photo by Steve Penland

Friday, January 11, 2013

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

(Before I finish that thought, I have to announce:  My friend Mel broke the Masters World Record in the 30-34 age group in the 5K in Milwaukee last weekend!  Actually, she didn't break it, she smashed it--the old record was 7:58 and change; Mel skated 7:41.  Unfortunately no one knew that she broke the record until after the weekend, so Mel had to settle for a congratulatory package of PopTarts on Fast Tuesday and this announcement today.  Way to go, Mel!!)

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger--I hope.  Because the workouts I'm doing while trying to keep up with my speedy friends are either going to kill me--or make me really, really fast.

So far, I'm leaning towards the "really fast," but the jury is still out and tomorrow is "10K Saturday" (what the heck, we have "Fast Tuesday" so tomorrow might as well get a name, too.).  10K Saturday might just tilt the scale to "kill me," especially after what I've already done this week.

On Fast Tuesday, the plan was to do 2x5x400 meters at 1500 meter race pace, which for the others (Hawkeye Boy, Sprinter Boy, and Mel) is about 36 second laps.  My 1500 meter pace is more along the lines of 39-40 second laps. For me, 36 second laps are...well, they're not 1500 meter pace.  They're more like "maybe I can do a 36.  One 36.  With a good draft.  And maybe a push."    So I had a choice: try to get as close to 36's as I could by using 100% effort to stay in the draft as long as possible; or do the laps on my own, at 39's or whatever I could do.  Maybe it was the influence of the FRS energy shot I had taken on the way to the oval; maybe it was the fact that Hawkeye, Sprinter and Mel are a blast to skate with, even though I can't keep up; maybe it was a glimmer of intensity returning to my skating.  Whatever it was, though, I decided to go with the 36's--or however close to 36's 100% effort would bring me.

And, to my surprise, I got pretty close.  Actually, I skated two 36's and one...wait for it...34.  I had some draft for parts of these laps, but not for the whole way because I got dropped pretty quickly. The other laps were 37's or 38's, which were still under my projected 39-40's and were achieved with even less draft than the faster laps because as I got slower Hawkeye Boy, Sprinter Boy and Mel got faster and I got dropped sooner.  So it was a great workout--oh, except for the cinnamon roll.  I've become a bit complacent about what I eat before workouts because I haven't been skating hard enough to need to worry about it--but Fast Tuesday reminded me that cinnamon rolls are not the best idea before an intense workout.  Between the cinnamon roll and the fact that I was skating faster than I have in, oh, ever, I ended up doing only 8 of the 10 laps--but I was damn proud of those 8 laps!

After Fast Tuesday I planned to do a recovery skate on Wednesday and then endurance on Thursday.  Things didn't go as planned, though.  On Wednesday I got sucked into Cross Boy and Sprinter Boy's draft and ended up doing 8 and then 5 laps behind them; easy laps for them, a bit of a struggle for me.  And then Hawkeye Boy led some "relax the straights hammer the corners" laps and, well, I got caught up in those as well.  The end result was that, by Thursday morning, my legs felt like they hadn't felt since the first season  TieGuy coached me, and by Thursday evening I was glad that the unseasonable rain made skating a bad idea and I could skip the workout with a (mostly) clear conscience.

So now it's Friday, I've had two days of rest, my legs are still stiff and sore, and tomorrow we're planning to do a workout that includes a 10K--25 laps, which is exactly 2.5 times more continuous laps than I've skated in a workout this season.  And I can't wait.  So "makes you stronger" just might win out...


  1. I keep thinking I need to try that one-swing-of-the-left-arm thing Mel does. I mean, it clearly works for her!

    Yesterday was my fast day for this week, and by chance I ended up skating a bit behind Samantha M. for a lap. I joked with her later about how a year ago she'd vanish into the distance really quick but now I was just staying even with her briefly. She's faster than me but, dang, I've gotten a lot faster than I used to be!

  2. And that, Michael, is (at least for me) what this is all about: being faster than I used to be!

  3. Thanks for the props Kaari! In these blogs, I really enjoy reading the story as you tell it, and am happy to be a character in some of them. :)

  4. No problem! Glad you enjoy the stories...because I'm sure enjoying skating with you guys!