When you’re on fire, you know it. You feel it. For the past year training is the first thing I think about in the morning, one of my last thoughts before bed, and something I look forward to almost every day. Workouts have been challenging, often intense, and they’ve been one of the best parts of my days. Over a 10 week period I raced 345.06 miles. That’s Two Olympic distance triathlons (63.86 miles) and two Ironmans (281.2 miles). Don’t ask the number of miles of training over those weeks on top of that. It’s taken me three weeks after my last race to finally lace up and go for my first run. Unless, of course, you count two weekends ago when I ran all over the course cheering for my friend at Ironman Maryland. I’ve been thinking about getting back on my feet over the past two weeks although something has made me hold off. Part of me felt ashamed for taking a 3 weeks off from running. Why didn’t I just get out there for some short easy runs? It would be good for me. The other part of me respects that I realized I just didn’t want to force it. Think of it like forcing yoga poses. I wanted more than to just go through the motions. I wanted to WANT it. These past few weeks of recovery from both Ironman races have been exactly that… recovery. Physical and mental recovery. A potential blog topic soon if I can form my thoughts in writing.
Last night I talked about 2016 goal setting and made the commitment to begin my new goals now. Today was the day. My first run…in three weeks. It’s funny how much harder I made it out to be before I got started today. My goal? Simply to run. No set pace, no set distance. Just run. I am not sure why it seemed challenging to get out there but we have all heard that getting started is often the hardest part. How could I race 140.6 miles ago 21 days ago and yet a little short run today seemed tricky to get started? Ten minutes into the run I already felt happy to be out there and could feel myself smile. It wasn’t so hard after all. I returned home feeling great, remembering why I began in the first place. There’s a reason why recovery is part of every training plan and every race. Maybe taking a complete break from time to time is exactly what we need to come back even stronger, mind and body. I’m feeling pretty happy from my short run this afternoon. Perhaps restraining from doing too much too fast will actually increase my desire to keep going and my desire to set new goals for next season. I hope that if you can relate to this you realize that you are not alone. This is normal. Avoid beating yourself up and learn from my mistake of doing so. Give yourself a break when you truly need it and take action when you recognize it’s time to come back. If you look at the overall picture of racing triathlon and recovery, you’ll see that triathlon is a journey. Races are the celebrations that require dedication, training, passion, curiosity, pushing limits, reflection and also giving ourselves a break.
There is no “stop” in our training. Only “pause.” Next week it looks like it’s going to be in the 70s. I plan to take advantage of it, enjoying the weather with short workouts that make me feel happy. No set goals right now, just get out and go. Who know’s where I’m headed next but I’m sure it’s somewhere exciting. I look forward to seeing what’s ahead.
Always in stride,