Friday, July 30, 2010

i (not so) gracefully resign; temporarily

 it was yesterday that a huge realization ensued that i actually needed a break. i have never desired a vacation more than i do now. i have never detested training as much as i do right now. i have never felt as demotivated  as i do right now. i don't remember the last time i had a strong run, bike or swim. i chose to ignore all the signs that were popping up many, many weeks ago announcing over training. i pushed my mind to push my body as hard as it could, and approached every day of training regardless of my clear signs of fatigue.

i raced chattanooga completely overtrained, then the next weekend raced again, took a week off to simply move around, and now this week was slowing moving back into training for the age group nationals 9/25. moving back into training had not gone well to say the least, which opened my eyes to what had actually occurred. my runs have become brutal, feeling like i had not run a day in my life. legs feel heavy, swollen, and lethargic. heart rate soaring. and the most interesting part, my mind is raring to go. ready. willing. able. later that evening after seeing a clear pattern over a few days, i noticed an article in triathlon magazine outlining overtraining, and all the symptoms i am feeling. no- that is not me. i cannot imagine...and then began looking back at my training over the last 2-3 months.

after speaking to a few coaches i was looking to work with for nationals, i had to send a note and say i was not sure what was happening, but i needed to wait on coaching until later in the season to prepare for 2011, instead. what really opened my eyes that soon became tearful was words from a coach, an extremely successful triathlete and ironman who said i was struggling with over training syndrome, and only rest and recovery can help at this point. any exercise i do at this point should be for fun, no watches, no heart rate monitor. easy, short and sweet. now as a triathlete, fun and training don't really go hand in hand, but instead what we love is pushing our limits and enjoying the results. that is why we do what we do.

needless to say, there is a struggle here of sheer disappointment.  frustrated in myself that i caused this. that i cannot just be normal, but have to shoot for 110% instead of 100%. at the end of the day, you have yourself to look at in the mirror, and if my all was not given, i will not like that reflection. it is simply just never enough, there is always another goal.

this was a tearful, emotional day. a race i worked hard to qualify for, now has to be treated as a 'fun' race, instead of a 'race' race. i need to just enjoy the reality that i qualified for a high-caliber event, and take it all in. based on what i am experiencing currently, i have been instructed that i will not have any degree of success in this race if i exert myself between now and then. 110% is not always the best way.

the article i read in triathlon magazine about over training offered an amazing analogy. if your body is a sponge, it can continue to take and take and take, until it is absorbed fully. once the body (sponge) is absorbed fully, it cannot absorb anything else until it dries out. that is an amazing analogy to explain the training cycle that should be.

now this (not so) graceful resignation is only temporary, but is a key learning experience to make me even stronger and ramp up for 2011. i'll need lot's of energy and mental focus when i take on a coach! there is an element of relief, that i am not indeed weakening, but experiencing what alot of triathletes have experienced - and i will recover and become physically strong again. fingers crossed, in two weeks time, i will be up and at 'em again!

this will be an interesting time, where i will be learning the art of balance to perfect my strategy further in the future, not only in triathlon but with life. endurance sports are amazing in that you are learning more about yourself everyday, and with every race. and from that you learn how to improve. it is vulnerable, but strong.

let's offer some support to my husband who is living with me during this somewhat challenging time with a bit of crazy, and lent his big shoulder yesterday to this currently frustrated sense of self.

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