In the month since my first blog post, I have been living the very bizarre life of an athlete in the “off-season”. I find myself simultaneously trying to relax, see friends, and take that much needed mental and physical break from training, while also attempting to maintain some level of fitness, accomplish ancillary running goals, and hold onto a modicum of motivation. There have been some very near misses on the running goals front. I ran the Eastern State Breakout 5k in 20:01, when, as mentioned in my first blog, my goal was to break 20 minutes. I then ran a 6:03 mile at the end of a workout session, when the goal was to break 6 minutes. I’m working on letting go of the “what if’s” – “What if I had just run that first mile a little slower and the second mile a littlefaster?” “What if I could have just sprinted a tiny bit faster?” Rather, I’m trying to keep my focus forward as I know I will get plenty more shots at both of those goals.
The real challenge I’m facing is getting myself off the couch as the weather gets colder and my next big race looms not around the corner but 7 months away. During season, it was a foregone conclusion that I would do my workouts as my coach wrote them on my schedule. During the offseason, I’ve started down the very slippery slope of skipping a workout here, cutting a workout short there. Life seems to be imposing itself from all quarters – from friends’ weddings and bachelorette parties, to long delayed trips to DC, to simple dinners with a glass of wine that good company turns into a bottle. Everything there wasn’t time for during season is now happening in a condensed timeframe, swallowing the space that used to be dedicated to those long bike rides on Saturdays and long runs on Sundays. It’s difficult to feel that by finally attending to neglected friendships, I am in turn neglecting my training. While I have enjoyed letting the pendulum swing from dedicated training to dedicated fun, it’s now time to find a happy middle ground where my friends and my training can coexist. *Disclaimer: I am going on my honeymoon in the second half of November, and I’m not scheduling any training! That said, I’m sure I’ll get in some runs in the beautiful country of Australia and get some good open water swimming practice around the island of Bora Bora…*
Ultimately, I know that I will owe my success next season to the foundation I lay this winter, and when I look back I want to know that I did everything I could to prepare myself. That is what I need to remember as the days get shorter and temperatures drop and I’m forced to workout in freezing darkness. That’s much more easily said than done, so this blog will serve as one more checkpoint to hold myself accountable. And as a major bonus, the more I put into my workouts, the more I’ll benefit from the massages I have waiting for me. I must tell myself this: Workout by workout I am training towards becoming the triathlete I want to be.