Sunday, February 21, 2010

Milestones with a Capital M

I've written before about milestones.
they are huge and important, crucial really, in how we process our movement through life.

I have passed a Milestone.
and I want to shout it from the mountaintops:
I have reached a point beyond the panic barrier, a place of safety.

okay, okay, what--you wonder--am I talking about?
I am talking about the mental games I engage in each time I work out at an extremely high heart rate. the infamous zone 5, the VT, ventilatory threshold.
if you google VT, these is a description you might find if you spend about 30 minutes digging through citations, medical speak, and a lot of obfuscation as I just did:

The point during graded exercise in which ventilation increases disproportionately to oxygen uptake.


here's a better place to go for a definition, because I think this person captures my understanding (and lack thereof) of it all: joe friel's blog. and if you don't feel like popping over there, I'll briefly tell you what he has to say about it: we're all confused.
it seems that those of us who read about and participate in the world of fitness use these vaguely and variously defined words in different ways with the result of some quiet and rarely discussed mass confusion.
lactate threshold.
anaerobic threshold.
ventilatory threshold.
in Power Camp World, these have different meanings (of which I am still unclear), as apparently they may or may not in the real world.
joe friel suggests that they are often used interchangeably and come down to the same point: the point at which you are redlining.
oh, redlining, of course. now I get it.
joe suggests it's the place a fit person can work for about an hour; this is definitely not the Power Camp World's VT. but perhaps it is the Power Camp World's LT. or its AT.


I digressed.
all I really wanted to say today is that I have finally reached a point where I have overcome my VT panic. I have conquered my own mind. (though this really sends my mind whirling: I have trained my mental self to conquer my mental self. think about that.)
my body has finally convinced me that the You Are Going To Die part of my mind is wrong, and the You Will Survive This part of my mind is absolutely, completely, positively and permanently correct.

I was telling john about this yesterday, and he gave me another word for it: breakthrough. I have broken through a barrier, one which I hope to never again sink beneath.
I have challenged myself twice this week with extended work sessions at and above VT, and neither time did I experience panic mode. (although I did experience about 15 seconds of certainty that my abdomen was going to explode if I didn't get off the bike and go relieve my bladder right now, but then even that belief faded away to nothing.)
I am saying goodbye forever to those I Am Going To Die thoughts, banishing them to my early years as a cyclist.
from now on I move forward firm in the belief and understanding that panic is unnecessary. I can do this, I have done this, I will continue to do this.
I am on the other side of the wall.

congrats, me.

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