Thursday’s ride brought things to a new level. Theoretically, physically and mentally. The same tempo intervals, at zone 3 this time. If you are not a QT2 athlete you need to understand that our HR zones are defined differently. We have zR, Z1, Z2 and sometimes Z3. All you need to know is that Zone 3 is hard. Like real hard.
Not only did I have to hold that for 20 minutes I needed to hold it twice for 20 minutes.
I do these types of efforts on the trainer. One; because I ride early. Two, they allow me to fully focus on the effort at hand without worrying I will become a hood ornament. It gives me complete control over what is happening. When this workout comes around again the conditions will be the same.
One of the keys to this is not taking it to the wall in the first 60 seconds. While the effort is hard the mistake of hitting the wall at 1 minute is that you hang on for the next 20. It takes me 3-4 minutes to take it to the wall, and then I hang on for dear life.
What goes through my mind? Not much. I am engaged in the effort 100%. I get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If I wanted comfortable I would have taken up knitting. Yes it’s hard. If I wanted easy I would not have gotten out of bed. If I wanted easy I’d DNF every race. Not only is it my choice to be here, it’s my privilege to be here. No one forced me. This was all me.
Nothing worth having or attaining comes without a price. I don’t call it sacrifice….. sacrifice is donating a kidney. This is commitment to me. That price for me is pushing beyond what I think is my threshold. Pushing beyond what feels good and comfortable, pushing way beyond the place where I feel safe.
How hard can I go? How much can I raise and sustain this HR and these watts. If I take those watts to XXX then I need to prove it by not only keeping them there but beating them on round 2.
I remind myself to embrace it. I can do anything for 20 minutes. In my head the second one doesn’t exist. I will begin to prepare for that one during the recovery. No need to think ahead.
Right here. Right now. This pedal stroke. This beat of my heart. A heart that once stopped. How many people can say that? So keep going Eggers I tell myself. You were pitched back, what did you learn from that??? You learned to embrace every opportunity to be better. You owe it to those who saved you to be this strong.
No one is here to help you. In fact no one gives a rat’s ass at this moment. There is only one thing that will make it feel better and that’s stopping. And no one will care.
But you will. And disappointing me is worse than being last. And I have been last. And I have DNF’d. And I have lost. Trust me; disappointing me is worse than any of that.
I won’t allow it, I go harder. When it hurts I push harder. Treat pain with pain but it’s the good kind of pain. The kind of pain that when it’s over makes you smile at the new depth, new level, new threshold you found for yourself.
There is no medal. There is no tape to break. There is just a training log for me to fill in. A great job or instructions on where to tighten it up from the Wizard. I hit submit and there it goes. Another deposit in the bank. Another bale of hay in the barn.
When it’s over I disengage from the session. I put it in my memory and focus on the task at hand. A little boy to make breakfast for, to send off to school, to welcome back home, to prepare for a spelling test with.
The important stuff.
The spelling isn’t easy, but the writing is harder. Faced with fine motor skill deficiencies is not like a threshold interval. It requires patience; it requires slowing down not plowing through. But it does require perseverance. Belief that we can do it, belief that with enough practice it will come out legibly on the spelling test.
Maybe it isn’t that different.
All I know is that those 2 X 20 minutes at Qt2 HR zone 3 is gone, filed away, absorbing into my body. I totally disengage from them.
We practice the word land over and over and over. Until the letter a sits on the line and the n looks like an n and not an h. With a lot of patience. With a lot of practice. With a lot of focus.
“I got it mom!” He cries when it comes together on the tenth try. I cheer. It wasn’t the tenth one that brought it all together; it was all the attempts that went before it that brought it together.
One pedal stroke at a time. One heartbeat at a time. One letter at a time.
That is how it happens.