Search This Blog

Monday, January 23, 2012

Highs and lows

  First off, I should just express that as a person, I'm not hugely emotional- that is, until it comes to athletics (or animals.  Just reading Marley and Me did me in.  Don't ask me to watch the movie.  I cried during Homeward Bound as a child).  I hated Titanic and The Notebook for their sappiness, I didn't cry my way down the aisle at my wedding, I can hold it together during Hallmark commercials.  But, I can't watch a freaking Ironman finish without nearly losing it.  The Olympic Marathon Trials broadcast nearly did me in.  Maybe it's just because it's something I can relate to (anyone who's been exposed to my marriage knows that speaking overly dramatically about our love and passion for each other realizes that this isn't how Dave and I operate), or maybe it's just something about what happens to a human being when you cross the line, but sports make me lame.  So, sometimes when the body doesn't want to work, I begin to rely on pure emotion to get me through- and many times, that's when the numbers respond, as well.

  Today was one of those days.  Apart from being Monday, it also represented the beginning of my third build week, in which I had been putting in more volume than I had, well, ever.  It also marked one more week until my time spent at work will decrease to a glorious 32 hrs/wk.  With the fatigue of the past two weeks of training beginning to set in, I dutifully dragged myself out of bed at 5:30, hit the pool and sprinted, hit the trainer and sprinted, and hit the road (no sprinting there, though).  The bike workout, two hours with 8x2:30 best effort right smack in the middle, was the kind that I've done enough by now to know not to take lightly, no matter how minor it may sound.  Plus, I know what kind of wattage I've held during those intervals, and I'm too competitive with myself to let that drop, no matter what I feel like going in.  Two and a half minutes can feel tormentingly long, so I began taking myself places to survive.  I went back to the finish line of all of my best races; I recalled those feelings, and I pictured (to the best of my imagination, at least) where I'll be in the future- Galveston, NOLA, back to Mooseman, and finally, Placid.  Remember the good, remember what it was like, remember the highs.  You didn't get there without these lows.  Think of those times, and you'll know why you're doing this.  On a tough, ugly day completely lacking of any glory or glamour, I knew- I had to be here to get back to there.  Ironically, I needed my highs to get through my lows.

  If I rewind a few months to those good races, though, something else becomes clear.  I wasn't running along, say, ten miles in during Vegas thinking about some easy run over the summer when I'd felt effortless as I glided along.  Nope, I was thinking about some Sunday spent toughing it out through fatigue over my favorite long run loop, cresting the pedestrian bridge over the river and trying to work my way up Titus towards home without losing speed.  I wasn't biking uphill 40 miles in, thinking of some time in which I was easily cruising along at 23mph with a tailwind.  I was thinking of the Monday mornings spent repeatedly grinding it out up and down Bayview Rd, until I never wanted to have to go into my small ring again.  At those times, I needed to know that I had suffered in the past to know that I could make it through the present.  Thus, I needed to remember my lows to get to my highs.

  And so it becomes some sort of positive feedback loop- in training and racing, highs and lows are inevitable and intricately intertwined.  One feeds the other.  So, with that, I'm going to embrace whatever pain the rest of the week gives me (although, I can't say I'm going to be unhappy once recovery week hits!), because I know that in just over two months, when I'm x miles into the ride of my first pro race or y miles into the run, I'll be bringing myself back to days like today.  And hopefully, with any luck, I'll be able to finish in something that I can draw upon the next time the workouts don't come easy.  And I'll survive them yet again.

No comments:

Post a Comment