This past weekend was the last big weekend of workouts before our two-week taper period leading up to Ironman.
Now, at this point in the game, long workouts are L-O-N-G. Like eat breakfast before you go and don’t get back until dinnertime long. And also at this point in the game, long workouts are hard workouts. Whether they’re hard because they’re long or hard because you’re tired or hard because you know how long and hard they’re going to be is anyone’s guess.
Dig deep and get them done, right?
Saturday was my last chance to get a 19 or 20 mile run in before race day. A couple of weeks back, I got a 17er in and on Monday I was hoping to fit in 20 miles after work but I was running alone and ended up no getting an early enough start at calling it at 16 when it was dark (you know, for safety’s sake).
Saturday was a trainwreck from the start. All I wanted to do was sleep in for once. So we did. Kinda. And then we had a late breakfast and went to the farmer’s market and the tree nursery and it got warmer and warmer as the day went on and I frankly spent the better part of the day dreading the 20 mile death march I knew I was going to have to log.
Finally I was able to drag myself out of the house but it was truly doomed – my mental game was absolute crap. After two miles, I almost called it. After 3, I was sitting on a curb literally trying to pep talk myself into pulling it together. It was pathetic. Mile by mile, I pieced together the most mentally miserable run perhaps of my life. And my times were slow to boot because mentally I couldn’t get out of my own way.I know how much your brain plays into this and yet, I could not get my head in the game to save my life.
So there I was, slogging out the miles. Ever so slowly. Ever so painfully.
Now. (Warning: potential TMI ahead…) I was running in my tri shorts in order to determine whether to run in them on race day or change pre-marathon. I had 16 miles in them earlier in the week and had started to chafe ever so slightly, so I had lubed up extra carefully and brought a reserve for mid-run lubin’. Around mile 9, I made a stop at an outhouse and reapplied, early I thought. Better safe than sorry… only it stung and I knew that was the last straw. Seriously, the straw that broke this camel’s back. I called in the reserves, duked it out for another mile and hubby came to the rescue.
Sunday, we thought we might get one last training ride in – a good 70 or 80 miles or so. But my mental game was STILL not in it. We took a turn onto the bike course and I couldn’t hack it. Twenty-five miles was enough for me that day. Too bad I messed up my hubby’s training day along with my own. (Thankfully he’s the most patient and forgiving person on the planet so he just picked up the miles today while I was at work…).
Apparently after 22 weeks of 9 workouts a week and being tired and hungry and rushed and cranky ALL of the time and just digging deep and getting them done, I was pretty much spent. I have sometimes halfway worried that I have only a limited amount of willpower, only so many times that I can dig deep before my reservoir is empty. And this weekend, I apparently just didn’t want to take the chance that these workouts would be the last ones I could grit my teeth, grin and bear it…lest I attempt Ironman with an empty willpower reservoir.
I had a hard time after each of the failed workouts, trying not to see them as bad omens or epic fails. And it took me some time. I’m not a quitter. Truly. But this weekend sure made me feel like one. Each workout that has not quite gone as planned (and there have been a few over the past 6 months) has an opportunity to be a learning experience. This weekend I learned that I will be changing my bottoms after the bike. But mostly I have learned that it’s good to take a break when you feel like you need one. Body or mind. And not feel guilty about it.
This weekend’s workouts were not exactly what I had planned. But even so, I can’t let doubt get the best of me – I’ve gotten the miles in, I’ve put in the work. Now to enjoy the taper weeks and try not to throw up every time I think about race day and the fact that it is just 13 days away…