Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Which Way You Going?

That is the question. For now, I am going to lay low, not really train (at least I won't have some grandiose plan), see how I feel, do some stuff or not do some stuff, and along the way figure out whether I want to do Ironman Florida.

My body needs a break from heavy, focused training. 6 years straight of this stuff is a long time to keep at it without a significant break. Coincidentally, this approach comes highly recommended here.

I can tell you that it's a heady sensation to see yourself improve over the years, to see the caliber of training that you can manage and hopefully absorb and reap some rewards in races. On the other hand, at what cost? I may or may not have paid a huge price for following this passion. I know that it has taught me incredible things about my mind and body--how to care for them, how to just observe them. At times, I refer to myself as a "machine." Is that what I have become? Not really. A machine doesn't question what it does. It just keeps doing. But sometimes I think I am doing too much "doing." And not enough "being."

It is going to be difficult for me initially to fly without a plan. And that's precisely why I need to do it. Because it WILL be hard. It WILL be different from my usual modus operandi. For example, on Sunday I had wanted to get in a 4-hour ride to feel better prepared for this weekend's Horribly Hilly ride. But when I woke up, my body was telling me I needed to rest. And rest I did. I did pretty much nothing all day but read the Sunday paper, some light household organization and laying around. But I did come to a decision, which is that I am not going to Ironman CDA to spectate. It would have been nice--I really wanted to cheer Shelley in person; but I am going away this weekend, and 2 weekends in a row is too much stress for me right now. Not to mention I have no burning desire to get on an airplane so soon after suffering with travel-induced illness from Brazil.

Last night I thought, hmmm.....I'm not going to CDA, so let's see if there are other things I can do that weekend. There's a 2-mile open water swim race on Saturday, and OMG, there's a women's only sprint triathlon on Sunday that is still open for registration. I think I want to do both. I registered for the sprint. But then this morning, as soon as I woke up, I decided there is no need for me to do the 2-mile swim. For one thing, I'd need to be up at 4AM so I could drive 40 miles to this stinky little lake. For another thing, it would be better for me to get in a 3-4 hour ride that day, and I'll also need to register for the sprint. So less is more. A sprint will be fun, short, and hey, my registration fee goes towards a good cause--ovarian cancer research. I've never done an all women's race, so that should be fun, too. I've raced this course before 2 years ago and easily won my age group, but I am not going to worry about that. I am going to go have fun with my disk wheel. Bonus, the race is like 10 miles from home.

Then, in another 2 weeks I'm doing another sprint. It was my first ever sprint triathlon, and it features a pool swim (no chance of jellyfish or face kicks as it's a seeded start, and I don't swim that fast anyway), a flat-as-a-pancake bike, and a flat run. Again, the objective is to have fun. This race is less than 20 miles from home.

2 weeks after that I have a 1/2 Ironman. It will be fun to see how I can do with very little training!

I know it sounds like I have a lot of stuff planned, but the point is that how I get from A to B is unknown. And then if the urge for hard, focused training strikes, I know that I can fire that up in August if I feel like it. If not, well, I already have an Ironman under my belt, and it's not like I need to prove I know how to do them.

This is going to be an interesting adventure. Stay tuned if you like!


TriZilla said...

Well, it sounds like you're going to have FUN! As I was reading you post, *I* had fun!

Way to listen to your body and spirit. I did the no plan plan after my marathon and loved it. Trail runs, hikes, resting, couch time, playing with my cats. I felt relaxed and ALIVE. I hope you feel the same!

Born To Endure said...

I'll miss you BUTT MODEL...:-D

Steven said...

Glad to see you're feeling better!

Good luck on the plan to have no plan. I struggle with that very thing, too.

I'll watch to see how you deal with it. ;)

Brett said...

I think you deserve a break! I bet if you take a good rest, you will come back stronger than ever!

Joe B said...

I agree. I take a break every year sometimes only for a few weeks but is so important to recharge and remeber why we get out there in the first place.

Comm's said...

It is interesting to go from long distance to short course work. You will certainly have fun. Of all things that day, you will have fun.

Fe-lady said...

I think there is a way to keep fit and stay mentall and physically challenged without competing all the time. I took 2003 off-hadn't a break from racing since 1982. I just always felt like I "had" to be there for some reason. Had a chance to place-but all I did really was beat myself up.
Came back in '04 to the "Xterra" scene and that is my passion right now. Hopefully next year or in '08 I will be able to get a new tri bike and maybe do a half or an IM.
Have tried alot of "different" stuff- Alcatraz swim, trained for "waikiki roughwater" (it was cancelled) Have hiked to Havasu Falls and we are planning a mtn bike trip across monument valley next month. No racing until probably August, but at least my head will be in the "right" place and I won't be burned out!
There will always be races. But there will not always be moments of opportunity to experience a moment in time that is out of the ordinary.
Have FUN...connect with yourself again and just "be"!

Lora said...

The break sounds good. And if the sprint is in Naperville, I'll see you there!

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

Um. A couple things occurred to me as I read your posts...

1) I was only recently told that the whole point of this is to have FUN. This was confirmed when I read "breakthrough Triathlon Training". I am still hitting myself on the head for that one -- oh yeah, fun!

2) I don't know that it's fair to label your competitive drive "Ego". You installed that button, since you've been training training training to race for so long. It sounds more like you've trained yourself to be competitive - as all athletes do. But I feel your angst on that one - I strive to race with no expectations and no ego, but when I don't do as well as I (somehow discover later) I should have, I am disappointed. It's clear to me from your writing that winning is still important to you - make that OK on the inside and I think you've got it made.

TriBoomer a.k.a. Brian said...

Your break sounds like a great adventure. Yes, I'll be keeping up with your blog.

Stay tuned...