Wednesday. Ooph. Well I knew Tuesdays were going to be hard and I guess that’s just how it is going to be. I’ll just bite my lip and get through them. 8 more months of them. EIGHT MORE MONTHS OF THEM!!
I started last night’s workout already muscularly tired from the weekend and since my Pilate’s session on Monday was tougher than usual I was a little more tired than usual. Nothing hurting, just feeling like dragging a ton of bricks around with me.
I told the coach that I wanted to start early so I wouldn’t miss core practice at the end and he said okay. So I got to the workout start at 6:40 and warmed up to the “start” line of a one mile at 1/2 marathon pace. That mile was pathetic — an 11:52 — I was trying too! But that is my 1/2 marathon pace — better even. The coach had told me to really concentrate on lifting my knees even more than effort so that’s what I was doing. Every single freakin step around that park last night I kept saying “lift, lift, lift.” It was so freakin exhausting.
After the first mile at 1/2 marathon pace (start at marked mile by Tavern on the green and end at mile marker at 72nd street) we were to recovery jog up to the great lawn circle. Believe it or not, I had never run around the great lawn circle. I’ve been working out in the Park for almost 3 1/2 years and I never ran around that circle.
At the circle we were to do Fartleks. Basically intervals. We were to split the oval into 4 parts and run hard/recover/hard/recover. I kept concentrating on lifting, lifting, lifting my knees. I don’t seem to go anywhere but I kept doing it anyway. On the hard part I ran as hard as I could and on the recover I recovered as much as possible. It wasn’t that far of a distance and we only had to run around the Oval twice doing the intervals but it was hard nonetheless.
The NY Flyers were out on the oval doing speed work too. I ran smack into my friend Giddy (Holla Giddy!) as she went speeding right by me. I was going to try to catch her on my hard run part but she was running too fast. We did exchange quick hellos but let’s face it — if you are in Central Park at night running around the great lawn you are not there to socialize, you are there to work out. Besides I’ll see her Friday and we can comiserate then.
Sooo many people running in the park last night. The New York Road Runners running classes started so they were everywhere. I also ran into a big Team in Training group. It was almost as crowded at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday night as it is on a Saturday!
After running twice around the oval I was to continue north and recovery jog to 102nd street transverse (more crowds of runners). Lift, lift, lift I kept going. On the downhills I actually started to feel like I was running but on the flats I just felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. On the uphills I felt like I was going backwards. I wanted to chuck it and just go back to my regular way of running but then I realized that even if I go faster with my regular straighter leg trog ultimately I will go faster if I can master this technique. It is the ultimately I have to focus on right now not the short term. So I kept going. Lift, lift, lift.
We then had to do a 10k pace for 1 mile from 102nd street to the top of the bowl on the westside. (Anyone else getting tired besides me?!?!) So I pick up the pace again and for a couple of seconds in there, I can’t be sure, but I think I might actually have been running correctly. Then I hit another hill and just struggled to keep the legs lifting, lifting, lifting. My hamstrings and quads were sniffling. I told them to hang in there, it would be over soon.
Finally I got to recover to the Delacorte theatre (still lifting, lifting, lifting my knees but just at a slow pace). After the Delacorte theatre we were to do 3 lampposts hard, 2 recover. They said to just do it twice but I did it until Daniel Webster statue since I was going there anyway. WHEW! Almost done. Now I just waiting to see how long I had to wait for the rest of the team to catch up to me. It took about 5 minutes. So I calculate that I need a 15 minute lead on the group every week. (The coach says no, just on long distance runs but on regular interval training nights, no advance lead — phttt). The coach ran the last half mile with me and I MADE him tell me my knees were higher, lol. He said “well compared to three weeks ago, definitely higher.” LOL that just means I am am still not lifting them high enough!
So then the HARD part of the workout started. I know!! That’s what I thought!! Hey time to go home, did about 6.5 miles hard work, I put in 110% effort, let’s go home, pat ourselves on the back and put our feet up. Oh no, oh no, oh no. Now we had to run down around the lower loop and end up at the sand pit at the volleyball courts. Sand pit? I didn’t know there was a sand pit in Central Park. Well there is and just fodder for some crazy training drills.
It was so hard. I was pooped before practice started and I worked so hard on the run around the park. I was so delirious I can’t even tell you the bazillion things we had to do. Running back and forth doing drills in the sand. Frontways, sideways, backwards, eyes open, eyes closed, skipping, hopping, jumping, Snake drill (can I just say Shoot ME?!?!) It was so hard I wanted to cry or laugh. Finally after the second loop of the snake drill I had to duck out. My heart was beating so hard and I couldn’t catch my breath. They kept going until everyone was falling over themselves.
The snake drill has one person go out and start a line. The next person runs around him and stands past him in line. The next person runs around both of those people and goes to the end of the line. The next person runs around the 4 people etc. When the line has been created the person who started the line runs around everyone else snaking across the sand pit. The line just keeps going and you have to run really, really fast while weaving around each person (like a ski slalom). You can’t lag because someone is right on your ass and the sand is deep and it really, really, hurts.
Then (oh yeah, practice is still not over yet) we line up on the bench and we do sit ups. (I now look forward to situps — something I can actually do!) We were actually doing Pilates rollups and rolldowns which I think are better for you. We did those for awhile until the coach came up with more torture and he came up with a doozy!
He had us split into partners. One person gets into push up position on the bench and starts doing pushups while the partner grabs their legs and lifts their legs into the air so you are doing like a suspended pushup. The partner holding the legs is also doing squats while you are doing your suspended pushup. Scott was my partner and after I did 3 pushups with him holding my legs in the air (remember playing wheelbarrow as a kid?) I yelled “let me down” it was so scary. You don’t have control of your feet so it is just the strength of your arms holding you up there. I hate not having control of my feet. I saw visions of my face smashing into the bench so I said I would just do regular pushups on my turn. (How funny is that that I was grateful to just do “regular” pushups!?!) Then I had to hold Scott’s legs and do squats while holding his legs as he did pushups on the bench. That wasn’t easy either!!
There were some other things that we did but to be honest I was just in a daze. Scott is such a sweetie and we high fived even though I was the only one who wouldn’t do pushups suspended in air. I try to be a good sport but there are just some things I have to say “c’mon, that can’t be required.”
THEN (oh yeah, practice is not over yet) we go over to the lawn to do some more core work. I was just so happy to have my butt and feet on the ground I didn’t care that we had more work to do. We did some leg lifts, then we did some rope pull situps and then we did bicycles until failure. I don’t remember what else we did but when he finally told us to go into Child’s Pose I kept praying, “please God, let this be it, let this be it. ” This is what they mean by “hard core.”
Finally we got to get up and go home. I think it was 9 p.m. I had left my house at 6 p.m. and had started running at 6:40. 2 hours and 20 minutes later and I was pooped. Running loops around the Great Lawn Oval was a distant memory already. Hmmm, how am I going to feel after 16:59:45 hours of swimming, biking and running?
So that was my Tuesday night. And they are going to get harder and harder. I was walking home with my friend Eric (another super supportive and nice person and biking buddy from Saturday). He was telling me about his season last year training for the Ironman and said he thought his hardest workout had been when they made him swim for an hour out in the ocean at Coney Island and then run the 18 miles back into the city. I swallowed hard. Why does that sound harder than doing an Ironman?
When you call it the Ironman it’s easy to forget that it is 2.4 miles of swimming 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running. You just call it “the Ironman” and repress the details. When you say swim an hour in the ocean at Coney Island (read jellyfish) then run from Coney Island the the West Village — that just sounds hard!!! Of course I know the Ironman will be MUCH harder than that, it’s just a funny perspective thing. (I think I will start calling it the 140.6 going forward to remind myself of the distance — or even better force myself to say “I’m doing the 2.4, 112, 26.2 race.”)
After I left Eric, I walked the last ten blocks repeating over and over again. “You can do this, you can do anything you set your mind to. You can run 18 miles, you’ve done it before. You can do this.” Then I stopped for one second, looked into my reflection of the Health Food Store window and allowed myself to whimper “I don’t think I can do this.” But it passed and I stopped and grabbed a small Greek Salad to bring home because I was foodless. I mean afterall, practice was hard but I DID do it — I finished and that’s what counts. It’s not like I had to quit or anything — it was just hard. I have months to go before I have to run from Coney Island to the West Village. Months to go and many situps to do. We’ll put off self-doubt until next month when we might really need it.
So that was my Tuesday night at practice. I’m pooped. But today is 1/2 hour of strength training — 1/2 hour of squats, step downs, multi-hip machine, lat pulldowns and low rows. Then we do 2,000 meters in the pool of kicking and drills. The fun never ends. (Actually I am looking forward to getting into the pool and doing a couple of laps to stretch everything back out.)
If I really can do all of this kind of training for 8 months and not die, I think I really can do the Ironman because there is no way I won’t be in strong enough or in good enough shape to do it. The hard part will be living through the next 8 months or 32 Tuesdays or 235 days. Whatever way you look at it is hard core.
I know I’ve used this quote before but it is a good one and appropo — Missy I am thinking of you in Law School for this quote too:
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”
I wanted to mention the coolest new feature they have at Fresh Direct. I went online to order groceries. I found that they have a new recipes section where you can look up a variety of recipes for everything from Healthy and Vegetarian to entertaining a crowd. When you find a recipe you like you click one button and all the ingredients pop up for you to add to your cart. If you want them all you click one button, or just unclick the items you don’t need and presto — all your shopping is done for those ingredients. FANTASTIC. So I picked three recipes and all the ingredients. I’m really psyched about this. Learning some new low fat, vegetarian recipes and the hard work is done for you — picking out the items and shopping. AND, they email you the recipe on the day of delivery so you have it to print out. How cool?!?! (I’ll post the recipes if I like them).