I spent 20 minutes in the pain cave Tuesday night. I don't really like it in there, but I need to learn to be comfortable with it, as I'm sure it will be a frequent hangout for me during the next five months.
We had a bike LT test on the schedule at our weekly IM bike/run class. It was only about an hour workout TOTAL....which seemed like a vacation compared to our sessions as of late....but 20 of those minutes - the actual test part - were at MAX effort. It's a bit of a tricky test. Start out going too hard and you risk dropping below the required rpm's (85) and the test is invalid. Start out too easy and you end with more in the tank which doesn't give you the right read. So the trick is to balance the hardest effort you can throughout the 20 minutes and end with not one more pedal stroke left to give.
I've executed this well in the past. But Tuesday was not really my night. I prepared to put myself in the pain cave and gut it out for the whole 20 minutes. But I could immediately tell my legs were still feeling fatigue from the weekend of workouts and I just couldn't quite get "comfortable." Then the girl riding next to me - and her bike - fell off the Computrainer....no kidding, I can't make this stuff up. She almost took me with her, save for some dude who ran from the back of the room and made the catch. That really threw me off my game.
But no excuses. Mentally I still have A LOT of work to do for Ironman. I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, because that's really what this is all about, right? Those who can do that, and get really comfy in the pain cave, are the ones who succeed at this sport and especially at the IM distance. I can't be scared to go there and stay for a while. I'm sure I'll have a chance to try again soon and maybe, just maybe, I'll stay a little longer each time.
Happy training this weekend!