Professional athlete and 3-time Ironman champion

Workout Hypochondria; Coach Jesse Wins

My old swim coach, Richard Quick, used to say to me, "Dede, if there was an event; the 1650 backstroke, I think you could win Olympic Gold."

Um, gee. Thanks? I guess??

I think this was meant to be sort of a compliment, but seeing as there was no 1650 backstroke, I often wondered if he really just telling me that I was wasting my time, those joyful 20 hours a week at the DeGuerre Pool.

Fact is, I am just pretty darn aerobic. I’ve been told, in fact, that I have the anaerobic capacity of a rock. I assume that to be a stationary rock, because, in fact, if a rock is dropped, say, from an elevated position, I’d imagine it could be pretty explosive, given proper conditions.

Back to point; If I so much as look at a picture of lactic acid, I start to feel queasy;

See? Right there….nausea, queasy.

Lord knows, the second I produce even a fraction of a millimole of the stuff, and it’s shut down city. I can’t blame myself. I’ve read the research. "Conditions associated with increased lactic acid levels include: Hypoxia seen in Shock. Congestive heart failure, Hepatic liver problems, Ischemia, lung disease." (For the record; I love Google….but I suspect it’s also the cause of much hypochondria in the world, because I can Google something as simple as "Millimole of Lactic Acid" and Google tells me I might have Hepatic liver disease)

I digress.

So at this time of season, as we’ve exited the "base phase" of training and added some intensity each week, and as words like "track" and "speed work" start to appear in my training log, well…..these are my darkest days.

Last week, I had my first real go at some quality bike intervals. 5 x 5 minutes. Instructions were; best sustainable effort. Now my interpretation of best sustainable effort and coach Jesse’s notion of what best sustainable effort are have about a 60 watt differential, so I went digging for more (key error #1).

Given Jesse’s engineering mindset, and his ridiculously busy schedule, I know my window of opportunity is limited. I’ve mentioned this before. As such, our conversation went something like this:

Coach Jesse: "Hey, what’s up?"

Dede: "Any wattage guidelines on these 5 x 5?"

Coach Jesse: "Let’s start at XXX and descend."

Dede: "Crack smoker."

Coach Jesse: "Maybe."

Short and sweet. Entire conversation took about :07, but I feel as though I made my point brilliantly. Good job, Dede.

I set about the workout last week, figuring I knew better. If I started where Jesse wanted me to start, I thought for certain that by the end of the workout, I’d drop dead from Hepatic liver disease. So I eased into it. First effort? About 12 watts low. Last effort? About 1 watt low.

See, Jesse? You WERE smoking crack, you devil, you! (key error #2, NEVER gloat to Coach Jesse when you’re right and he’s wrong).

"Nah. You’ve got better in you. We’ll do this one again next week."

Now, seeing as though I have a PG-13 rated blog (OK, maybe PG-17 due to occasional use of questionable language (sorry, Mom), and things like references to crack smoking coaches (he doesn’t really smoke crack)), I’ll let you guess what my response to THAT little gem was. Clue = it had 4 letters.

So on Tuesday, there it was again. 5 x 5’ nestled snugly in the middle of a 3.5 hour ride. (4 letter outburst). Now I’ve seen "Miracle" and fearing a Herb Brooks-esquian whistle blowing episode I decided that I had to nail this sucker and put it to bed so that I didn’t get the proverbial ’whistle in the training log: AGAIN’.

So this week, repeat number 1: 11 watts low (I really am pretty aerobic and it really DOES take me a bit to find my gear). Number 2: 1 watt better. Number 3: 3 watts better. Number 4: 4 watts better, Number 5: 10 watts better.

Probably the best bike workout of my life. I submitted my results to Coach Jesse and got the following response, "There we go!!!! I knew you had it in you! Well done!!!!!! Now I’m fired up! And that’s not easy!"

For the record; yes, I did print that response and frame it. After all, it may never happen again. And for the record too; yes, I could read between the lines to what Coach Jesse was really saying, which was, "Hah! I was right, you were wrong. Nani Nani Poo Poo! You sandbagged the first workout because you thought you couldn’t do it, and you could do it (though you still may have sandbagged the first interval, so out of spite, I may blow my Herb Brooks whistle and say, "Again!" just for spite).

(Coach Jesse would truly never say nani nani poo poo, but it’s sort of fun to type, and DaveyG bet me $20 that I couldn’t work it into a blog. I WIN!)

Fact is, you were right coach.

Lesson for the day; don’t let your mind limit what your body is willing to do just because Google says you’ll die of Ischemia.

Persistence. Determination. Love. The Journey!

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