After spending the day watching everyone go through the torture of the lactate threshold test, it was time to attempt it myself. Having been told that the most difficult part of the test is getting past the mental urge to quit, I knew this would be beyond just a physical challenge.
John Crawley strapped on a heart rate monitor and I was off at a 6.5-mile per hour pace before I knew it. The first few stages weren’t so bad. I was able to carry on a conversation with Kerry Weiland, who stayed to give me some support and keep me hydrated between stages. Angela Ruggiero also stayed and found some good tunes on the iPod to keep me motivated.
The higher I got in speed, the longer the two minutes seemed to drag on. I just kept focusing in on Kerry’s words to “stride it out” and “take deep breaths.” With a minute left in what would be my last stage at 8.5 miles per hour, I suddenly felt it, what everyone had been describing to me all day – the complete and utter agony that sets in when your body hits a wall.
According to Kerry, my face turned ghost white. John told me I had 40 seconds left and all I could think about was hopping off the treadmill and how, if I had the energy to say anything, I would have asked someone to grab a bucket, just in case something came up.
John finally counted down my last five seconds, and once I got off, held the clipboard with the physical exertion ratings in front of me. I pointed to 20, meaning I had hit my max and was done. I felt exhausted and even slightly dizzy, as I noticed I was seeing spots and decided to sit down.
The test was insanely difficult but also gave me a new perspective on the incredible fitness level of the women on the national team, who went through 9.5 and even 10.5 miles per hour.