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  • Aliya Drakes


This week had been my hardest, and this day in particular had been my breaking point. It was the first week back from vacation so I was ready to get back into the full swing of things, no time to waste anymore. The schedule for the week did not seem too daunting apart from a 4-hour session on Sunday. Everything else seemed doable. After a rest on Monday we had ten run repeats on Tuesday, but those went fine, actually better than I expected. Wednesday's gym session was also fine - good workout as always but nothing exhausting. Thursday I went to the cycle centre for my first bike trainer workout (apart from the simulation ride we had had weeks before). I was nervous about that because I did not want to be last in the group, but I did well in the ten sprints we did (which came as a surprise to me.) Friday evening was my long run and it was from here I began to feel the physical stresses of the week. My legs felt incredibly heavy in the first ten minutes of the run so I stopped to stretch. That helped temporarily - maybe ten minutes more - and for the rest of the run I felt like I was carrying lead. It was an uncomfortable run but my pace was surprisingly very good. I did a little more than the distance I was targeting for the stipulated 1.5hrs and was extremely happy, but also feeling very drained with tired legs. Knowing that we still had two tough weekend days ahead and my legs feeling the way they were, I had to relent and ask Mummy to massage them. This was a HUGE deal for me as I don't like people touching me, and the last time Mummy massaged my legs a couple of years ago I quarreled and laughed too much for her to do it properly. Unfortunately, nothing had changed there - it tickled me too much and she had to cut the massage short as a result. Saturday when the alarm went off I stood up, tried to walk, and instantly had to sit down again. My legs would not work!!! The second attempt a few seconds later was successful but it still felt like I was lugging around lead. I was nervous about the swim because without Derek there (he was down with Zika), I felt I would be lagging way behind everyone and essentially swimming on my own. Derek had offered some words of encouragement the night before but I was still apprehensive. The swim was fine overall, I could always see the others in front of me and fortunately they waited at the end of each length before going again. Admittedly I switched to breast stroke a few times in between whenever I felt the gap was increasing too much! Our ride was ok - my goal for that was to not get lapped (Derek was waiting with a buff when I passed but he later recinded this when he realised I had to ride in a particular gear, as opposed to everyone else's open-gear workout) and to increase my average speed, both of which I did. But by the run my legs had had it. I felt ok, and was even surprised that I didn't feel as awful as normal coming off the bike, my legs didn't feel like jelly; but they also had no energy left in them. My speed got slower and slower and even Derek had commented that I should have had a rest from running that day because of the long run the day before and the next day. I decided I'd turn around at 3K and when I stopped to cross the road I started talking to an old man who is always running in Chaguaramas. He walked with me a bit and then on the way back Jackie encouraged me to run again. In the end I did 5K in total. Again, I had to ask Mummy for another massage because my legs were not having it. And again, I laughed my way through it. Sunday morning came and we all gathered at the bottom of Chancellor for this monster feat: 4 Chancellor rides and 5 savannah runs! We were all feeling tired or out-of-it for various reasons, and expressed this to Derrick, who gave us a minimum we needed to do instead (3 Chancellors and 3.5 Savannahs). I wanted to do all, but I was definitely feeling it in my legs. For the rides we had to alternate between small plate and big plate. The first one - in small plate - was hard enough! Wow!!! We were supposed to go at a speed and push it but it was quite clear to me that my legs did not get that message! Very early on I considered turning around (before we were even halfway) and going back home - my legs needed rest! Then I thought, NO! You will get through this! Might be slow, might not be pretty, but you WILL do this!!! I was feeling great about my renewed mental fortitude, but nevertheless, I could NOT handle anyone telling me anything that morning, such as "go faster", "push it", etc. I made it down the first time and on the second lap I spotted Derrick by a corner. Before he could tell me anything I called out "Derrick! I'm doing the WHOLE workout today eh! I don't have speed but today but I'm doing everything!" He said that's ok. Phew! That second lap was particularly challenging on that big plate. Further up the hill I saw Derek coming down and his comment was what broke me "push it Aliya! It's all mental!" I got SO mad because I kept thinking mental was all that was getting me through that morning! Physical was the problem, my legs weren't working! In my mind I was getting through it no matter what! Sometimes your body doesn't cooperate with the mind! How dare he! Grrrrrrr!!!!! And I cried all the way up the hill, and continued to slobber all the way down the hill. At the bottom of the hill I considered stopping to regroup but by the time I got to the bottom I decided I was already so far behind everyone else I might as well continue. I got through the other two hills (fortunately I had company on the last one - some random man who knows a couple of the Augusta 6 crew). Now was the run. 5 savannahs. Or at that point, how many ever until they said stop. I was fully aware that if I had run the whole five I would be keeping back everyone, but was prepared to keep running by myself if everyone had to go. Derek and Derrick sat by a bench chatting and manning the cooler with the Gatorade and my gels etc. My first lap was ok, it started off slow of course but eventually the running legs took over and it didn't feel like death. Until the second lap! In the first part of the second lap I used the excuse of stopping to eat the energy bar and drink some Gatorade, but really I needed to walk for a bit. It helped. Lap three I stopped to walk again at almost the same point, but this time when I stopped a wave of pain washed over me from head to toe. Everything HURT, and I started to cry again and wanted to go home. As I was close to the end, I decided to jog it all the way in. I saw a couple people I knew and that helped to keep me going - saving face and all that, they couldn't see me walking! When I got to the end Derrick told me that was enough, as I'd made it to four hours, the duration of that day's workout. Phew! I COULD have kept going if needed (with lots of walking) but was happy to not have to continue. Afterwards I told Derek how mad his comment got me and just that that day was hard - it was my meltdown. But because of it, I knew no other session would be like that, and everything would get easier. So in the end I wasn't mad. It happened, it sucked, I learned from it. I then went home and enjoyed a long nap :)

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