Friday, August 12, 2011
The Workout: Day Eighteen
My lower back is throbbing like it's just had a beatin', my legs, knees, shoulders and ribs are achin' like the dickens...
But I did it!
I made it the full hour at 3.7mph on a 16% incline.
And yet the hardest part out of today's workout -- I mean besides my body acting like it was 3 steps from a meltdown -- was the mental game.
I went into this challenge knowing, knowing that I was finally ready for this thing. I was going to go the distance. And yet the first thing that popped into my mind once that track started moving was a moment of doubt. A simple, innocuous thought on the surface, but one that surely would've derailed me just the same:
"I think my insole is rubbing on my foot, better stop and adjust it"
And I'd have stopped, taken my shoe off, maybe my sock. Rearranged it all, made sure it was nice and snug. Probably would've gone for a drink of water.
No. Push on.
Going into it I knew there were going to be two major hurdles. One was the 33 minute mark, which was the longest I'd managed to make it recently. Two was the 45 minute mark, which was the longest I'd managed to travel at that speed in one go.
It's funny how my own mind'll get sneaky on me, especially when I'm coming up against something that worries me or concerns me. That's when the excuses come out in force, for sure. And sure enough, as I rounded the 30 minute mark, I could already hear them sneaking their way in. Telling me that I didn't need to go further, that even 40 minutes was a damned good job. Telling me that I'd quit all those other times, what harm is one more. Why should I push myself? I'm going to get there eventually, what's the rush?
The odd thing is that it's not like they're really 'voices' or anything so much as notions. Just odd little fragments of thoughts that pop into my head. The thing that's most messed up about them is that, by and large, they make sense. They're rational.
It's not like 'you should go and lick that light socket', more like 'close enough kid, way to go, now let's pack it in'.
On my earlier attempts, I'm not sure why my body wasn't up to the task, why my back felt like it was seizing up or why my legs would start to buckle. But it's certainly at times like those where notions like 'hey, why don't you just drop the speed .1 or .2' make a whole hell of a lot of sense.
And sometimes they win out.
But each day I go back, push myself to go farther, to do it better. Prepare myself.
The 45 minute mark today was the hardest, because by then I really was tired. My back had started to ache around the 40 minute mark, my legs around the 37. My heart rate shot up, my breathing felt like it wasn't making it all the way into my lungs. My hair was matted and sopping wet, my shoulders tired from keeping me steady on the treadmill.
And, like clockwork, there it was: "Just... take it down a notch. 3.6 is still damned good. Push it back a day. Who cares, right?"
In my head I counted with facts. Just the facts. 45 minutes. 2/3rds done. 15 minutes -- 14:59 -- left to go. I watched the clock, trying to let it all wash over me, to ignore the internal klaxons that had started to go mad as the time ticked down.
At the 6 minute mark, I coughed and somehow managed to suck all the air out of my lungs at the same time. Not only that but my cough had managed to loosen some phlegm that was lining my throat. So now I'm barely holding onto the bloody track bars, trying to breath with a long, thick, nasty rope of phlegm rolling around in my mouth as my lungs burn in my chest.
Everything inside me is saying 'great job, let's go' and 'slow it down, take care of this nasty shit in your mouth' but I see that I'm at the 3:30 mark, that I'm so freaking close. So I close my mouth, start trying to breathe through my nose. Watching the clock, watching it tick down to 2:50. At 2:45 I realize that breathing through the nose isn't doing the job though at this point. I'm too far gone.
I've gotta breath through my mouth.
I can't spit this stupid thing out -- this stupid thing that, now, since I've had my (incredibly dry) mouth shut, seems welded to my tongue. I'm still plodding away now, fighting to get air into my lungs through my nose -- wanting desperately to hold it in for the next one minute and thirty-five seconds.
But my lungs would have none of it. So, with my mouth wide, I suck in a desperate lungful of air -- the this long tendril of phlegm doesn't move. I can feel the wind rushing over it like some newfound appendage and it doesn't budge.
Until I follow that breath with an instinctive swallow.
Those last 30 seconds, watching them count down as I feel this thing make contact with the roof of my mouth, as I feel it stretch, as if pulled like the worst flavour of taffy ever -- I'm still feeling nauseous as I write this.
Holy crap, that was insane.
As the last few seconds count down, as the cool down session begins and the incline resets to zero, I take a mighty gulp of air, flexing my tongue... and solve that particular problem once and for all.
Able to breathe now, noticing that I've managed to walk off 1316 calories, I suddenly feel the need to increase that number as much as I can. So, ignoring the fact that my back is killing me, that my legs are ready to mutiny, I increase the speed to 4 then 5mph.
I practically run for my 2 minute cool down session.
Yes, I'm feeling like I've taken one hell of a lickin' today. Like I'm gonna pay for this thing tomorrow.
But, all said and done... I feel good. I feel damn good.
I slayed a monster today.
And that monster was me.