Can She Do As She's Told? (Part 3)

Struggling to do as I’m told. At the end of another two weeks (Weeks 3 and 4) of the plan and I was frustrated. I guess it was to be expected, Week 4 was a recovery week and I do not like to take it easy.

Week 3 was a strength deload week. Now, I don’t mind taking it easy on strength, but for future scheduling purposes Sir Spencer recommended that I move my strength deload weeks to coincide with my SUF recovery weeks. Make sense. Week 3 had a few stout workouts. SUF Idol at 100%. Too short but crushed it. A Very Dark Place at 100%. Crushed it. Tool Shed at 100%. Crush it. ISLTA at 100%. SUF’d it. I honestly was ready for a recovery week. Or so I thought. Now, before I go on to tell you about Week 4, I do want to acknowledge that while I have survived all of the above workouts previously, I’ve never actually been able to so completely hit and hold every target through the whole workout. Sometimes I overachieve on the rest (most times,) other times I’m tired from the workout the day before, other times, who the heck knows. I would always survive and typically have as high as listed IF/TSS but never fully CRUSHED them. But this time, this week, I was able to hit and hold all the targets for each of the workouts. Hmm.

So, I went into Week 4’s recovery week with a really positive frame of mind. That lasted a day or so. Tuesday was my birthday and it is custom in my household to do Violator on one’s birthday. Not for me this year. Instead I did Recharger. Again. I do like it and was willing to keep my mouth shut. But on Wednesday I had Elements of Style. I was getting antsy and worried about the calories from my birthday cocktails and the calories from Thanksgiving the next day. Sir Spencer did acquiesce and let me do To Get To The Other Side on Thursday. Some of you may not realize, but the fourth Thursday in November is a National Holiday in the US. Unfortunately, Sir Spencer did not think it necessary to mark himself out on the SUF Coaching calendar and had not one but two coaching calls. Allowing me to do TGTTOS was the least he could do to keep himself safe. It felt good to ride a little harder but it still felt “eh.” What I’ve tried to convey to Spencer is that I don’t really feel good on the bike until I’m well into Zone 3. Once I’m there for a few minutes I stop feeling the saddle and start feeling the ride. Week 4/Recovery Week was all saddle for me. I hung in for the week and did as I was told. Meh.

I was very excited for Week 5 and Hell Hath No Fury at 100%. That is another workout that I can do and survive but have never been able to maintain that last three minutes at the targeted level. Never. As I approached my bike on Tuesday, I was admittedly nervous. I hadn’t workout hard in over a week and I was honestly worried about the workout in front of me. There is a kind of confidence that comes from crushing it daily that I was lacking. Do you need me to tell you what happened? Crushed it. Completely CRUSHED it. I was ecstatic! I was honestly surprised that Sir Spencer didn’t throw me a party or twirl me around at least. Wednesday came and I had The Hunted reduced. I thought, “80%, that’s pretty good, I won’t mind this one.” It isn’t and I did. I was so disappointed, sad even. I almost cried on the bike I was so frustrated. I couldn’t even look at Sir Spencer after it was over. Later, in bed with my coach (I do get some serious benefits being married to him) I was trying to articulate what I was feeling. I know all the rest and recovery is making a difference (see the paragraphs above for evidence) but it doesn’t feel good. I don’t feel good until I’m working at a much higher intensity and I was feeling so sad to have to give that up. (Cue violins and feeling sorry for Stephi.) Sir Spencer laughed (not with but at me) and reminded me that this is a 12-week experiment and that it was my idea. And, when I’m done with my plan I can do whatever the heck I want…even if it means going back to crushing myself every day. Oh yeah. With that realization I was able to relax. I’m also realizing that it really isn’t about calories for me. It’s more likely an addiction to endorphins. If memory serves, those aren’t released until one is at 80-85% of max. How many years has working out really hard every day been my favorite all around, go to (only) stress management tool? Many years. Over 30. Call it self-medicating if you must, they’re my neurotransmitters and I’ll use them however I want!

Truth be told, can’t wait to see how Half Monty goes in a couple of weeks!


I’m glad it’s not just me that struggles with “recovery” weeks. I’m just at the end of one now and it feels miserable. I’d much rather be thrashing myself every day, but hopefully next week I will reap the benefit of the rest!


While I am new to Sufferfest, I am neither new to cycling, nor keeping to a training plan. To mix a metaphor, I try to remember it is a marathon, not a sprint. I try to keep the long term goal in mind.

Have you listened to the “Relaxing to Recover” mental training video? It is part of the Strong Focus habit.


OMG Sir Spencer, I think Heretic just told me, “Relax” for you. YIKES!


It’s definitely hard to go easy in between those hard efforts, but it’s worth it. That doesn’t make it easy, tho!

At the end of the video, the narrator paraphrases G Von A, “I will kick and then relax my ass today, to beat yours tomorrow.”