Limits are a part of life. We limit ourselves in our thoughts, in our actions, in our relationships, in our decisions. Those 'limits' can hang like concrete blocks on our shoulders as we battle adversity. But those limits are made to evolve with the hope they will be stripped away by confidence and performance. It's the unleashing of those limits that is truly the goal — in sport, in life.
A slave to numbers is something we can all agree on in our workouts. We obsess over the speed at which we can maintain proper mechanics, the pace at which our legs will or will not move us, the numbers on the scale, the grams of the components on our bike, the price tag of the gear we seek. Yesterday and today I saw numbers that brought confidence.
An incredible day in Austin yesterday meant I had no other choice but to get out and put in an honest effort. Cementing a ride/run brick with Spence and the evening was shaping up. Meeting up for a two loop, 20 mile effort through the rolling hills of southwest Austin, we dialed in and hit the accelerator. Knowing we were planning a 5K run off at the end, I tried to limit some of the impact on my legs, but the weather and 'the moment' pushed us on. Loop 2 was done faster than the first for a total average of 18.6.
To the run we were both stuggling with getting our legs underneath, but settled into a nice pace. When I looked down at the my Garmin I was pleasantly surprised to see an 8.50 minute first mile. For those of you who don't know my history, anyting sub 9 is celebrated. Knowing we had two more left I tried to let off the gas, but Spence was having none of that talk. He pushed me on and we kept moving. Through 2 we held our sub 9 pace. At that point, survival kicked in and we weren't about to slow down. Despite a 20 mile hammer ride and 3 mile run, my legs were doing something they had never done. I was hitting new territory and I couldn't have been happier. Final mile 8:20...average for the 5K 8:38. It was one of those moments of resolve when you realize all of the work is paying off.
Feeling confident, I wanted more of a test and decided to follow up the nighttime brick with an early morning run. To my surprise, the legs were good, the pace was fast — strike that — even FASTER than the night before. I finished a four mile run with a double take -- 8:20 average pace. Best ever. Realizing some of the limits had been shed away was a welcome burden to cast off. I'm not naive to think that thoughts of those limits won't reappear — they will — but at least now I've got the numbers to fight it and success to build upon.