Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Good training weeks pop up at the oddest times

The last week and a half I have not felt super fabulous. I'll spare the details because it would just sound whiny anyway, but suffice it to say I'm just off, for whatever reason. It happens.

But unless I am dreadfully sick, gross, or contagious, I do tend to stick to workouts. I believe you can sweat out a lot of bugs, and most of the time I do feel better after a workout. Plus I take a pretty big hit to my mental/emotional well-being if I go too long (i.e. a day) without.

It's a good thing, because I have had a few of my best ever workouts this very week!

The first one was on Monday, when we hit bench. I've had a mental hangup about the idea of benching 135 lbs. It's a bar and one of the BIG 45 lb plates on each side. It's where the guys start, so it's in guy-benching territory, even if barely! We've been working on bench, steadily and consistently every week. I focus on doing the reps Jake wants without looking at what he has loaded to try to take the mental part out of it. On Monday, I hit a strong 2 at 130 I discovered after the fact, so rather than go for my "hang-up" weight of 135, we jumped to 140. I told myself to stick to my groove, just get a tad tighter, and to power through without giving myself a chance to think about how it felt. I just stuck to what works and wouldn't you know it that 140 lifted up with no hesitation!

The second good workout was today, when I had an interval workout on the track: 10x200m. I was wearing my new Saucony Kinvaras, a lightweight minimalist running shoe, for the first time. And I l-o-v-e them!

After a conservative buildup I was set loose on the last two intervals to give a near-max effort. I ran the final one in 36 seconds, or the equivalent of a 4:33 mile pace. It was the fastest I had ever run. EVER. Over 13 mph under my own power. It was totally exhilarating!!

As I was running, I recall thinking that I would like to go faster but I was at a loss for how. It was such an out-of-body experience, with my brain feeling disconnected somehow from the body. My legs were turning over as fast as they could, arms too. Next time I'll think about opening up my stride some. This gave me some perspective on the challenge of running a sub-4 minute mile....faster than I went and 8 times further! Unreal.

That glimpse of speed left me hungry for more. And just last weekend Joan Benoit-Samuelson set a Chicago Marathon age group record for running in 2:46 at age 53. So one never knows!