Every inch of me is fried, shredded, cooked, mashed & crushed, as I write this… I wanna cry with exhaustion and frustration. My hands and arms and abs feels as if they have been gnawed on by large rough beasts, to say nothing of my legs! My Russian jump dryland workout at courtside today was haaaaard!! Hard equally on my body and the weak brain of mine that rides atop it.
Today, an hour and 45 minutes through my 3 hour pylometric session my soul began to crack from the endless jumps, sprints, pushups, and one legged hops in the skate position…
I began thinking, “I can’t do this!!! this is too hard!!! I am worthless!!! I can’t live up to all the people who believe in me!!! My wife will move across the country for my dreams, and I am not mentally strong enough to even finish this workout!!!” A lot of athletes are driven by internal mechanisms that are sometimes not pretty, healthy, logical, or sustainable. I am no different.
This is one of the great dangers of working out alone, especially when pushing beyond your physical limits and frying your muscle fibers like lo mein noodles in a hot oil anaerobic wok.
Once the levels of self-disgust started becoming dangerously toxic, I took a 20 minute break, ate a banana, drank some Gatorade, and sat alone in the mirror lined room at courtside that I usually do my dryland in.
I took stock of myself, drenched in sweat. Lots of little bits of me were hurting, but really, what was hurting the most was my confidence, the legs still had something to give, but the expression in the mirror was pretty beaten. I almost walked out of the gym right there, thinking maybe I really needed a “mental day”.
But I can’t do that. I believe in a life philosophy of “train how you want to race”. So I approach each moment in these peak effort workouts as if the intensity matters like my season was on the line right here, right now. Mind games can be a valuable tool, especially for sprinter types like me, who need to go 100% frequently.
But it’s dangerous fire to play with, sometimes it burns you the wrong way. So I convinced myself, however illogically, that training hard & finishing this workout strongly, proving to myself that I am not a quitter, that will earn me my racing goals (or at least the satisfaction of knowing I tried as hard as I could) this upcoming race year. Its no joke that in the gym, right now, I might as well have been stepping to the start line at Olympic trials, I got that butterflies in the stomach feeling that I get before important races.
I took myself & my butterflies downstairs to the free weight room, & away from mirrors that were not showing me what I needed to see. There are many good people at courtside (they are one of my sponsors too! thanks tom!), I know most of the trainers, great folks, and today there also happened to be lots of “eye candy” pretty people working out. People with puma sleek bodies, glowing with tans & bleached hair, tasteful tattoos, & clothing that dramatically calls attention to their, uhhh, total perfections (let me just leave it at that). I kinda like gyms with this element, I always have, not sure why… But the “pretty scenery” straightened my slump, set my jaw, and screwed my sodden brain back into its proper socket.
Going from the overdose of the internal, to the external of the free weight room, was the right move, and among the powerlifters tossing around 100lb dumbbells, and trophy wives in makeup bopping along on their elliptical trainers, I found focus again, and the butterflies became cruise missiles.
People probably looked at me funny as I finished the last hour of my 3 hour workout. If you have never seen a speedskater doing dryland, it can resemble a weird martial art, where you just swing one arm and do lots of strange balancing sideways kicks. But I did not care, I got stronger as I worked harder and harder.
After my final effort, I gathered up my stuff from the locker room, and waddling upon now truly shredded lo-mein legs, went outside into the early evening & light rain. Walking to my car, my skin felt hot, and I would not have been surprised if I heard the rain hiss away in a puff of steam as it hit me.
I felt no sense of victory, no sense of proving myself. But what was there in my heart was more the grim satisfaction of a bricklayer, in the concentration of building something heavy, piece by careful piece. It was good enough for today.
Filed under: sweat