Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ladder Up!

Also known as the title of yesterday’s swim workout that kicked my ass, but more than anything “fried” my brain to the point of no return.

The Workout:

100-200-300-400-500-600-700-800-900-1000 at race pace with 10 sec rest after 100, 20 sec after 200 etc.

The red guy is me! You will soon know why!

Not that bad, right? I was super determined to make this happen, and I really wanted to live up to my self made goal of treating every single swim workout like the 6 by 4s or 4 by 10s on the bike. Why you may ask?  Because I do have a unique ability to hurt on the bike more than I can hurt (I really mean have tons and tons of fun) anywhere else. I have no idea why, but that is just how it always has been.

Grossness alert: I can get myself to the point on that bike where I can lose my cookies before giving up in my head, and if I can just translate that into the pool, and have just a tad bit more fun each time, I will be in business. Not the chase mode business, but the catch me if you can business.

But back to the awesome workout that I knew was going to test my both physically and mentally. I purposely waited to swim after work for 2 reasons. One – the water tends to be cooler at night because there is no water aerobics class to follow, and two – the Y swim team usually practices which tends to help my motivation. I mean I still get lapped all the time by kids half my age or younger but something about seeing those guys working just as hard as me instead of seeing aqua joggers and breast strokers enjoying their morning float helps when the going gets tough.  Plus the hazard of getting kicked or punched from the lane line over by an excessively wide breast stroke kick or super wide arm flying back strokers is minimized.
Both of the reasons for an after work swim where a major fail yesterday, which had messed with my head a little bit before I even started, but I was able to quiet to demons down like a champ. The Y team didn’t practice today (I guess their last day of swimming for the summer was the day before), and as a result water was warm because there were too many kinds playing around in the pool.(code for you know what)  Ok – whatever – I had the just get it done attitude.

I am happy to report I made it through the 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 right on race pace which I should add is a little challenging and yes is a pace that I have never been consistently able to hold for a very long time at all. Yesterday – I lasted 2100 yards – 1.2 miles – perfect! Perfect for 1.2 miles, not so perfect when you are not even half way through your swim workout.  (I had to get reminded of this because my head automatically went to the “fail” you are about to read upon)

And then it happened! My head got the best of me and my brain said enough is enough.

The conversation went something like this: “Do you really think you can swim 5500 yards at this pace? You are out of your mind if you think you can. (SHUT UP BRAIN!) You still have a 700, and then an 800, and 900, and then there is the 1000 (SHUT UP BRAIN!!!!!!)  Quick math and I realized I wasn’t even half way done” (SO WHAT BRAIN – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH).  You are HOT, you really can’t do this. What makes you think you can?  (I AM SO DONE WITH YOU BRAIN) … FIIIIIIIINE – I hear you loud and clear and you win – are you happy now?

That so positive “what is another 100 yards thought” quickly disappeared, and as much as I tried to fight those very loud “you are on crack” voices, they had overtaken my brain! I was done! I lost! I was disappointed.  I stood at the wall a tad bit longer than I should have before heading out for the 700 trying to regroup, but I had no fight in me. Physically I was ok. I had done work, but I know I could have done more work. Mentally, I was way over the edge to the point of no return.  I quickly made the decision to JUST swim, float, whatever you want to call it. I didn’t watch the clock, I was just counting down the 100s. I didn’t even try to aim at my race pace. My effort was non- existent. In between trying to not lose count, and those loud voices in my head, I tried to pick it up towards the end of that 700, but it just wasn’t there. My brain was really starting to hurt, and it took all I had left to not get out of the pool and call it quits. The negativity of my brain was overpowering, and after fighting through the 800, I finally threw on fins for the 900 while negotiating with my brain on how to make the last 1000 count!  It was just ugly. I timed the 700, and the 800 on my watch, but I didn’t look at the time. I didn’t care. I set out for the last 1000 yards, swam the 1st 100, floated the next 100, and called it a day!

Hugely disappointed in myself I texted my swim coach:

“You are NOT going to be happy with me! I made it past the 600 on pace and then it got “ugly”. I then spent the rest of the swim NOT even giving myself a chance to swim that race pace”

In my head, I failed! I hate to fail. In retrospect – I did swim 2100 yards faster than I ever have, and my floating pace was my race pace just a few weeks ago, but I continue to be disappointed in my own head. I am not disappointed in the times, I am more disappointed in the fact that I didn’t even give myself a chance starting with the 700. If I blew up half way through the 700 I would be ok with that – I had reached my limit, but I didn’t do that. I just stalled – completely stalled and gave in. Hate is a strong word, but I hate that. The thought of having to swim another 3,400 yards at that pace just completely overtook me and I couldn’t quiet down my head.

I wanted to just get out and go ride my bike. Just turn myself into a cyclist because maybe just maybe if I rode my bike more than 3x a week, I could ride stronger/ faster and then who cares if I swim 30 min or 40 min – I could just let mega legs do the work. I had few other thoughts which I will spare you but you get the point.  I was mentally done before I could physically reach my limit, and that’s a big no no in my head.
So now I am trying really hard to focus on the positive – that 2100 yards at a pace that will get me to where I really want to be for the 1.2 miles come Timberman in 2.5 weeks, and forget about the rest of the workout because tomorrow is another day and I have some business to take care in the pool again and yesterday’s attitude will not help me …. but I am curious …

How do you deal with your head? How do you fight the mental daemons that just want you to stop! How do you “forget and learn" from the tough days/the ‘failures’ and focus on the positive next time you get out there? 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, girl hod DO I GET YOU!!! Saturday morning, my "A" 10 km race of the autumn just month before my A fall marathon (Berlin) ... And I know I need to push myself hard in the zone of loosing cookies - you know :) It's weird how getting faster actually makes it tougher to go beyond that comfort zone ... hmmm, we shall see in few hours :) Keep it up, you ROCK girl!!!