The Science of Suffering

Yesterday was a Tuesday so well-disguised as a Monday I'm surprised nobody asked me how my weekend was. I've found that the beauty of horrible days is that they help you appreciate the good ones. Of course, that assumes you survive them and I did.

The "highlight" of the day was arguably my hardest workout of my Boston build. While I've done workouts that looked more daunting on paper, this one snuck up on me and gave me a beating I wasn't expecting.

Sandwiched in between a warm-up and a cool-down was this:

4 x 400 @ 88-90 seconds with 1 minute recovery after each
1 x 1600 @ 6:20
3 minute recovery

The first 400 was the slowest... a 91. That's not uncommon for me as shaking off the rust is part and parcel of the process these days.

The weather yesterday was about 65 and humid... it felt like we were pushing away thick clouds all the way around the track. After the 3rd 400, Mallory said, "I thought I was feeling fast today, but I think I was wrong," and I knew what she meant.

Still, we are slaves to the plan and we banged out the rest of the 400s at 87 and followed it up with a 6:17 mile. After a 3 minute death crawl, we did it all again, though it took an extra amount of oomph to nail the last mile.

Chemically speaking, I think this workout is designed so that we're creating lactate on the 400s and forcing our body to clear the lactate while still running the mile fast. Or maybe not. I confess to being a bit fuzzy about some of the chemistry. But I do know this: When you do a workout like that, when you refuse to listen to all of the voices telling you it's ok to quit, especially on such a craptastic day, when you don't give in... when you do that during a 5:52 paced 400 or a 6:20 mile, what you're left with at the end is the idea that you might be able to hold it together for 26 miles at 7:15 pace.

And if that's what I got out of the workout, that's ok, too.

The anaerobic nature of the workout did its work on my diabetes, too, as I came back from the track with a sky-high 328, a tell-tale sign that the workout had done a number on me. Several units of insulin later, I was 69 at supper time, proving that what goes up can easily come down.


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