Fridays are the planned torture day ... speedwork. In order to force myself into consistency with speedwork, I have to simply set it as the routine. Thankfully I have a faithful husband and running partner who joins me on torture day.
Sooooo, yah. Last Friday was the beginning of "the week the sun forgot to shine." It was cold, sunless, raining, dark, and ugh! very windy. Well, at least by SoCal standards. Now, under such "harsh" (I know ... I'm a weenie) conditions, a long rhythmic run might not have been so bad. I could just sort of buckle down and get it done, plot my course so that I ran mostly with the wind, and maybe even wear an ugly plastic garbage bag and suffer through the sweat. That wouldn't have been so bad. BUT, it was Friday ... torture day. Speedwork day, which I do on the SBCC track.
I set my own workouts for the track, and lest I am too easy on myself, I try to make the workout difficult. So the plan for dark Friday was 12 x 400 (gradually increasing intensity with each set of four). There was, not surprisingly virtually no one else on the track, which immediately caused me to question my sanity. The track was soaked, and even though it has a new beautiful surface, there were still pockets of water all over it. But the most disturbing scene at the track was the sideways rain. It was coming down heavy but gosh darn it, it was windy. On a track, it is impossible to run 400 meters without doing at least half of it straight into the wind. This was going to be a workout in repetitive stupidity.
It was so cold, but I figured it would be ok once I warmed up. I jogged a mile, but every time I hit the back straight away I cried out in agony, "OMG, you've got to be kidding. This is so stupid." Never warmed up, and just got wetter.
Then I figured after a few intervals I would feel better. Not! My legs were stiff with frigidness and although each repeat began fresh, within 20 meters I hit the wall of cold wind and pushed through it, not only in discomfort from the cold, but also from the fatigue that immediately set in. Although the final 150 meters was with the wind, I was too pitiful to give it any gas and just sort of made it to the finish line. This was the stupidest workout.
After the first set of four, keeping in mind that we took a very short recovery so as not to obtain frostbite, I thought to myself that maybe 12 intervals was too many. I reasoned that the wind factor should at least count for 4 intervals. Eight sounded better than 12. This was so stupid anyway.
After the next 4, which were harder and faster (still hardly any recovery), somehow I began to become fondly acquainted with the "wall of icy wind" and I hardened my determination. I said we were supposed to do 12, so 12 we would do. But it was still stupid.
The last set of 4 were supposed to be the hardest and they were. But we did it. We did the last 4, we did the full 12, the conditions remained difficult, we were freezing ... but satisfied. I was now full on stupid. Bring on the rain. Bring on the wind. The ice, the hail, the dark days. I was empowered because I made it through the stupid repeats. Isn't that what running does for us?