July 08, 2006

This One's Definitely Gonna Scar

Morning Workout
60ish miles
Heart Rate Zone: Aerobic (Zone 1) + Lactate Threshold (Zone 2)

12 miles
Heart Rate Zone: Lactate Threshold (Zone 2)

5 minutes
Heart Rate Zone: Cardiac Arrest minus one beat

Random Comments: As far as I'm concerned, I'm only as good as my last major workout. Which doesn't say much for my self-confidence right now. Last week Cat and I plugged through a 118 mile ride, 2.4 mile swim and 19 mile run. Sure there were some challenging parts of it all, but when all was sweated and done, it was a pretty good set of training sessions. In fact it was so good, I didn't realize until Sunday night that we'd almost done the entire Ironman distance. Had I called it quits then, everything would've been fine. Go out on a high note, they say. I should've left that weekend with a proud Thank You, Good Night. Don't forget to tip your waitresses.

Unfortunately last week wasn't the final major workout before Ironman. That took place today.

Today's training session was a repeat of one we did a few weeks ago: 4 hour bike ride + 2 hour run. I went into the session with a pretty good attitude. Hell, after the 139.4 miles we did last weekend, these six hours should be a breeze. That, perhaps, is where the trouble started.

One must learn to respect the bike and the run. You must know that somedays they will tear you apart and squish you like the wee little bug that you are. Perhaps I did not revere the bike and the run as much as I should've. Perhaps I would've been better off if, say, I made an effigy to the bike/run and participated in a meditative prayer prior to the workout. Perhaps then I wouldn't have found myself laying flat on the ground, unable to find the strength even to speak, and a few slight movements away from disgustingly emptying my stomach through the same orifice from which it got filled.

I've had better bike rides but, then again, I've had worse. The toughest part of today's ride was trudging up the 7 mile climb on a pair of legs that barely had the strength to move. Ever so slowly I went, one pedal revolution after another. Every few seconds I'd look up at the ominous mountain in front of me and see the road zig-zagging into the distance. That's a really depressing sight. But, when all was said and done, I finished the ride without disaster (Unfortunately I can't say the same for Cat who, after smoking my ass up the hill on her tired, painful legs, hit the proverbial wall about 20 miles from home and needed a Mountain Dew infusion to get her going again.)

We started the run and, like usual, Cat was a bat out of hell. Within a quarter mile I already couldn't keep up with her so I decided to save my energy and fall back. To tell you the truth, I'm not quite sure what I really saved - I'm not sure if there was any energy there in the first place. My legs were plodding along like concrete blocks. No matter how hard I willed them to move faster, they couldn't wouldn't and didn't. It was only about 45 minutes into the run when I realized that what little life I had left in me had been sucked right out. I had no energy to continue. No will to move forward. And I hadn't even gotten halfway through.

Yeah, I thought, this one's definitely gonna scar.

The last 3 miles of the run were arguably the toughest three miles I've run in a long time. I did everything in my power to keep one leg moving in front of the other. I argued constantly with my mind to stay positive and focused. It argued back. And it was pretty convincing.

I was dehydrated. I had used up all of my energy and all of the reserves - then all of the other reserves I keep hidden behind those reserves. About one mile from home Cat appeared behind me, bouncing along like she had all the energy in the world. OK, I said to myself, my only hope is to hang on to her. I dug in deep - really really deep - and found a piece of energy that must've been hiding behind my intestines or something. I gave it all I had for that last mile to keep up with my bouncing girlfriend. And somehow, someway, I made it back home. I'm not sure how, it's kind of a blur at this point.

That's when I stumbled aimlessly into the neighbors yard and stood in their sprinklers. It felt like a little piece of heaven.

That was our last major workout before Lake Placid. It's done now.
Next stop, Ironman.
Hopefully it'll go a wee bit better than today.