I read somewhere once that cyclists take sadistic pride in the agony of riding.
After this week's workout, I am going to go a step further.
Cycling is one of the most painfully miserable things I have ever done... and I've birthed 3 children, run 4 marathons, completed a Half Ironman Distance Triathlon in 90+ degree heat, and run the SF Half Marathon, which is a bit hilly.
I know my own pain experience is pretty diverse, and yet, cycling is fixed firmly in the top of that list.
That's partly because I have found a new form of torture. 30 second intervals. Holy Misery, they were awful. Thankfully I had a companion.
He's significantly faster than I am.
We warmed up together, chit-chatting. I tried not to get intimidated. I knew that once our intervals started we wouldn't be cycling together any more because this guy is probably the fastest guy I know on two wheels, and I am a mom of 3 kids who's run a few marathons, half iron, yada yada and oh by the way I do have a bike.
We did work out a system to ride together, uh, sort of... but if we're looking for an analogy of what the acceleration was like...
It was like chasing a Nascar (Car) on a Pinto (pony)...
Nothing in my memory is as painful as those 30 second sprint intervals in full sun chasing a Galacticly Bada** Egyptian Gentleman.
And here's the catch that our ride really drove home. He was an amazing cyclist. And he was suffering and spent by the end of the ride....
Intervals are always going to be painful. No matter how many years I ride, no matter who I ride with on any given Tuesday... riding at 100% is always going to be hard.
It doesn't get easier - you just get faster.
Bet that applies to running...
In fact, I could apply that theory to life... parenting, nursing school, and relationships. They don't get easier. If you are working at 100% effort, it's going to hurt.
Of course, you can only maintain that level of intensity for 30 seconds. It's an excruciatingly painful but minuscule percentage of time in your workout.
So the next time you consider giving 100% to your life, just remember, it's going to hurt... and that you can't maintain that hurt for more than a few minutes. It takes a team to get 100% out of life. The theory of pace-line is that you work 20% less when you have a cyclist in front of you blocking the wind/cutting a 'hole' in the air for you to draft in... I call it riding in the pocket, though I'm not sure that's technical.
Basically, even if you are a world champion, you can't expect to do it all on your own.
I can't expect to do it all on my own.
My plan these days is to get my kids to pitch in 10% each, I'll push myself and put out a solid 60%, Desi (our #bestdogever) will put in her standard 2%, and the rest comes from the love and support of the people in my life who give me the help I need to pull it together, both on the bike and off.
Together my team is tip-top, riding at 100%.