Off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz.

Last night after a solid bike ride I had a short rest and then jumped on the ergo. A wonderful thing happened, I ran out of energy. As a result I was a out of it and found my heart rate was high with a noticeably reduced out put. The bike had really taken it out of me and as I found the seconds ticking by so slowly I was wondering how far I should go before pulling the pin on it.

Off to see the wizard is a reference to going to that space deep within to find a way to do more or go further. Usually it happens when the fuel in the tank is getting on the low side or when good old captain lactate comes knocking on the door. So anyway last night me old mate, Oz had been greeted by the captain on the bike and well, the tank over the 3+ hours had become almost empty. So as you could imagine like minded seeker I was on some beautiful journey. A journey with a weird guide, a journey to a zone of unknown possibilities, a journey to that place that is a mix of shadow and mist, of instinct and survival, of hanging in there and holding on for the ride. It's a journey in search of the space, a place and original face, to go within, is the name of the game. What I find or what you'll find only one knows. Call it Oz or call it by another name. It's to find a way forward, a way to improve, do more, be more, change and ultimately return with some how an answer or two.

If you can make sense of this your doing well, what I found was that it was a fatigue, lucid, almost sublime feeling and it was not constant but came and went like the often refreshing breeze out side the shed. The contributing factors to this state I am sure included the lactate spanking I took on the bike while doing threshold workloads of 5mins. With every burst I did sense the drain of energy that was taking place. Even with the attempt to keep food and fluid up it seemed impossible to match the energy output required. By the time I arrived back home and tried to get back on terms with my refueling needs I promptly decided that it best to get going on the ergo before it got to late. Being a family man and all I do like and good story for the kids and enjoy sharing one with them at bed time. So it was back to the machine.

Instantly I felt tired and empty. For a moment I figured I had already done enough, but right then I said lets go a visit the wizard and see what gems I can find. The journey begin in the little shed and with out ever leaving I was off. Now normally this would not be the case, but it does and can occur that when the physical begins to slip or even slide, a wander can take place and on this occasion I took the ride to see what I could find.

At this stage you might suggest seeing a Doctor, not sure. The process of running on empty and seeing what happens and what comes to the surface of consciousness is a intensely, wonderful and insightful experience. No Doctor required but I made a mental note to speak to Mr Tony Rice, physiologist extrodinary to ask him a few questions about what are the benefits both positive and negative for going into these zones.

Before I get the Rice-man to interpret I must admit that he did correct me on one occasion but lets say for this story it's all the time. He keeps telling me he's a Doctor. Something about a PHD, I wonder if he went to Oz to get that one. Maybe following this train of thought, I could visit Oz and see if I could have a PHD thing for being, I don't know. Stupid maybe, no not stupid just a little funny, but as we all know strange things can go through your head when training and even more so when rational thinking departs after extended periods of intense activity.

So talk to Ricey was my thought and what else? Well good question I thought, simple response is, 'I can do it.' Nothing about just, but rather, 'I can.'

Thats why I challenge myself and not always do I feel positive about it but during this experience I was amused by were I went, how I coped and what I realised. To complete the dialogue and hold to the theme a little engine came to mind, I think I can it said and well, it's pretty simple and when things become tough, challenging and overwhelming, it's often the simple things that can be the most compelling and it's then they can hold so much more meaning.

Never thought I would get there, but here we are. Back to the beginning and as I have attempted to capture the surreal experience I pause...


Anonymous said…

A fascinating insight into what it is like to step beyond the edge physically and take yourself into places never experienced before.

As a club rower I don't go to these places as often or stay there as long, but I think any rower at any level does go to the 'Wizard of Oz' and pushes past the red line and beyond.

I have been reading a book about the Tour De France by a writer called Dan Coyle, and he gives an intriguing insight about what is possible when an athlete has the courage to put their body on the line and drive themselves to the outer realms of physical exhaustion.

Coyle writes: "One does not get in form; rather, one tries to get on it, as one might walk across an ice-covered ridge. The trick is to get as close as you can to edge without slipping over.

"It refers to the elusive moment when all systems are working to optimal efficiency. It is made possible by supercompensation, that physiological tendency of bodies under stress to protect themselves by getting stronger.

"Stepping out on the razor is a journey into a realm of physical irony, the boundary between pathetic sickness and intoxicating power. You push, like Icarus, to see how high you can fly."

Best of luck with the training.

It is awesome to follow the journey on your blog.

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