Interval Training Raises the Question – Am I Strong Enough?

Bike Interval Training sessions include drills such as:

  • Work in 4 x 3:00 up-tempo efforts at 80-85% effort and 85-90 RPM’s. Spin easy for 3:00 between efforts.
  • Work in 4 x 2:00 efforts at 80-85% effort and 85-90 RPM’s. Spin easy for 2:00 between efforts.

Interval Training for Running includes drills such as:

  • 4 x 400 – descend 1-4 – run at 80-85% effort – easy 400 jog between. (3:00); 1 x 1/2 mile – Run at 80-85% effort! Work it and negative split! Finish strong! Easy jog for 400 after effort. 2 x 400 – descend 1-2 – run at 85%+ – easy 400 jog between (3:00).
  • descending ladder, 40 minutes total.  All intervals are vo2 max, 98% max heart rate. 5 minutes (4 min Active Recovery); 5 minutes (4 min Active Recovery); 4 min (3 min); 4 min (3 min); 3 min (2 min); 3 min.

Interval training is an effective way to improve speed, endurance, cadence and lactate threshold. Midway through my triathlon season last year I incorporated it into my training plan when I joined my local tri-club’s track workouts which focus solely on interval training.  At Nation’s I ended up shaving almost 90 seconds off my running pace.  I know this major improvement is from all of these workouts.  (Training with others helped as well.)

I continue to participate in group track workouts this season.  I also incorporate interval training into my other disciplines.  During these specific workouts, especially on the bike and my runs I connect with Noah on a somewhat different level.  I obtain an unbelievable amount of strength, inspiration and comfort from him which enables me to push myself so much harder during these sessions.

Interestingly, though, just over the past few weeks, I’ve experienced something very different. During these particular sessions (mainly on the bike), I’ve found myself crying.  Tears just flow, and at least once during each session, my cries turn into flat-out heavy sobbing.  Sometimes they’re like bursts of emotions quickly flowing out and other times they outlast the drill.  Oddly I don’t stop my workout; somehow I just keep going.  I’ve noticed that as I push myself sadness, disappointment and guilt strongly and quickly emerge all at once.  I feel as though I could never push myself hard enough to go fast enough, far enough or move my heart rate high enough.  And I can’t even articulate what “enough” is!  It’s almost like I realize I will never be as strong as Noah. I won’t ever be as courageous as my sweet, beautiful son.  No matter how hard and deep I dig down – and oh my goodness I really do work at this! –  my strength and courage are mere specks compared to what he embodies.  And if this is the case am I good enough for him?  Am I worthy enough to be the mother of a 32 day old boy who had the amazing strength and courage to deal with numerous cardiac arrests, open heart surgery, ECMO, other major procedures and way too much poking and sticking?  Do I deserve the love he’s brought into my little life?

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe I am much stronger now than I was before God blessed me and MLH with Noah.  I’m much stronger physically.  I’m much stronger mentally.  I’m much stronger spiritually.  And I have to believe someday I’ll be much stronger emotionally.  I may not be as strong as him and perhaps I never will be.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be ok with this reality; will the guilt, disappointment and sadness from this ever go away?  I guess all I can do is continue to find strength, courage and inspiration from him and the short life he lived.

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