First off, I will apologize to anyone who now has a "Top Gun" volleyball scene flashback/earworm. Those of you who have no idea what I mean are obviously not old enough to be masters skaters.
Anyway, last night's workout was fun. It was a Hellishly long interval workout--2x (5x3 laps) at 70% effort, with 600 meters rest between the 3-lappers. Yes, 30 laps--12k--of intervals. Fortunately only at 70%, though--most interval workouts are 80 or 90%--so it seemed doable. And the weather was perfect: 25 degrees and no wind. The "no wind" part is a rare and beautiful thing here on Frozen Tundra Oval.
So I thought it would probably go OK. The only thing that I thought might be a fly in the ointment was my Experiment. In my coursework to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, I did quite a bit of studying of Single Subject Research Design. So, drawing on my knowledge of ABAB designs (baseline/treatment/reversal to baseline/reapply treatment), I figured that the last day of school before break might be a good time to reverse my "severe caffeine reduction to gauge effect of caffeine on PVC's" treatment to a nice baseline level.
In other words, I had a 20 ounce Diet Dew before skating.
So I thought that there might be some PVC action tonight. Since I started the caffeine reduction they've been remarkably infrequent (although not totally absent), but in the interest of being a good researcher I figured I should reverse to that happy, fully-caffeinated baseline state for a bit to be sure that the PVC reduction was not merely a coincidence.
My first set of 3 laps went well. I figured 43-44 second laps would be an appropriate pace, but my first set were 41's and 42's but still felt like 70%. I approved. Then, as I coasted my all-too-short 600 meter rest, I spotted fellow masters skater Aussie Boy skating vaguely about, apparently without a workout plan.
"Hey Aussie Boy," I yelled, "wanna join me for some laps?"
After ascertaining that by "some laps" I meant "sets of 3 laps" and not "sets of 12 laps"--Aussie Boy is not a fan of endurance skating--he agreed to join me. And since he knows of my anal-retentive obsessive-compulsive control-freak need to know my un-draft-assisted lap times he agreed (even though he's faster than I am) to skate behind me.
The next 4 sets of 3 laps went great--40-42 second laps. Well, except for the last lap of the last set. As I headed into the first turn I felt the familiar "flippy floppy", "hollow" feeling in my chest that signals PVC's, followed by the "I've suddenly become an 80-year-old chronic smoker with COPD" feeling in my legs and lungs. Consequently the last lap was a 45, and it's unfortunately clear that I must return to my "severely reduced/hopefully soon completely eliminated caffeine" treatment phase of my experiment. Dang. I really love my caffeine.
Oh, well. I love skating more.
I went in for my customary "I now skate sockless because my new skates fit best that way" warm-up-the-toes break after my first 5 sets. Aussie Boy said he'd stay outside skating but would watch for me to come back out so he could do the remaining 5 sets with me.
When I came back outside after a leisurely toe-warming, I was greeted by the sight of Aussie Boy and two other masters skaters, 50's Boy and 60's Boy, anxiously awaiting my return.
Cool. I got me a posse of skaters!
It probably looked pretty funny--me, in black tights and a bright green jacket, leading my three Johnny-Cash-Black clad disciples through the laps. All we needed was a nice red caboose.
It was a lot of fun, though. Lap times remained good, although I got pretty tired; the last set was all 42's. It was fun to skate with people for a change, even though I wasn't drafting off of them (I think there's a slight draft advantage to leading a group of people, though, if I remember right...). All in all, a great last workout before a holiday break. Now I can spend the next 4 workout-less days enjoying family and fun, and trying not to eat so many Christmas cookies that my skinsuit won't fit come next Tuesday.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!