Reflecting on my training this past week, initially I felt like it was particularly unremarkable save for the Mackay workout (more on that momentarily). But then I caught myself. I realized that this week, I completed all but two of my little checks, including the ever difficult-for-me back kick; PRed on my mile time while simultaneously exceeding the minimum requirement of 8 minutes for the first time; sparred an awesome but tough third-degree black belt candidate for 3 minutes for my live sparring round; and finished strong at the toughest conditioning workout of the black belt test to date, the first Mackay Stadium workout.
Since when did these sorts of accomplishments start to feel like just another day at the dojo??
A few weeks ago I posted about the dawning realization of what I was in for, and hoped that I’d be able to find that “slow burn” level of intensity that would keep me moving forward without getting overwhelmed. It appears that this has begun to happen without me even realizing it.
Of course, it wasn’t completely accidental. I’m glad we’re required to log our weekly class attendance, because there were several times this week when I felt like I should have been training. But, looking at my log, I realized that would have been over-training. Despite the constant worry that I’m being lazy — or, at least, lazier than some of my fellow candidates — I honestly believe that taking Danelle’s advice about “one solid rest day per week” to heart was how I was able to run a 7:52 mile up the Freestyle hill last Saturday.
I was also a little concerned about the Mackay Stadium workout on Sunday, but it turns out my consistent training is starting to pay off. Earlier this year I asked Tres for tips on managing asthma. He said eating better and increasing my stamina would be his top two recommendations. Lo and behold, following said advice, I was able to pace myself at a much higher intensity than normal before slowing down or using my inhaler. In fact, I only had to use my inhaler once during the workout.
The most ironic Mackay moment for me personally was about three-quarters of the way through the final drill of the two-hour event. This drill consists of running up the bleachers, across to the next set of stairs, then down, and repeating until all four sets of bleachers have been completed. If I recall correctly, it takes most of us about 20 minutes to run up and down all those steps. Yep, 20 continuous minutes of running stairs. I was trying to conserve my energy on the downs while powering through the ups (66 steps per stairwell — I counted). Near the end I was having trouble making it all the way to 66 before having to dial it back or risk suffocating due to asthma, or tripping to my doom due to leg fatigue.
As I caught my breath slowly jogging towards the next down, I realized that this wasn’t nearly as bad as the final five miles of my half-marathon in 2010! I didn’t do very well at the half because I stopped training consistently as the event date approached. I vividly recall getting passed by groups of speed walkers around mile 11 while I was painfully jogging along, muttering f-bombs at every other step. And yet the bleachers failed to elicit a single f-bomb from me this year*. Once again, I’m amazed by the results of simple, consistent training.
Lastly, here are a few choice photos from the Mackay workout. Many thanks to Jason Candler for bringing himself and his camera out to capture the torture!