Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tricky, Tricky

Last night I had a speed session on the schedule that almost didn't happen . . . in more ways than one. You see, this week has been busy, busy, busy at work. Throughout the work-day yesterday, I debated back and forth about whether I really had time to squeeze the session in or not. Ultimately, though, I decided I was getting that speed session in . . . even if it meant having to stay at work until 3 a.m. (which it practically did).

Around 9 p.m., I finally got to a good stopping point in the project I was working on and headed over to the gym. I quickly changed and then took a look at my trusty schedule as I approached the 'mill . . . 10-minute warm-up + 1600m + 1600m + 800m + 800m + 10-minute cool-down (with 400m rest intervals). I took the first 1600 at an 8:00/mile pace. I finished it (barely) and suddenly became very cognizant of the fact that I was BEYOND exhausted. I slowed to a walk and silently wondered how the hell I was going to get through the rest of the workout without dying. A huge mental battle ensued.

As the 400m rest interval sped by, I tried bargaining with myself. These bargains, of course, all involved cutting the workout short, considering I'd definitively made up my mind that it would be "impossible" to finish. 400m of rest turned into 800m before I knew it--oops!--and at that point, I knew I had a decision to make. I could call it quits and get back to work, or I could crank the speed up on the 'mill and attempt another interval of some sort. I ultimately decided that if I did one more 1600 at a slightly more relaxed 8:13 pace, I could be done for the day. I pushed myself through that 1600 and smiled triumphantly. I was done!

But can you believe it? I soon found out that my tricky ass had actually fooled me! It was going to make me do one of the 800m intervals before I could quit. Luckily, I was promised that that would be it. The 400m rest interval came and went, and it was time to tackle that first (and last, I assumed) 800m. I finished it in 3:57 and was again happy to be DONE! But was I? Nope. My super mean inner coach was all like, "Um, that was pretty easy, no? After this 400m of rest, you are doing another one . . . only this time, you're going to finish it in 3:54." How could I argue with that? As the rest period drew to a close, my attitude about that last 800m suddenly changed . . . I was--gasp!--actually excited about it! That's when I knew I had finally lost my mind. But nonetheless, I pumped that treadmill up to 7.7 and kicked that 800's bootay. 'Cuz that? That is how I roll!

Before I knew it, the 800m interval had ended and it was time to cool down. I dropped my pace back down and thought for a moment about how impossible finishing the workout had seemed not so very long ago . . . and how I ended up finishing it feeling really strong. Interesting. So perhaps all these times I've been telling myself "I can't", I really could have, eh? It was a very big moment for me, I think. I am SO glad I finished that workout. Here's to a small but significant increase in mental toughness! Go me :)


Jonny said...

We were doing intervals at the track a month or two ago, and it was a particularly hard session. Everyone was complaining that we had to do one last 800 at mile pace, and coach says, "Don't think about it just Do It. Everyone on the line ..." It's amazing how far you can push yourself if you get rid of negative thoughts. Do it.

The Laminator said...

That is how Irish rolls...

Yay! Congrats on pushing out all that negative talk and getting your speedwork in! So awesome. Congrats!

lindsay said...

great workout! way to push yourself through the tough repeats. huge victory in mental toughness, and speedwork!

Frayed Laces said...

THAT is awesome! Way to rock it!

SueBob said...

Wow, way to push yourself. Sounds like you turned a tough workout into a really satisfying one.