February was a tough month for me.
All of the stress came to a head yesterday. You know when you go through a stressful time and then it lets up but you have that period of time where your body let's it all go? The exhaustion of it all just hits you because you don't have to hold it all in anymore.
I don't know if that makes any sense, but it's how I feel. That's how I felt Friday and today.
Friday's swim was tough. I had strength training later in the day. Today, I had to get up at 5am in order to get my bike done and then have time to get to masters.
I woke up this morning. It was dark. It felt really really early, and I thought, "I hope I get to sleep for a couple of more hours."
I looked at the clock. It was 4:57. In three minutes the alarm would be going off. I got out of bed.
The night before, I packed up everything I would need for my ride. All my bottles were ready to go. My garmin was sitting, ready to go. EVERYTHING was ready to go....except me.
I struggled through the ride. My legs were tired from the last three days of workouts. I was tired from having to be up at 5. I had a good breakfast. I was fueling correctly. The intervals were still hard. I think I did the first hour mostly asleep. The 2nd hour, I started to wake up a bit, but my body was not at all happy about doing that workout. The intervals that should not have felt so hard....they felt STUPID hard.
The ride was a straight up grind. 5 minute intervals at 95%, with 1 minute rest between intervals. I put my head down and just pedal. 5 minutes felt like 30 minutes. 1 minute felt like a 15 second rest.
All in all, the two hours went by very quickly. Liz sets up workouts that keep me engaged and not thinking about the total time. Instead, I usually have to be 100% in the moment of the current interval.
When I lose focus even for a second, my cadence drops; my power drops, and when I'm tired, that's not easy to make up. It's much easier to just focus on the task at hand.
I finished the ride and knew that I had 30 minutes that I could eat more and get ready to swim.
I keep my swim bag packed and in my car at all times. I grabbed a recovery drink and some water and laid on the couch for a minute.
I love Saturday morning masters. The session in general tends to be longer. The people are awesome.
BUT. I'm tired. How did I ever get to the pool before I started doing masters? How did I do it? Oh. I know. I skipped workouts or I cut them short.
I grabbed my two bottles of water and infinit and head out the door.
I got to the pool 15 minutes early. Under normal circumstances, I'll jump in and start warming up. Today, I sat on the edge of the pool and waited for Coach.
Then, I heard, "Tea! Tea!"
I looked up and smiled, it was Michael. If I ever needed to see him, today was the day. Masters always flows better when you get to swim with your regular people.
The set was brutal. 4000-4400 yards of 10 x 100's and 16 x 50's done FAST and at sprint pace alternating stroke and free.
Before we started, I noticed a guy (not a masters swimmer) show up in the lane next to me. I noticed him because everything he owned had an M-dot on it. When I see triathletes, I want to see how fast they are. I watch their form. They're my people. I get my assed kicked by swimmers.
But a triathlete? My odds are good.
We started the set.
When I was on my 4th 50, Coach stop me and asked me what my slowest and fastest 50's were. I knew I was about to get busted. I told him my slowest.
He gave me the look.
You know THE LOOK.
And he said, "Every interval within 2 seconds Tea. Do it. I know you can do 31 seconds. Put it together, Tea!"
I could have said, "I just did a 2 hour bike. Cut me some slack."
Or I could have said, "You know. I've already done 10 hours of training for the week."
Or I could have said, "I'm really not feeling this today."
But I didn't. He said, "GO", and I took off. My arms and back were burning. A thought came to me.
I DON'T STOP WHEN I'M TIRED.
I STOP WHEN I'M DONE.
Then I saw Mr. M-Dot. He was doing 50's too. I could catch him. He hit the wall. I hit the wall. When I flipped, I knew I had him.
With all due respect, M-Dot, there is NO FUCKING WAY YOU ARE BEATING ME.
I *did* beat him.
And Coach gave me a high five. Walking away, he said, "32 seconds. PERFECT. Now 9 more just like that."
I suffered through the rest of the set, just like everyone else at masters.
A few more kick sets and then a longer pull, and we were done.
We were all holding onto the wall completely spent, smiling, spent, laughing and shaking our heads at the insanity of the workout.
Two hour bike, 4000 yards later. I was done.
I packed up my stuff. I was exhausted and still smiling. These are my people.