Monday, February 18, 2013

Training for hills when their are no hills

I wrote this on Friday about my Thursday Biking session but then I was out of town for the weekend so it's a few days late. oops. 
Alright so I've signed up for this crazy mountain race even though I live in the super flat tropics. In order to hopefully successfully finish this race I have found a bike trainer. Not the stationary machine ... I do have that but this is a man who meets with me and we put my bike on his computrainer and he suporvises my workout.

The first session was a threshold test. This is where /he we determined my threshold including an approximation of my vo2max. I say approximation because I wasn't connected to the oxygen testing mask.

I've done a few sessions and he's very helpful. Yesterday's session kicked my butt. I can honestly say I'm more ready for France today than I was yesterday. Here's what we did approximately:

10 minute warm up
Off the bike - some squats, one leg squats, jumps, and plank
15 minutes at 150 watts and 70 cadence
Off the bike - more jumps and squats
15  minutes 150 watts and 65 cadence
Off the bike - more jumps and squats
15 minutes 160 watts and 55 cadence
Off the bike - more jumps and  squats
15 minutes 70 cadence and I forget the watts

It was really hard. Especially the first 15 minutes.  During that set my heart rate was at 173 for at least 10 minutes. What's important about that number is that my threshold is about 171-172.

What is amazing is that almost immediately my mind went to a very dark place. It's important to note that this has never happened to me in a race. I've never hit the wall,and thought I can't go on. I came close during rev3 but I stopped and ate a gu and went on. But in this session my thoughts were incredibly grim.

My dark thoughts included:
  • "I can't do this and if I can't do this how can I even think about doing this race I'll never make it up the mountain."
  • "Why isn't this clock moving?!?
  • "I need to slow down."
  • "I'm pretty sure I can't breathe."
  • "Why isn't this clock moving?!?"

Then amazingly the coach said, "stay positive, you can do this. Don't let you're thoughts get dark. And he encouraged me and made me stay at that limit through the interval.

Then we did the squat jumping thing and then in the next interval my heart rate was around 170. And the difference was amazing. While I was working my tail off I never had a dark thought.

3 beats a minute. That's the difference between hard but I can go on and I'm a loser who can't do this. That's a good lesson.

When I thought back to it I realized that of course, the trainer had known that I was above my threshold and what that meant mentally even if I didn't. Sneaky. That's how he knew to tell me to stay positive without me even saying anything. But I'm glad he knows what he's doing and that I made it through.

In Chris Mccormack's book, I'm here to win. He talks about being ready for the dark times during an Ironman race. He says you know they are coming so be prepared with what you will tell yourself to make it through. Honestly before yesterday I thought I had a good handle on that but now I realize I just had never been to this  dark spot of a spot before.

Now that I have I can work on my strategy to survive it during the race. As I said I'm more ready today than I was yesterday.

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