This was it. It was the week to determine if the proof was in the pudding or not. Had all the training been for a good cause? Was I faster, stronger, better? Was I going to be able to porpoise to the front of the pack in a single dive? Burn rubber as I tore it up on the hills? Actually finally be able to keep up with Coach Joe during a training run? ACK!!!!!!!
The good news was that I knew what to expect. The bad news was that I knew what to expect. It’s like giving birth a second or third time. You are somewhat prepared for the pain, fatigue and everything else, but that doesn’t make it any better. It’s times like this that you have to do some real soul searching to remember exactly why we do this to our bodies, our psyches, our families and ourselves. Why exactly? Oh yeah, fun and fitness. J/K… For me it really is for both of those reasons, but also because it reminds me that I’m alive and I need to stay healthy for Crazy Coach Joe and our three little (well, not so little anymore) Crazy Joe Juniors. And yes, like most of us, because I really love to eat!
As luck would have it, things got a bit topsy-turvy during this test week. Well, they’ve been a bit crazy for the past couple of weeks with Easter and spring break. Let me explain about this week -- Back in February, I volunteered to help with costuming for Jamie’s school’s spring musical. His school is putting on “The Little Mermaid, Jr.” The music director at his school is amazing and is a “go big or go home” kind of guy. He technically “has” a budget, but doesn’t really understand the idea of buying on sale and with coupons with big-ticket items like fabric. Fabric for a colorful undersea adventure ain’t cheap!
Since I sew and I knew that the costumes were going to eat up a huge chunk of his budget, I offered to help. I went to the fabric store and purchased several patterns (on sale) that I thought might suffice for a few of the main characters. He loved them, but also showed me a few pictures that he had found on-line. He had much more faith in my sewing skills than I did! I made some suggestions, secretly thinking there was no way I could accomplish what he wanted! I started purchasing fabric (on sale) and making costumes. That was in March. Since then, our dining room has been taken over by fabric and sewing machines. If I’m not riding my bike, running, sleeping or cooking, I’m sewing! Jamie has had to try on more costumes than I think he has in his entire trick or treating career. He’s been a good sport, but is definitely glad he’s not wearing a pink sequined mermaid tail. Jamie, my all-boy, is going to be Flotsom – one of Ursula’s wicked eels. Mr. Dudley Doright is all about being a nasty, I think because he’s such a good kid normally. And, who doesn’t like to be a bit naughty every once and while?
|Sea turtle costume made by Joe|
But, how does this pertain to my training? Time is moving forward and I am running out of time to finish all of the requested costumes! I’ve asked for help and have gotten some, but apparently not enough moms (or dads) know how to sew or how to sew well. I’m thankful for the friends who have stepped up as they have relieved some of my stress. I am learning to delegate and to prioritize and just say, “No, we can’t do that,” to the director. I’m hustling to get through workouts to then sit down at the sewing machine for hours on end. Can you say, “Oooooh! My aching back!”?
My one workday a week has also been going through a shift as well. I had been working on Mondays since it was a rest day (Halleluiah!), but have had to transition to Tuesdays since there were too many of us there on Mondays. That means I have to get up early to knock out my workout before work. As much as I don’t like four-thirty in the morning, I am sadly getting used to this. You Ironman crazies do this regularly I know, but for we lowly age-groupers, that’s a lot of dedication. I already get up at four-thirty on Sundays to get my long runs in before church. The thought of getting up an additional day so dang early was not appealing, but such is life. As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of working out after work when the kids are home and need my attention. Plus, the idea of taking two showers each day seems excessive to me. Not that spending ridiculous amounts of money on running shoes, clothes and powdered/gel nutrition isn’t, but hey, it’s all about perspective. :0)
Oddly, getting up at four-thirty hasn’t been too troublesome. My brain knows that I have stuff to get done and I think that’s why I can get out of bed without too much mental wrestling. It doesn’t help though when I leave our nice cozy bed that Joe and Louie nestle into the spot that I have just vacated.
The bike test was, as usual, awful! I don’t think that I pushed myself as hard as I have for the past two tests; my wheezing incident after the last one is still pretty vivid in my memory. I tried to keep my power right at my already pre-established threshold. I was tired and I just didn’t have the mental oomph to push myself any harder. A small part of me was disappointed in myself, but the rest of my GSF (“give a $&^# factor) could have cared less. I felt like I do a couple of weeks before a big race and I’m sick and tired of training.
Next up was the run test. Coach Joe wanted me to do a 5K test instead of a half-marathon or 10K test since most of what I do is short course. I had done a 10K last week anyway. Alas, I haaddddd to go to Asheville with my Miami Mommy Friends for the weekend. I was NOT down with doing a 5K test at 4000 feet when all of my training had been on the treadmill at a 2% grade. Not to mention that I was already short of breath at my normal altitude. What to do? Coach Joe told me to wait a week or two and then find a local 5K to race. Shucks! You mean I have to forgo my run test to hang out with my friends in a cabin in the mountains with a stream running through the property. Darn. :-)
|My Miami running buddy, Melissa|
I did run twice while I was in North Carolina – once with my friend Melissa (and consequently the only one still in Miami) and once solo. While I spent the entire weekend feeling slightly winded, poor Melissa was totally knocked for a loop. We ran at her pace – five minutes on, one minute off. Before the first interval was over, she was breathing hard and slowing down. I, on the other hand, felt great for me. “This is what it’s like for Joe when he runs with me,” I thought. Wow! We ended up running only three miles, but I was raring to go afterwards, once I caught my breath of course.
On Sunday, I dutifully got up at o’ungodly to try to get a medium-length run in before we headed home. I forgot to take into consideration that we were surrounded by mountains and that it takes a bit longer to get light. By the time it was light enough for my comfort level, I bagged the idea of running six-eight miles and settled on four. Having not run very much outside nor in the mountains, I was pleased with my pace. I was not prepared for the cool mornings, having left my hat and gloves at home. Thankfully, I had a long-sleeved tech shirt that I wore over my short-sleeved one and then removed after about a half of a mile when I warmed up. I ended up wrapping my hands in the shirt, but they were still pretty stiff and cold when I was done. I didn’t realize just how cold they were until I hopped into the shower. The water felt scalding hot on the rest of my body, but the water that hit my hands and face felt cold.
After a six hour journey I was home again, home again, jigeddy jig and onto my trusty treadmill. Eight miles later, my psyche felt better. I’ve been running twelve miles every Sunday to keep my legs used to it (Don’t’ judge - it’s a mental game with me), but last week was rest day and the day before I’d only run that 10K.
So, quick assessment of the Outseason Plan –
Do I think it helped make me faster?
Would I do it again?
Because (yes, I’m starting this sentence with a clause) I know that I have gotten faster and stronger. It also taught me how to appreciate intervals and hard work. Not that I wasn’t a hard worker before, just not a hard worker when it came to biking workouts. Don’t get me wrong; I still do not like the hard work. I have taken to chewing on my shirt when the intervals get hard to keep me from barfing or yelling. I still curse Coach Joe out during some of my tougher workouts for getting me started on this insanity, but I can appreciate the work for what it is and what it yields.
What I liked best?
The no-brainer routine of the weekly workouts – no changes in what to do each day other than the numbers – Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday- run, etc. I like routine – A LOT! I did have to write out my intervals, but my short-term memory is so bad that’s nothing new.
I also learned to really really really appreciate my rest days. Before the OS, I would get so antsy on my rest days. I needed a task, preferably not housework, but even that would suffice. During the OS, I relished acting like “normal” people that get up and put regular clothes on in the morning instead of spandex. Unfortunately, I couldn’t employ the sleeping in tactic of weekend rest days as the teenager needed a little regular prodding get out of bed for school on Mondays and Fridays.
What I liked least?
That now I don’t know what to do with myself. I think that I’ll just repeat the VO2 workouts until my next race to keep my newly developed skills fresh.
Wait! Did I really just type what I think I did? WHOA! I remember being petrified of those workouts. Now those workouts are still challenging but there is comfort in the routine of them. I still haven’t
decided on any races, but I’ll probably do the ones I do every year. I’d really like to do an Olympic distance this year since I have never done one and methinks I just might like that distance. I’m not a good sprinter, despite the multitude of dust collectors on my dresser. Coach Joe and I are looking to see what might fit in my schedule. And, as much as I said last season that I wouldn’t do a half-Ironman this year, I feel so good and strong that I just might consider doing one of those as well. Oh my God! I’d better stop typing lest I get it into my head to maybe try a full IM… NAH!!!!!!
|Even Louie enjoys my rest days|