I’m fascinated really. I went out for a run today, a short one. After a very stressfull couple weeks where my training seemed to be my last priority. Where I was on the tails of a botched taper for GodZone, a race that I didn’t end up going to because of some terrible life circumstances. I hadn’t run in any serious capacity for at least two weeks, and before that only a handful of short efforts over the last month or so. I’d been staying active–three minutes of CTL (continuous training load) strength work once a week, an intermediate hang-workout at the same frequency, and some swimming once in a while. A solid bike effort in the lead up to GodZone (happening now! Check it out!) with superstar Cheley Magness two weeks ago or so. A long slow burn day in the hills stoat trapping. But hardly a proper training schedule.
And I was pretty bummed. Bummed about the circumstances. Bummed about GodZone. Bummed that I was struggling with letting go of GodZone in the midst of the circumstances. Things were challenging. But I was trying to find some normalcy in it, to grab back a bit of control over things that just seemed to be spinning every which way. And one way I do that is with training.
So anyway, I’d put together a ‘start again’ schedule last night. Today was a run. A short one. My first in two weeks like I said. I waited until the last minute, procrastinating till the end, because well, HIIT is hard. And besides, I’m really good at procrastinating. But then it was time, no more delays. The curry was simmering in the pot–dinner time t-minus 30 minutes. Now or never.
And so I went. Outside and down the driveway. The Pylon run, just under 2 K out n back–down then up to the pylon, then back down and up again to the finish line at my cottage. Either up or down–all steep enough to hurt but not so steep to give you an excuse not to work your ass off. Brutal stuff for a time trial, and as my friend and fellow Kiwi transplant (you’re welcome!) Caleb K. says–it’s the gold standard as far as Te Anau time trials are concern. Adrian Braaksma has gone 10:45. UltraMental Apprentice Vaughn Filmer has gone 10:50 something. I’ve never, even when I was hitting it regularly during regular training cycles, gone sub 11. My PR sat somewhere around 11:04.
Until today. I told myself I’d be happy with a sub 11:30. Just a good effort, as long as I pushed hard enough to feel some pain by the end. Just needed to help with my funk a bit. I didn’t expect much–couldn’t expect much with the month I’d had. Yet somehow when I crossed the finish line–the imaginary threshold between the corner post of the paddock fence and the corner of the cottage–and looked at my watch it read…10:57.
Yeah, it hurt. The crisp evening air burned my lungs coming up the final hill. They still burned during deep breaths half an hour later. I had the tinny taste in the back of my throat. I’d wanted to hurt a bit. But I never expected to be faster. I just can’t figure it out honestly, but i’m not going to try too much, because, just like that, one good workout, and I feel a bit more in control. Sure it doesn’t really mean anything (other than that I’ve got a new benchmark… ouch), but I certainly love the way that one good session can seem to turn things around. And somehow, i always seem to be able to have one when i need it. Maybe it’s a self fullfilling prophecy because after all i’d already lifted the expectations–I’d have been stoked with a 11:15. So I couldn’t really fail. And although i felt a bit out of shape, maybe that’s just my mind. Maybe i’d been doing just enough to keep reved up but nothing extra that, when combined with all my other stress, would have led to decreased performance. Maybe, at least considering my circumstances, less really was more.
I’m on a high right now which feels nice because it’s been a while. It won’t last forever, but rest assured, it’ll come again, probably just when I need it, with or without another PR.