Our little experiment is coming to an end, and as such, this is the final submission to the Can She Do As She’s Told?” saga. The end of the year is typically quiet for me workwise, so was able to catch up on things and “chill.” Monday, January 4 hit like a ton of bricks. Straight into strategic business planning and presentations to the team and then our executives. Suffice to say that I’ve been busy, hence the delay in updating you until now.
I know I mentioned strength goals in my first post. I’ve been focused on and working towards being able to do chin ups without any support. I have been progressing and about two weeks ago felt, “really strong,” like I had gotten past a plateau of sorts. Still not at chin up strength yet but I was able to do full pushups. 10 in a row. That may not sound like a big deal to you if you are a man or a smaller woman but for me, it’s a big deal. Anyway, pretty stoked (or “chuffed” as they say on the Great British Baking Show) that in addition to the cycling improvements, my strength gains have been significant. I also mentioned in the first write up that I would like to lose about 10 pounds. 12 weeks later I am 5 pounds lighter and feel much leaner.
The last four weeks of the plan have been another testament to, “Doing as I’m Told.” Honestly. Recall in Part 4, I shared that after Half Monty my MAP and FTP both increased. I didn’t mention the numbers, I just gave the percentage increases. Well, that’s because I was overwhelmed and doubtful. My MAP went from 294 to 316 and my FTP went from 235 (the Full Frontal at the start of the plan put me at 221 but I believed due to extenuating circumstances and have been operating with the manual adjustment to my former FTP of 235) to 254. That is significant, isn’t it? I should have said more about it in Part 4, but I was so concerned that the numbers were inaccurate and inflated that I didn’t want to share them. My apologies to Sir Mac for doubting Half Monty. My coach, Sir Spencer, suggested I leave the new numbers and see if I could hit the targets. That scared the hell out of me. These numbers surpassed my Mt. Sufferlandria (what I thought would be stretch) goals for May, 2021… in December. Here is a look at my 4DP history since 4DP and Full Frontal came out in 2018.
|4DP||March 24, 2018||April 4, 2020||November 1, 2020 – Week 0||Goal for May 2021||December 26, 2020 – Week 8|
And, yes, as you have already guessed by my apologies to the outrageous sports scientist, I was able to hit those targets. Hit and hold the targets. Team Scream. Angels. Joy Ride. The Bat. It has definitely been harder. I have even stopped complaining about reduced numbers and easy days following the hard workouts. Completely. (I know, right?) I have come to rely on those easier days. Due to the busy work schedule since the start of the year, I have not had time to do both my strength workouts and the other, easier cycling workouts scheduled for me those days, but I have done all the other workouts on my schedule.
Since Half Monty, I have experienced a significant boost in my confidence. Riding strong, lifting strong, feeling strong. Until…I had a ISLTA failure at the end of Week 10. It was a reduced workout so I went into it with a ton of confidence. AC and MAP were reduced to 70% but I was shocked to see that FTP was only reduced to 96% (Really Sir Mac?) and it came after some significant volume the day before. I did fine until I got to the Thin Air portion and then just could not maintain any sort of power. My legs did not have it in them. Sir Spencer encouraged me to stop. I rode easy for a while and finally just got off the bike. I was seriously disappointed with myself. I ended at 2:06. Getting off was the right thing to do. Now, as I type this, I realize that my FTP increase just two weeks prior makes what I was able to do that day, if not impressive, then certainly, acceptable. I’m glad I gave in and got off, it allowed me to recover and not pay for it in the subsequent days.
Week 11 provided me the opportunity to do Attacker and Who Dares at 100% and I was able to crush them. This past week has been a recovery/prep for Full Frontal week. I have Primers today and then Full Frontal tomorrow. I will finish this up tomorrow with the results. But, before I get my new Pactimo liner bibs on (shout out to Stephanie Clark, I’ve had some serious issues of late) and tackle Primers, I’d like to share my reflections before the final test.
This experiment was a fabulous idea if I do say so myself. Can a fit, dare I say, very fit person, with coaching based in sport science and focused on them as an individual and their individual goals, significantly improve their cycling fitness? Yes. Not only yes to improving but, to a degree that shocks said, “very fit person.” Regardless of the results tomorrow, I am beyond impressed with what I have achieved. I’m a little giddy about it. Maybe even a little embarrassed that I’ve not taken advantage of these plans, and especially the coaching, previously. Sir Neal and Sir Mac, SUFCoaching, Sir Spencer, “Chapeau!” Seriously. Wow! Thank you.
Here are the results:
|4DP||November 1, 2020 – Week 0||Goal for May 2021||December 26, 2020 – Week 8||January 24, 2021 – Week 12|
I could not have gone any harder. I wanted to grab 900 on the sprint but could not get there. Thought I would die on the 5 minute section; surprised I did as well as I did. Told Sir Spencer to stay away but he kept coming in during the 20 minutes. He’s lucky I was suffering as much as I was – no way was I going to ruin the test just to kick his ass. I did ask him to come into the room during the 1 minute to cheer me on. He scared the dogs, but it helped me.
I will say that having my husband/life partner coaching me was both a challenge (looking over my shoulder, giving me grief, knowing what I was supposed to do, etc.) but it was also an advantage. He knows me and what makes me tick, and how important this is to me. He also knows how important balancing it with the rest of my life is. So, I’ll leave you with a bit of advice: Sign up for the coaching, think about your Mt. Sufferlandria, and share yourself with your coach. Let them know what makes you tick so they can make sure the plan they customize for you is the perfect plan for you and your Mt. Sufferlandria.