Decided to give myself a birthday present today of one the most difficult workouts I have ever done. Nothing compared to Catra who runs her age in hours each year on her birthday, but in many ways my workout today felt as demanding as a 32 hour run may have.
I wasn't even out for 4 full hours but the weather made it feel like 10 or 12. It was about 35 degrees, windy, and raining or snowing the entire time. I started out with a 13 mile ride out to the high school track. After a bit of a warm up I started an interval workout of 25 x 400m. I ran the first five pretty mellow (~1:25); the next five a bit harder (~1:17); the middle five as hard as I could (~1:10); and then slowly decreased the last 10 down to about 1:30 for the last few.
By this point I was exhausted, cold, and wet through to the bone and I still had to ride 13 miles to get home. I had all I could do to get my numb hands to work enough to get back into my cycling shoes. I put on every piece of clothing I had with me (which were all soaking wet) and ground out the ride home.
I guess on paper it doesn't sound like too hard of a workout, my interval times weren't even that fast and biking 26 miles is no big deal. In reality though I worked at a very high rate for every single mile and every single interval. When I was running I must have been carrying an extra 5 pounds of water absorbed into my clothing and when I was biking home it was so windy that I was almost always below 10mph pushing virtually as hard as I could. This was one of those workouts in which I felt like every minute was going to be the last that I could endure, and yet I just kept going, and pushing harder and harder.
Without the weather this would have simply been one of my harder workouts in awhile, but the mental and physical stress created by the horrible weather made this a serious test of my ability to keep going when EVERYTHING was telling me to stop. And now that I'm at home, dry, warm, and nourished it's a good feeling to have passed this test.