Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's up to me

Oh wow.
Where do I begin?

This week, I am adding in Muscular Endurance swims. My swim today consisted of a lot of t-pace work. (Pace per 100m).

A lot of t-pace. Did I already say that?

Last week, I had a time trial and got my new t-pace. The first round 6 x 100 is at t-pace. The second set of 6 x 100 is at t-pace minus 2 secs. The third set is 6 x 100 at t-pace minus 3 seconds.

Inbetween the sets is 125m of basically drill work, which acts as a nice breather.

I have avoided pace work until this time. But I know that I have to do it if I want that Half Iron Pr. And, I want that PR….badly. My experiences with pace work, in the past, were not good. I would push too hard and be unable to complete the workout or I’d just become frustrated for whatever the reason.

The night before I was picking out my routine, and I noticed a little asterik next to the ME swim workout: Only do this workout when completely rested.

Oh great. Just great.

I’m going to do this workout. I’m not going to collapse. I’m going to hit my paces. I’m going to do it.

For my first 100, I felt like I was gliding. I was pushing it. My effort level felt like….it felt like my t-pace. That made me a little concerned given that I have 17 more of these to do. If This is feeling like an hard effort, maybe I wasn’t rested? At the end of my first 100, I was 20 seconds faster than my t-pace. 20 seconds. That’s insane.

It’s also too fast. It was the fastest that I have EVER gone in training. I just tested last week! How is this possible?

I knew I had to slowdown. The rest of the intervals went really well. I hit my times. Some intervals were a little bit faster than where I was supposed to be, but since it didn’t cause me to slow down later, I think my test last week must have had problems. Maybe I miscounted? Maybe I noted the times incorrectly?

At only one point in the entire workout did I start to lose focus. That was on interval #5 (early on, even). I regained it quickly by saying to myself, “You push until you hit that wall. You will give it everything you have.”

Instead of giving up, I got stronger. It felt really good.

Later in the day, I had a 3 mile easy run. It was a little bit windy but at 75 degrees, who really cares? It was incredibly sunny. For the entire run, I was thinking about my swim and how proud of myself I am.

No one can ever say that training for a half iron or ironman race is easy. Ironman training (for me) was challenging in managing time and doing the distances required, especially during peak weeks. It was so time consuming. My weekends were completely taken by training for a long long time.

But the workouts weren’t as physically demanding as those for the half iron. The half-iron, where I’m trying to push through “pacing” and handle a higher level of discomfort for a longer period of time….this is a huge challenge for me.

I’m making progress. Doing 18 intervals at t-pace and faster was as good as or even better than getting my PR 2 weeks ago. No one was there cheering me on. No one even knew what happened. It was just me and the pool. I tried to tell Mike, but I couldn’t convey how I felt and what I accomplished. He’ll get to see it on race day.

No one is doing these workouts for me. I have my plan. It’s no longer intimidating to me. It’s up to me to push myself. It’s up to me to find that deep motivation, when I’m tired, and my muscles are burning, it’s up to me to not just survive but to push myself to go beyond my comfort zones.

Hopefully, all that work will become a PR on September 12th.