Since I started working with John, I have done a variety of what I would call “sick” workouts. We have an interesting relationship, one that my athlete readers will read about and nod their heads understandingly, while my non-athlete readers will shake their heads, as if to say “craziness, all of it.” I pay him, he tells me to inflict pain on myself in various, specific ways, depending on the time of year, then I do it, tell him how it went, and ask for more. Sometimes he will prescribe a 90 minute run to include no less than, say 25 minutes of uphill. Once he had me ride my bike 120 miles, then run 4. Another memorable assignment was the 100 mile ride followed by a 10 mile run.
Today my job was to do one bike ride, as a 30 minute warm-up, then 3 x 30 minute intervals, heart rate to stay between 150-165, with 10 minute rest intervals, then a 30 minute cool down. Immediately after, I was to do a one hour run with “heart rate 150-165 if possible.” I rarely use my heart rate monitor. It beeps all time and it chafes me when I run. Today I made an exception and reacqauinted mysef with the old 2004 Polar A5.
I had my heart set on wearing my periwinkle and green Zoot tri top I had raced in last summer. I wanted to try it to make sure it was still comfortable just in case my Boulder tri team kit doesn’t come in before the RI 70.3. But it was sort of chilly, so I donned my armwarmers. My roommate Leah kindly applied sunblock to my shoulders where I can’t reach, and then I was ready to go. Sort of. I still had to mix my drinks, pump up my tires… so actually not ready at all. Then I realized it was colder than I thought and it seemed sort of lame to be wearing a racer back tank top with armwarmers, so I switched the tank top for a short sleeve black top with a red and white stripe that reminds me of a 1983 gymnastics leotard. Which I hardly ever wear. I studied myself from various angles in the mirror and finally decided I would never wear this top again. Its just plain not flattering. But this was not a fashion show, after all. I headed out the back patio and realized in the last 30 minutes it had gotten significantly warmer. Back to the tank top. The gymnastics jersey went straight into the give-away pile. Too bad. It seemed so cute when I got it a year and a half ago…
At 10:30 or so I was finally out the door. The 30 minute warm up was good except my heart rate monitor was annoying me, beeping incessantly because my heart rate was around 120-130. Over coffee I had finally figured out how to re-adjust the limits and set them to 149-165. I was very proud of myself for successfully manipulating the device, and I’d be damned if I didn’t utilize it on this ride. After I turned eastward, the beeping was mostly drowned out by the wind anyway. Btw, I have heard everything regarding Boulder winds from “This is a bad year for wind” to “The wind dies down around May/June” to “The wind never really quits.” FOR GOD’S SAKE, WHICH IS IT!? My feelings toward the wind have ranged from frustration, anger, tenacious resistance, fatigue, sheer disbelief, to taking it quite personally. Today I embraced it, knowing I wouldn’t have to be too disciplined to raise my heart rate into the acceptable range if I happened to be riding into it. Sometimes I remind myself that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Sometimes I have to ride home from work (17 miles) into it and feel despair, as my backpack, stuffed only with a U-lock, empty tupperware, a pair of scrubs and New Balance trail runners (I meant to get into trail running), seems to take on the weight of a dozen cinder blocks, and every mile feels like 10.
But I digress… Finally 30 minutes was up and I took off, passing the kindly man with whom I’d been chatting and leapfrogging up route 36 once and for all. The interval passed fairly quickly and uneventfully as did the next 2. I wish I had something interesting to say about them but really, what is there worth talking about when all you did was put your head down and turn your legs over as hard as you could for 30 minutes. Not a whole heck of a lot, as it turns out.
On my cool down I am pretty sure I saw Amanda Lovato on her Scott Contessa in full Scott pink and white team kit. But whether that’s worth talking about depends on who you ask… In the Sinel family, you are awarded accolades not for spotting a celebrity, but for spotting a celebrity look-alike. I believe my dad came up with this unique (read: wierd) tradition.
I came home, had a glass of water, redid my ponytail, donned my visor, then doffed said visor and readjusted my ponytail again in favor of sunglasses sans visor. I switched into running shoes and I was off. I reactivated the heart rate monitor thinking surely I would have no problem maintaining a heart rate of 150 or above, considering my legs felt like someone beat them with a bat only 30 minutes prior. But my little friend read a mere 130. What was this!? I stared at it, annoyed. How much faster do you think I can run, you little sh*t?! I don’t have much gas left in the tank. Move up, dangit!!! She was slow to budge. Surely the incline at Poplar Street would be enough to shoot her up 20 beats or so, but she did not respond. As I turned onto Wonderland Hill Ave (yes its as pretty as it sounds), I was breathing like I was trying to outrun a mountain lion (but now I have a whistle to run with so hopefully that won’t be an issue), but she STILL wouldn’t budge. This beeping was going to drive me NUTS. She stopped beeping for like 2 seconds, and then started again. I looked down. She read 174. What!? How come when my breath sounded like a steam train, she told me 140, and 5 seconds later she said 174!? I slowed down a notch. and then the thing read 140, continuing to beep incessantly. How could my heart rate be down to 140 all of a suddent!? This stupid thing was as indecisive as me trying to pick a cycling outfit. I had no patience for this crap. I was ready to throw it in the next garbage can I saw. Was there a point in using the heart rate monitor if I knew I was breathing really hard? Did I really need some inanimate object to tell me how hard I was working? I knew I was working my a*s off and this stupid beeping was telling me I wasn’t. It was wrong! I was right! It needed to stop beeping at me and shut up!!!
Turning onto 4th Street, I calmed down a little and decided my coach gave me this workout for a reason and even though running with a HR of 148 felt like death, he wouldn’t have told me to do 150 or higher if he didn’t think I could do it. And what was the worst case scenario, after all? Just that I would do it for as long as I could, blow up, and walk/jog home. That wasn’t exactly the end of the world. So I soldiered on, running as fast as my little legs could go and gradually saw my heart rate move up to the 150’s. I was now focused on just keeping it there. I had to fight with myself to stay focused.
My mouth is dry.
This is not the first time and it won’t be the last. You can have a drink later.
My nose is runny.
Your nose is always runny. The air is dry. Deal with it.
I can’t breathe.
That’s the point.
I want to check out that yard sale!!
I just want to just see if they have anything for Dan’s office.
You can look at yard sales every weekend you want after September 7th.
Keep moving. Today we don’t brake for yard sales.
My arms are chafing on this tank top.
Now you know to wear Body Glide next time.
I really don’t think I can maintain this heart rate till I get home.
You won’t know till you try.
Finally, my watch read 2:33pm and I was home. I was exhausted. I completed my mission. I forced myself to do this killer workout. I silenced the voice that was trying to talk me out of it. Earlier this week, I read one of Gordo’s posts on how if you depend on good race results for your self-esteem, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, regardless of where you place. He noted that the process of your athletic journey can however make you feel good about yourself. I concur. Especially now that I have had a meal and a shower, and sit, content, blogging from my futon.