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Ironman, Motivation

Checking Out: The Mental Break

Dear readers: this post is just to let you know that I’ll be absent for a few days.

When I first signed up for Total 200, my coach warned me that it took her several weeks to recover after last year’s ride. She rode too hard, she said, and told me that the best thing I could do would be to take it easy to lessen the stress on my body. Sure, I thought, no problem.

I was tired and a little sore on Sunday, but otherwise I felt great. I was sure I’d  be back at it in no time, as last week was my “recovery” — minus the whole 200 mile ride thing — and this week is right into high-volume training. But despite the fact that my muscles aren’t sore, every workout this week has sucked. In a major way.

I quit my swim on Monday after 1700m because I was actually afraid of passing out in the middle of the lane. I missed Tuesday night hills because of the weather and had to do a very short and easy recovery run instead. Track last night was like slow-mo. I haven’t been able to get up before 7am so far this week, and I am sleepy again about 10 minutes later despite getting 8 solid hours. What gives?

As it turns out, “not sore” is not the same thing as “recovered.” Total 200 — and all the intense training I’ve been doing since February — has taken a toll on me both mentally and physically. Even in my stepback weeks, I’ve hit hill workouts and track practice and added in yoga and weights. I live and breathe IM training. It consumes my time and energy and thoughts and it’s exhausting. I’m involved enough to where missing a planned workout has me panicked about my WI results. But I’m not invincible (shocking, right?), and my biggest fear right now is continuing to have crappy workouts, resenting my training and getting a month out from my race and not wanting to finish strong. Right now, all I want to do is move here and sleep on the beach:

However, since that’s not an option at the moment, I’m going to get my mojo back in another way: a few days of complete rest.

I talked to AJ at length after track last night, and the basic conclusion is that taking a couple of days to rest my mind and body before getting back in the game won’t hurt my training or fitness. In fact, it’s the best thing I could possibly do right now. If I absolutely had to, I could probably handle the physical stress of IM tomorrow. So skipping a long ride this weekend, especially after 202 miles last Saturday, won’t cause me to lose my bike fitness. Substituting a 1.5-hour run for a 3-hour bike/long run brick (or skipping the long run entirely) won’t leave me unable to handle the IM marathon. So I’m going to finish out my week catching up with a friend on my ride tonight, swimming or running in the morning and then put IM aside. It’s a tough call because the long weekend provides the perfect chance to jump in on long workouts — I’m missing quite a few trips to Skyline, Prince William Forest, Sandy Point etc. — but I’m going to be distracted because these crazies are coming to visit:

My sisters are spending July 4 in DC! Hooray! I’m so excited to cook, eat, shop, sit by the pool, gossip and do everything but think about triathlon. They’re my best friends, and we’re a lot of fun when we’re together.

Anyone else want to play?

So — for a few days I won’t be blogging. I won’t be training. I probably won’t even be reading your blogs either. So if I don’t comment until next week, it isn’t because I don’t love you. I don’t want to read Competitor.com or check the DC Tri message boards or look at TrainingPeaks. Instead, I’ll be thinking up exciting things to make in the kitchen, planning for July 4th fireworks and maybe buying some new “real person” clothes for the first time in 2011.

See y’all next week!

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Discussion

14 thoughts on “Checking Out: The Mental Break

  1. adorable family photos! hope you have a fun and relaxing weekend.

    Posted by Olga @ MangoTomato | June 30, 2011, 11:58 AM
  2. YES! I think you deserve a mental and physical break and some wonderful time with your sisters! Have a great weekend and you will totally be recharged for next week!

    Posted by Lauren | June 30, 2011, 12:02 PM
  3. Complete glycogen replenishment can take a really long time after something as long as the total 200. Your liver is probably not happy with the situation, but it will work out. Just rest. Remember, quality kicks quantity’s ass. Better to rest and get in some quality workouts later than to do nothing but garbage mileage/meters for weeks.

    Posted by Victoria (District Chocoholic) | June 30, 2011, 12:10 PM
  4. Sounds like you need to take a little break to get your momentum back. Before you know it you will be ready to get back at it!

    Posted by Shannon | June 30, 2011, 1:12 PM
  5. Enjoy the break. You still have lots of time and many many harder workouts ahead of you. No need to burnout now! Save it for the day after the race 🙂

    Posted by Jon | June 30, 2011, 1:13 PM
  6. Yup, you’re right, I could have written this. Not in reference to IM training, but just….burnt. I’ll be glad to hang with you and relax this weekend!

    Posted by katie | June 30, 2011, 1:26 PM
  7. I hope you enjoy the break and have a great time with your sisters! I’ve been feeling unmotivated/burned out recently too, and I am training for a LOT shorter race so I can only imagine how it must be for you. I also linked to your post since you expressed everything so well!

    Posted by Allison | June 30, 2011, 1:39 PM
  8. I think this will be just what you need. ENJOY IT!!

    Posted by 321delish | June 30, 2011, 2:12 PM
  9. very very wise decision. please rest as hard as you train for these next few days and enjoy having the sisters in town!

    Posted by Emily | June 30, 2011, 2:26 PM
  10. 1) I’m not crazy.
    2) Thanks for the love.
    3) Please credit that beach picture to me.
    4) Yipeeeee I can’t wait for this weekend. I approve of all aforementioned activities.

    Posted by Caroline | June 30, 2011, 8:42 PM
  11. 1) Great post, Emmy!!
    2) I want to be one of the gurlzzzzzzzz!
    3) Eat, drink and be merry!
    4) XOXO

    Posted by Jenny | July 1, 2011, 8:49 AM
  12. Love this! And I want to live in that house too! Enjoy your mental break. You deserve it. I definitely think my time in napa last weekend gave me the mental break I needed to pound out these last couple months of hard training for IMWI. Hey Crowie just won IMCDA after many weeks of reduced training and rest days. They really can be beneficial. Have a great time with your sisters!

    Posted by ktfit | July 1, 2011, 10:15 AM
  13. Aw, I am totally on board with this plan! NO ONE can blame you for needing some recovery time after total 200….you are a beast for riding 200+ miles and jumping into an intense week of IM training after that. You are smart to listen to you body and mind and take the time off, like your coach said–it will not hurt your IM training, only help! I’ve learned the hard way that when I try and push through those really really rough times I just get sick or injured, which costs me more training time in the end than if I had just taken a few days off. I am totally on the same page, too–not physically, but mentally. The last few weeks of thesis cramming have totally fried my brain, and I somewhat inadvertently found myself as far away from the computer and anything that involved thought over this long weekend, it was great!

    I love the pictures of you and your sisters! Adorable. I hope you guys had a great weekend!!!:)

    Posted by Erin @ untilyoutri | July 5, 2011, 1:10 PM

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