Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chicken Scratch

Of all the memories of hard work and heavy pain that I carried back from San Diego, it was actually something that Chris said to me that stuck the most. You see, when I asked Chris what my weakness was, he said “sometimes you get chicken.”

Wait a minute – did you just call me chicken?

No, what he was saying is that sometimes when I sit on that edge of breaking through – which is that point where you push a little harder than last time – and breaking down – which is the point where you push through and then give it a little more – well, sometimes I chicken out. I break through often but breaking down – not something I routinely do. And in taking everything to the next level this year, it is something I need to do more.

So, I have spent this entire week fighting my inner chicken.

Work with me here - we all have an inner chicken. It's just a matter of admitting it to yourself and honestly saying the reason I don't _____________(fill it in for yourself; get any faster in the pool, win my AG, push out more watts, break 9:00 miles) is because....I am chicken. I am scared of myself. And I realized this when earlier this week a friend talked me into finding my fire, fighting my inner chicken to reignite myself.

She was right. I was ready. It was time to put on the gloves.

I set out to fill my arms with chicken scratch. It started in the pool. It’s no secret that the pool is my limiter. Yes, I can swim and I love to swim but that doesn’t always equate to swim speed. So this week I said enough. I am going to create swim speed. I am going to force the flip turns even if it means my lungs burn out of my chest. I am going to push to the next level even if I explode. I am going to kick harder, pull more water, apply more force and I am going to beat this chicken because I know – I KNOW – chickens don’t swim.

This was not easy. On Saturday morning I went to masters and put myself into a faster lane. This does not go over to well at masters. You literally shake up the entire order of the universe when you change lanes. I didn’t care. I had my boxing gloves on. I was fighting the chicken today and I would win.

Hell of a day to pick a fight. Should have just settled for laying eggs instead or those little chocolate marshmellow eggs or peeps (can you tell tomorrow is Easter?). Because the main set was a mixture of IM and pull free. But I’m not backing down. I took my position and fought my chicken all the way. 6 x 75 IM, 100 IM, 4 x 50 stroke two times through. The chicken was on my freakin’ back and you think it’s not heavy but try carrying the extra weight after you did functional strength the night before.

Oh yes, Friday night functional strength. Exactly where I wanted to be. You see, I am determined to having the strongest glutes possible so I can kill the bike. I don’t care if my butt blows up tp the size of Rhode Island I will have a strong rear. WILL. Which means a lot of squats, lunges and other torturous moves you can do with a bosu, medicine ball and a band in less than an hour. I fought the chicken with weighted ball while squatting atop the bosu ball upside down.

TAKE THAT CHICKEN.

And then, I decide to take it up a notch. For the swim; push-ups with shins on the stability ball with palms on a medicine ball on the ground. Up and down. 25 times. Not for cluckers. No way. A move on top of many other moves that would kill the morning swim but I didn’t care. I’m going for broke and pulling feathers out along the way. I’m boxing chickens today and I’ve got the bruises to show.

Next up – the bike. Yes, a little 2 hour bike in the basement. Because – BECAUSE – it is late March and there is snow on the ground. There are a million ways this is very wrong. But I do not have time to discuss because I can only pick one fight at a time. And this one was with the chicken that nested smack on the seat of my bike.

Hello bike. It is you again. I spent the past week riding your stronger doppelganger that goes by name of road bike through hills of San Diego region. And you know what – it shows. I am warming up at a high wattage today. I do my intervals and I am now pushing out wattage that I could only maintain for about 30 seconds a few months ago. This is not right. Is this right? Just go with it. Keep punching the chicken and pushing your legs. Round one of intervals. And then round two. And then…..and then…..

Oh my. We’re going to need a broom for this mess. There are frickin’ feathers everywhere. We have done our calculations and realize that we have set a new CP60. And CP30. And CP90. And even though it doesn’t exist – a new CP120. In fact, the wattage I maintained for 120 minutes is the same number I could push out at LT for 20 minutes two years ago. The best part - we have done this all in zone 3.

Ain’t nobody here but us chickens – though one of my favorite songs – doesn’t apply here any more. You see, I have arrived. I am here.

Tomorrow I have a run. I know that chickens can actually fly. So I’m going to have to run fast and once I catch up with my chicken there will be a fight. A fight of fast feet and strong legs. I will break through and might even break down. Which means I might throw up, burn, or cry. It’s ok. Because all of these experiences added up have shown me that I have what it takes to box the chicken into the corner, grab its beak and break its neck. I’m sorry to offend any vegetarians out there but the war we wage with our inner chicken is sometimes a meaty, messy display.

Ironically when I was in high school, I had one of those Fisher-Price Little People chickens (I believe the actual name was Henrietta Hen) with a string tied around its neck. If you were born after 1980 you probably do not remember when toys were still small enough to be swallowed. So I have provided a picture below. The chicken’s name was Clucky and I brought it – on a string – to all of my cross country meets. Clucky was the lucky chicken. Yes, I was a little superstitious in high school and a little weird. But I’m thinking I need to go back home and pull Clucky out. Not because I need luck but because I need to tie it to my transition bag to remind me that when the chicken starts clucking there’s gonna be a f*ckin’ fight.

Between me and myself.

Clucky!

4 comments:

CAMI said...

Good job Liz! I beat the chicken today too, but not by very much. Just edged out the little brat! Still have feathers in my teeth.

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Oh Liz - YOU show the chicken who's boss! You beat the chicken on our run in SD... and I have no doubt in my mind that you'll not only catch, pluck, and break the chicken - but you'll also do the unmentionable with the chicken.

You'll become the chicken.

You'll become who you are ment to be - and that's one hell of a fast/strong/smart/speedy/powerful/scary triathlete.

And I can't wait to watch!

(If I can manage Palomar on Friday - you'd better believe that I'll be there. I may just toss a few feathers out the window for extra motivation. Something tells me, though, that you won't need them).

Cluck away, my friend! Cluck away.

Pedergraham said...

While I am sure that all of the riding you have been doing in your basement, and SC, and San Diego has been a big help, I am wondering if the cake might also be contributing just a tiny bit to the wattage improvements....!

Tri Girl said...

I just started reading your blog about a week ago!
When I read this post.... it hit home!! I do enough to get by, but never push myself. My schedule makes it difficult to train with other people but after reading and defining the chicken within me, I will be looking for that extra push by surrounding myself with people.
Last night in spin class, I kept thinking about being chicken. Did I think my legs would explode? What WAS I scared of? It helped me kick it up a notch!

Thanks!! And I will be looking for my own chicken so catch and pluck soon!