed" and gave me his blessing to run the half marathon this coming weekend. I scrambled straight to my phone to find out if I also had the blessing of my coach, and as of right now, it's happening. When I signed up for this race back in August or whenever, I was out for revenge. I've referenced this post so many times that I can practically type the URL in my sleep, but last year, this race, it was ugly. I ran what I ran and I'm not going to talk about what I "should" have run because the only thing that matters is what I did run, but the race was definitely the slowest long run in the training cycle and I'm almost positive that isn't how it's supposed to work. And this year I wanted it so badly, I had the burn to lay waste to this distance, to bury what happened the last time I raced these streets. But laying waste isn't how my day is going to go, I'm not making excuses but the reality is I missed some key weeks of training dealing with my calf. I have no idea what my race plan is going to look like, I have no idea what I'm going to try and do on Saturday or what the clock will say when I roll in. I do know that you can't always make plans. Your training has bumps and blips and sometimes you slip off the cliff and fall screaming through a canyon for what feels like forever but is actually only a moment, suspended. So I'm going to run this race and it's going to hurt, I'm not even sure that I remember what it feels like to hurt on the run after spending that past three months doing fat aerobic training, but I do know that I'm going to use the tools I have, I'm going to actually look at my watch and do my best to execute whatever plan I get handed and when I see the mile 12 sign roll by I am going to put my nose down and shut my brain off and run like hell for that finish line.
So that's how my training is going. Humbling, absolutely, every day. But, maybe it's time to chase some rabbits.