I wasn't going to write about this because it seems like a small issue. Then I thought, maybe it was one of those things that every person has to deal with at some time.
Saturday, my confidence was completely shaken.
My races this year have very difficult bike courses. I did this intentionally. The olympic course of Nationals has one climb that we hit twice. Now, this hill isn't substantial for someone who lives and trains on hills.
But, I have a bigger goal on my radar.
In order to reach that goal, I chose a race schedule that is filled with hills.
In order to race well, we have been doing all new types of bike training.
I saw Saturday's workout. I set it up in Zwift. I looked it over and thought, "a 1 hour and 15 min workout. Ok. I can do that".
A short workout means there will be some serious intensity. I had 4 intervals to get through. This is my bread and butter. This is the stuff I love. I don't cringe when I see these workouts. I look forward to them.
When I was 2 minutes into the first interval, I started thinking, "I'm not going to make it through this workout".
During the recovery, I thought, "WHAT IS THIS WORKOUT"?
WHY is it so hard?
The second interval hit. I check my power. I check my HR. Everything is where it needs to be, but I feel like I'm going to pass out.
There has to be something wrong with me. I can't keep going like this. I need to drop power.
Just keeping pushing. Keep pedaling.
For the last 2 intervals, I used every single mental strategy I had to get through. I was counting down intervals. I was saying, "You can do anything for 7 minutes...anything for 6 minutes. Only 5 minutes left. Chase down that guy".
I was repeating, "You've got this".
On the last interval, my legs were burning like they never burned before. With every rotation, the voice in the back of my head was there saying, "This shouldn't hurt so bad. There's something wrong with you".
At the end of the last one, I collapsed on my aerobars, unable to even spin the pedals. My legs were shaking. My arms were shaking, and I had sweat running off my face like a river.
As I recovered and started my cooldown, I started analyzing the ride. Why was it so hard? What am I going to tell Liz? "I did it, but I didn't do it well".
I stared at the treadmill. For the first time I can remember, Liz gave me an out, "OPTIONAL OFF THE BIKE RUN".
I sat there and debated skipping it.
For no reason, except that I was so tired, so very tired. I couldn't even think of attempting to run.
I sat on the edge of the treadmill.
I remembered something. Back in 2008, I was training for Ironman CDA. There was a day that I wanted to give up. I was on the trainer for hours upon hours. JMan came down to check on me. I told him that I was thinking of quitting.
He replied, "So. Are you just going to quit? Are you going to do that in your race, too? Just get off the bike and walk back"?
That day, I kept going.
I sat on the edge of the treadmill and started getting my shoes on. I started running.
I thought of something that Liz said to me years before, "Your legs won't feel like they are there, but they are. You have to trust your body".
Step by step, I kept going. My legs never felt good; in fact, they felt about as bad as they could feel. I never felt "energized", but my pace and heart rate were right where they needed to be.
I could only think of one thing, "If you don't fight for this now, you are giving yourself permission to quit down the road".
I finished the run. I laid on the couch and thought about the workout. No sense of satisfaction. No feeling like a bad ass fighter. No sense of a job well done; just the feeling of being thankful that I was done.
A few hours later, and after I ate and recovered, I typed up my notes to Liz, telling her everything that went through my head.
The very first thing she said was, "tea, this is an extremely difficult workout". She explained how it was going to help at my races.
There was a lot going on in my head on Saturday. I pulled from every single mental strategy I had to get through the workout.
But this is what I want YOU to know, when you think you are at wit's end; when you think you have absolutely nothing left to give........You ALWAYS have more to give.
Training won't always be pretty. Some days, it will be downright ugly, but ugly counts.