I suppose that the off season is sort of like race recovery, or even workout recovery for that matter. Some races take longer than others to recover from even some tough workouts take longer to recover from than others. The key is to take the time to fully recover so that you’re able to re-focus and continue to train hard and face your next challenge with strength and determination.
I’ve been quite enjoying my time off since the end of my season in August (Calgary 70.3). I’ve been spending time with friends, expanding my horizons in different ways to stay fit, enjoying the freedom of choosing to stay home and not put in a serious workout, but more than anything – working. The Games are getting closer everyday and things are really starting to get exciting now. I’m busier than ever, putting in crazy long hours and loving every day of it. On one hand I’m sort of feeling guilty for not getting in the exercise that I hoped I’d be getting (for some kind of continued fitness), but on the other hand, this Olympic experience is so incredible and something I may not ever get to be a part of again that I’m really taking in the whole ride.
There have been many of days lately that I haven’t felt quite myself. I’ve been achy, bloated, heavy and just all ‘round yucky.. and after quickly dismissing my self diagnosis of H1N1, I realize that all the grossness that I’m feeling can be attributed to my lack of exercise the last couple of months. And further to that – so can the extra 7 pounds on the scale! YIKES!
One thing that I’ve always been pretty good at is listening to my body. Especially when it needs rest. Ever had one of those days where you felt totally run down and when you lie down ‘just for a second’ after a long day at work and you end up sleeping all the way through the night? Yup – me too. Heck, I’ve even passed out in my work clothes when I got home, just to wake up the next morning to undress, get in the shower and head back to the office. Those days are few and far between, but when they happen, I’m perfectly happy going with the flow and giving my body the rest it needs. If you give in to the fatigue and give yourself the rest/sleep/recovery that it so obviously needs, I can almost guarantee that you will come back feeling 100%.
So – why all the chat about recovery when I’m not even training? Well, recovery isn’t just for the body, it’s for the mind as well. I’ve been slightly concerned with how much I’ve been enjoying my time off these days. I haven’t thought about Triathlon in a few months, haven’t been anywhere near a pool, and generally call it a day if my workouts creep over 1 hour long. What’s happening to me? Have I given up on triathlon? Have I given up on my Ironman dream? Have I quit? Am I giving in? Moving on? Saying Uncle????? No no no… I have to tell myself “Sarah, don’t be silly. Like everything else, you’re just in recovery. Just like so many other examples that you learned from this year, everyone’s recovery time is different. Some people take a day to recover from a race, others take a week” I leaned this year to pay deep attention to my body and know that everybody really is different in what works for them.
There are people in my club that are still training hard as hell in their preparation for Ironman next year. They are running personal best in marathons this fall and their training plans are ongoing through the winter right into August 2010. This obviously isn’t going to be my plan. I have a few other things happening between now and Ironman that I want just as much to be a part of. Like say… the Olympics. I learned first hand this weekend that the event we are staging here in February is going to be a once in a life-time event. This weekend was the start of the Torch Relay in Victoria and I went over to witness it. As promised, this was an event that embodied the Olympic spirit, embraced a nation and united the community. Seeing the Olympic flame light the cauldron, then ignite the torch and see it passed from proud Canadian to proud Canadian truly was a remarkable experience. It was the beginning of Canada’s winter games here in Vancouver next year and gave everyone a sense of what we will see and feel when the Games begin. Wow.
Not only have I got to experience some of these events first hand, but I”ve also found myself in a very unique position with the Games where I (somehow) have been lucky enough to score a job that will allow me access to every event happening both here and in Whistler. I will get to experience so many different facets of the Games in a truly unique way.
While I often think that I should be getting my lazy butt into gear and start thinking about my training plan for Ironman 2010, it’s not long before I realize that I have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games and I’m going to do everything I can to enjoy every minute of it. When the Games are over, I will have plenty of time (seeing as I’ll be unemployed) to re-dedicate myself to my Ironman dreams.
So – long story short – I’m going to continue with my base level fitness, my short runs, late night spins on my trainer in my living room and twice weekly visits to the gym and be content with my efforts. My focus now and thru March 2010 will be to enjoy and embrace every moment of the Olympic movement.
As life will have it, I’ll focus on one life changing experience at a time.