This week I went a little crazy.
Maybe last weekend someone had a PR their body couldn’t handle. Or maybe it was the 1200 miles of driving in 3 days. Or maybe I was just tired but I think I had about 30 seconds to recover from Memphis before we began pushing to the next big thing.
I joke. I actually had about 1 day with an easy ride. And then it began.
On Tuesday I did one of those swim workouts that I just wasn’t in the mood to do. You know the kind? The kind that on any other day you would be just fine with but add a little fatigue, grumpiness to the mix and all of a sudden a few sets of 175’s becomes the magic number that leaves you walking to the hot tub afterwards while mumbling if I ever see that workout on my schedule again I will fire my coach. Now, of course, I won’t fire my coach and it was just a swim workout but something about the 175’s irritated me to no end. Why not 150’s? Why not 200’s? Why the extra 75?
Wednesday I found myself west riding 2 hours into a 25 – 35 mph headwind that started with some guy giving me the middle finger on Dean Street. That was after he shouted something at me and I gave him the middle finger. I don’t ride around flipping the finger often but if you yell at me I feel the finger is fair game. Chris was obviously feeling a million times better than me and kept turning around to look for me and each turn back multiplied my bad mood a million times further and then I started feeling bad for not keeping up and guilty that he kept turning around until finally I shouted I DO NOT WANT TO KEEP UP WITH YOU NOT TONIGHT NOT NOW PLEASE GO AWAY AND LET ME RIDE. I would have ridden away from me, too.
Thursday was a fartlek run. Actually, it was one of my favorite runs. One of those runs I put on the list of where have these workouts gone. I was excited to see it back. I was not, however, excited to get into it and the 42 mph gusts of wind with 89 degrees. I also was not excited that Chris forgot his watch, so on the minute for every 30 minutes I had to shout GO and the shout STOP 20 seconds later. I do not ever want to see that workout again.
On Friday the wind finally died down. But sub-50 degree early morning temperatures meant my hilly ride would be through the hills of my mind in the basement at 5:30 am. That actually went well. After work, we did a long swim that included my least favorite sets. 5 x 300, 5 x 150, 5 x 100, 5 x 50. This is the workout that never ends. This workout on a Friday night is like a neverending ending to the week that never comes.
Saturday had to be better. Besides, my legs were finally feeling better. On tap for Saturday was a long brick. It’s not the time or the distance that bothered me. No, I was actually looking forward to this one. It’s not that we drove 90 miles north to go on an organized ride route that bothered me. No, around here that’s commonplace. It was the fact that it was the end of May and it was 47 degrees.
And 2 ½ hours into the ride it started pouring rain.
At 3 hours and 20 minutes into it, we had enough. It just seemed kind of stupid to ride in cold pouring rain risking illness, injury, or accident. Wait, let me paint a picture of how stupid it was. Put your bike on your trainer, put the trainer in your shower, and turn on the water on as cold as possible at full blast. Then, have your husband ride by the shower approximately every 5 – 10 minutes when you reach a corner or other obstacle while shouting “NO BRAKES! NO BRAKES!!” as he sails dangerously past whatever it was he was trying to either manuever (a corner) or avoid (someone on a hybrid bike).
We rode back to the van (Chris actually rode past it a few times before coming to a complete stop), put on dry clothes, and sat there. Chris went to get some food and he brought our coach back – who was also on the ride. When she opened the door and shouted Fedofsky get out there and do your run, the person she found was not me. It was a frozen, quiet version of myself sitting there with legs quivering and run socks covering my hands. The better half of myself was left wet somewhere on the side of the road about 10 miles ago.
I did the run. Of course. Imagine your mom yelling at you to pick up your socks….like you’re going to say no? When I finally emerged from the van my legs felt like noodles. And so I ran as fast as possible to warm up. So fast that Chris said “you are running too fast”. Is there such a thing? He was behind me and had – again – forgotten his watch which almost put me over the edge because there we were running along some rural highway in southern Wisconsin with traffic zipping by and bikes coming at us and the last thing I wanted to do was shout GO and STOP over a dozen times.
But I got through it. The run was over. The ride was over. But the day wasn’t over. Actually, it was almost literally over. Though we left the house at 7 am, it was already after 3 pm. The rain started pouring again and I really wanted coffee. We made a quick stop for it and afterwards I offered to drive. I don’t know why. I hate to drive. But Chris had driven in the morning so I figured I would take my turn. It was pouring rain, we were about 30 minutes from home, and I had a merge coming up. For some reason I was paying attention to the merge on the right, and not the cars on the left and didn’t notice the cop car in the median. But he noticed I was going 75 mph. In my defense, so was everyone else. But whatever, I got caught. At least I had my coffee and I didn’t have to stand in the pouring rain wearing a stupid brown uniform.
No, I had to ride in the pouring rain for over 60 miles wearing a multi-colored jersey. That clearly makes me the better person.
One speeding ticket, a night at traffic school, and $115 later, I was on the way home again. This time going 55 mph in the left lane as protest.
When I finally got home, I knew what I had to do. I had to finish the ride. I thought about just “finishing” the ride easy. But then I remembered I had one more interval to do at the 3:30 mark of my ride. So after warming up 10 minutes, I tried to shift into my big ring but alas my derailleur had other plans. Screw it, I’m going hard anyways. I was stuck in the little ring, going 108 rpms, hard, for the last interval.
I pushed it. I pushed it hard. I put it all out there to get out everything I was feeling that week, everything that was making me crazy…….from utter disdain of my job, aggravation from the mountain of laundry I still hadn’t put away, the rain, the corn chips I keep finding on the kitchen floor, the wind, 47 degrees, the road blocks that have encircled every road around our home, the 175’s, the speeding ticket, everything and anything that had flipped me off or frustrated me for that entire week from start to finish, from beginning to end.
And when I cooled down, and was done, I got off the bike and kicked the front wheel. “TAKE THAT,” I shouted while kicking the front wheel again.
Chris was spinning along happily on the bike next to me when he looked up and said “you’re a crazy woman.”
Yes, yes I am. But sometimes you have to get a little crazy, get a little mad to get something more out of yourself. On Wednesday, despite high winds I averaged a surprisingly fast speed for my ride. On Thursday, I worked so hard in the heat and the wind that I could barely shuffle at the end. On Friday, I swam my 300’s faster than I’ve ever held for that set. And the same for the 150’s, and 100’s. On Saturday, as I rode in the pouring rain I had one of the best rides I’ve had ever. I rode harder, faster, stronger than any training ride – ever.
There is a place for crazy. There is a good, strong, productive place to put your crazy, your disgruntled, angry frustrations in the world – in the pool, on the bike, on the run. When you dig deep into this sport, you will find your crazy. You will reach your point. You will unravel, you will become intolerable from time to time. You’ll bitch, you’ll moan. You’ll flip someone the finger. You’ll ache. Your legs will burn. Your head will hurt. You’ll push your pedals so hard you think they’ll fall off. You’ll run so hard you think you’ll explode. You’ll kick your bike. And then get on for more.
And if you don’t, you haven't found your crazy yet. Go harder.