I woke up this morning to the wind blowing my curtains through the window. The only thought that crossed my mind centered on the bike ride and track workout I had scheduled to complete today. If the wind already blew this hard, it would only get worse as the day progressed. Yet the day progressed, and my motivation to start had slowly ebbed to the wayside. Then, a text message from Kathi Best moved me into action. For those who know Kathi, you know she never stops moving. Her training mirrors her life: no shit, no giggles, just badass and a lot of miles. Her message lined out her schedule for the week ahead, she asked if I could join for any of it, and it concluded with, “see you at noon for an hour and thirty minute bike ride followed by a track workout!”
The rain poured outside my window at 11:30, right as I hopped in the car for Besti’s workout regime. Yet when I arrived, the sun broke through. So it’s going to be one of THOSE days, huh?
I had no idea what to wear. In fact, Kathi asked me twice if she thought we needed a light rain jacket for our ride. I declined knowing that if we encountered rain, it’d be a downpour, and a jacket wouldn’t do anything. Our ride toward Mt. Spokane started on a tailwind, and our first 15-minute tempo felt like a breeze. At one point, the wind caught me from the side, and a trail of spit escaped my mouth to then cling to my face. Apparently I’d forgotten to swallow in awhile? My nose had already been running like a fountain, so any snot rocket either flew 6 feet to my left or right back into my face. It didn’t take long, however, to ride right into the downpour of all downpours. In fact, I had entered into Mother Nature’s idea of a carwash for the two-wheeled variety. Rain and all other body fluids became indistinguishable before turning around at the café.
Kathi joined me as we started on our long, flat climb into the headwind. We laughed, absolutely drenched, and she asked, “Do you think we need a rain coat?” Nope! I’m quite comfortable, thank you. I’ve never felt better… and we made our way home.
In the first 15-minute tempo out I covered about 6.5 miles. The second tempo home I only ate up 4 miles of pavement, yet I did come home dry! Car after car passed me, and I could only imagine what they might have thought. It took all I had to keep myself upright, and even then I swerved all over the right side of the lane. Who knows what covered my face. It had all run together by the time I hopped in Kathi’s bathroom to change into my running clothes for this track workout that was to come next.
I asked Kathi, “So what is this track workout anyway? How many mile repeats are we doing?”
She looked at me, “…that we’re doing? Well, let me see. Ok. So. Well. Ok.” I soon realized this much delay could only mean I had clearly underestimated what Kathi’s idea of “mile repeats” meant.
“…So. Ok. We’ll start from here (yes, I gathered) and run to Mead’s track. Then…(Lord spare me) we start with 2 miles, then 5 minutes of jogging, another 2 miles, then 5 minutes of jogging, then (then?!?!) 1 mile, then 3 minutes of jogging, and finally (oh, sure…) 1 mile, then cool down. Ever heard of the term thunder thighs? Do you have a clear image in your mind? That’s how heavy my legs felt after that explanation of Kathi’s track workout…times two.
We made it to the track, and I realized I never asked what pace we were running these. Her reply, “Olympic race pace,” nearly made me turn back for home, but I couldn’t, because she asked, “What pace is that for you?” Oh, probably a 7-minute mile. Well, let’s just say there’s no getting away with anything when you’re running with the Besti. I slowly began to curse my speed and those 6:40-minute miles I’d ran at the Priest Lake Triathlon last year. Yet there wasn’t time to curse because Kathi had positioned herself on my tail and wouldn’t let me run anything slower than 6:45s. Perfect.
Thirty mile-per-hour winds make for a great time on the track. One minute you feel like you’re flying, and the next minute you’ve run right into a wall of air taking that turn toward the southwest.
Apparently, snot flies just as well on my feet as it does on my bike, and when I’m breathing that hard, it takes everything I have just to blow it out and hope it doesn’t fly right back into my face. And so the circles continued, one right after the other. What Kathi considered just another workout, I envisioned a mountain. She is, quite possibly, the strongest woman I've met in this sport, both physically and mentally. To have the opportunity to train with and learn from her is like finding a pot of gold at the base of a rainbow. I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to train with someone so strong, so knowledgable, and so experienced, even if it does mean a little pain and discomfort while doing so.
I will admit, by the time that last mile repeat rolled around, I couldn't help but think back to this morning and my track workout I had originally planned on: 4 x 800s. How I ended up with this alternative I don’t know, but I will say having Kathi on my heels certainly made everything fly by: time, miles, and snot included.
Thank you, Besti!