It has been less than a week since I ran the Ottawa marathon and I have two months ahead of my second Canadian Death Race (CDR). My goal for the CDR is to run the race in less than 18 hours. I’m thinking I can do it. A result of the intense training that I have been subjecting myself to. I say that I am subjecting myself to it, as if it were a negative thing, but I actually like it.
So what is the intense training? Once a week I head to the gym and do intervals on the treadmill. It really isn’t the ideal way of training considering that this is supposed to be hill training. Given the terrain in south-western Ontario (where I live), it is my only option. I progressively made it up to 8 minute intervals. 8 minutes of running with the incline at 15% (the highest setting) with the objective of keeping my heart rate at or above 95% max. This is followed by an 8 minutes recovery where I let my heart rate drop to 60% max. Repeat.
With all of the racing I have been involved with over the last two months, I have been in a race/recovery cycle. As such I have been on a hill training hiatus, until today. I was looking forward to it. I had swapped my NB MR00 for my Nike Free 5.0’s for the last two runs and decided to continue the week with them. On the advice of my coach since my calf muscles had been tightening up. I got on the treadmill and the mental struggle began.
First rep down and I wasn’t feeling all that confident about my effort. I felt like I was kicked in the gonads. I wanted to quit. It seems that there is a theme developing here (see all previous race reflections). I start and I want to quit. But for some reason the feeling of regret would be more painful than just doing it. So I try to ignore the negativity and find my way through the negative thoughts.
The second rep is done, but I am not feeling that much better about my effort. My quads were feeling sore and they seemed to be giving out on me faster than normal. I needed to hit and hold 181 bpm for 8 minute intervals. While I seemed to be able to hold it, I didn’t feel like I could do this another 6 times.
Rep 3 and 4 were brutal and demoralizing. The silver lining was that by the end of the 4 rep I was half way done. The last four reps were a struggle to get to 181 bpm. I started trying self coaching devices like repeating a mantra. “Push through it” I’d repeat. Push the up button to speed up. When I couldn’t hold it any more down a couple. I’d realize that I still hadn’t hit 181 bpm, so speed up a bit more. Slowly creeping up to 181 bpm. The strange thing here is that after the demoralizing 3rd and 4th rep, each one seemed to get easier.
I relate this progressive ease to life in general. As a teen, life beyond high school seemed impossible. High school was enough of an adjustment for me. I looked forward to moving on, but it seemed that all the responsibility would be monumental. Early twenties, life still felt like a bit of a mountain to climb. What with all the bills and stuff. Having to pay for everything and figuring out how to budget and follow then actually follow through. Yup, intimidating but certainly something that you feel good about once you notice that you are adapting to it. Present day, not easy, but more or less figured out and feeling good.
Today’s workout brought me back to the realization I had about how amazing our bodies are. With each rep, I found I had to push harder. Sometimes finding that I really needed to dig deeper. I had to find the inner beast to help me through it. As the workout progressed, my body went from hating me, to punishing me, adapting to the situation, then loving me. Strange.