Week Six: The One with LeBron

April 07, 2017

Week Six: The One with LeBron

[If you’d rather watch than read, Lauren and Sarah caught up the other day on FB Live about how training’s going, acknowledged some struggles (plus tips for getting past them!), and how Lauren’s pre-race clusterflug at the New York Marathon shaped a mindset everyone could take a cue from.]

Holy crap, we’re halfway there.

In terms of this week’s workout, halfway felt like there was still forever and a half ways to go. As far as race day is concerned, I’d appreciate a big pump ol’ of the breaks on the calendar flipping. May 21st is coming up fast!

Know what else sometimes happens in May in Cleveland? BASKETBALL.

If you follow the NBA even in the slightest, you probably know that the Cleveland Cavaliers had a historical run to their first ever national championship last year. If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge Cleveland sports fan, and despite not being much of a crier, sobbed like a baby inches away from the bar tv when those final seconds ticked off the game clock of the 2016 NBA Championship. I showed my ugliest cry face to a bar full of strangers, hugged many of them (perhaps to their chagrin), and rode an endorphin high for months after.

I might still be on it, a little bit.

Sports will do that to you, man. Whether you’re participating or spectating, it builds communities out of otherwise dissimilar people, creates lifelong bonds, and provides an instant connection to strangers no matter how far from your home base.

Running is a great example, in an obviously much more hands on, personal way. The numbers of group runs here are astounding, and the local running shops seem more like social hubs than a place you just buy shoes. You’d be hard pressed to walk around wearing a race shirt and not get that same emphatic comment or high five from a stranger who “ran that race, so-and-so many number of years ago!” And if you experienced the highs or lows of running a race WITH someone? Oh well just forget it, you’re permanently bonded to that person forever, whether you like it or not.

I found myself somehow with a foot in each of these sport socio-economic systems during my workout this week, drawing inspiration from their polar and maybe offbeat sources, but hey, whatever works, right?

Week Six:


20 x 400m @ HMGP, 1min rest

Fleshman calls it: Endless Summer 400s

Sarah calls it: The Lumber Yard (get it like 2x4 but 20x400… ok it made sense at the time.)

Coach’s tip:“Make sure you are intentional during your minute rest to block negative thoughts in the second half. Just focus that minute on refilling your tank, lungs, using every second to recover. Good mental training for being in the moment and not jumping ahead or projecting.” - LF 

Threat of puking: 3.5 - of - 5 (spoiler: Sarah overachieved here)

Honestly one of my biggest concerns about this workout was keeping track of so many freaking reps! Collier said she once set up cones for each lap and kicked them over one by one, which sounded both therapeutic and effective, but alas, I had no cones, let alone 20. I was stuck with old fashioned finger counting.

Lauren said to switch directions halfway (to avoid getting any weird imbalances from running so many circles one way) so to make it easier I broke the workout into quarters - Five reps one way, flip around for the next five, and so on. Counting to five four times seemed much simpler than counting to 20!

It was hard finding a rhythm, and I stressed about the effort too much the first few reps. Should I be breathing heavy? Should it feel more effortless? Will it suddenly get so much harder than this?? Shit, did I lose count?

After what turned out to be my slowest laps of the day, I decided to pick up the pace. Even though I was more winded at the end I was still able to fully recover during the 60 second rest, so I told myself not to freak out or get scared and just keep chugging along.

As I hit the halfway point the first rumblings of Negative Nancy started creeping in. Ten more laps seemed like a million, and the spring in my step was less “boing” and more “blah.” I tried pushing out the negatives and focusing solely on recovering like Lauren said, and that’s when my LeBron James shoulder fairy showed up.

"It’s halftime. We get two more quarters to try and win this thing."

Funny how swapping “have to” with “get to” changes things. Also funny admitting to getting a confidence boost from a pep talk from imaginary LeBron.

So although the last laps got increasingly more difficult (oh man did they ever), I focused on finishing my recovery as collected as possible and starting each lap *almost* fresh. It made chipping away at the last ten doable instead of a death march.

And when I changed directions again for the last time? Oh, fourth quarter baby!

I pictured myself as Lebron chasing down the block. As Kyrie with the stepback three. Kevin Love playing shutdown defense on Curry. I ran that last lap like I was in the locker room getting doused by a champagne shower instead of gasping for air on a community college track in Bend, Oregon.

And then I laid in the grass for five minutes trying not to puke.

But I did it! And damn did it feel painfully good to push hard and feel that taste of bile in the back of my throat again. Gosh that sounds so screwed up written out.

So thanks for the motivation, boys! Maybe I'll see you back in Cleveland this May. Just let me know if you want to make good on the champagne shower IOU...

- Sarah

I'ma be all in your marathon the next time you see me, Cleve. Get ready.