Did you know there is more to life than triathlon? No? Me neither. Or at least I’d forgotten.
My lovely girlfriends came over last night for our August book club meeting. Because I’m in taper mode and completed my 4000m swim in the morning, I was actually able to attend (rather than pass hostess duties off on my patient roommate). Hanging out with people who don’t care about triathlon was so refreshing, and I remembered how much I miss sitting around, drinking wine, eating good food and talking about all things other than my most recent run.
This whole mental strategy of using taper to relax and keep from stressing about the race has really got me thinking about all the things I want to do when IM is over. I’ve given up a lot to dedicate every moment of my life to training, and while I know I’ll continue to swim/bike/run for a long time, I’m excited for the off-season and getting back to parts of my real life that I haven’t had time for since last winter. I have a really creative side that triathlon doesn’t really nurture — and hey, most of you wouldn’t recognize me if I weren’t wearing spandex, right?
Just a few things I’ve come up with so far:
Pick up my camera. I was really into photography in college and did a bunch of long-term documentary projects with a fancy SLR I received as a Christmas gift. Other than the occasional picture for this blog, it hasn’t gotten much use since. As summer turns to fall in D.C., what better way to spend some free time than wandering around with my camera in tow?
Learn Adobe CS4. Along similar lines, I had big ambitions of channeling my creative side to do web design, layout, photo editing, etc. I’ve had the entire suite of Adobe software on my beauuuuutiful 17-inch Macbook for awhile now but haven’t taken the time to learn more than the basics.
Finish sewing projects. Did you know that I have all these random domestic skills? Probably not. But I actually love DIY projects and have made some of the stuff we’ve used to decorate our apartment, along with a few clothing items for myself. It’s a very soothing activity and pretty cool to look around my room and think “hey, I *made* that!”
Write for fun. I write for a living and I write for this blog, but that doesn’t really cover the extent of my writing skills or interests. When I was little, I wanted to write mystery stories, and I practiced using a blue spiral notebook and a blue calligraphy pen. My grandmother gave me journals and led me through brainstorming exercises to get those ideas flowing. I really enjoy long-form nonfiction, but I’d like to try out fiction, short stories and — the simplest of all — letters.
Keep up with world news. I’m not great about current events other than those that relate directly to my day job. I should probably work a little bit harder to be a more informed citizen.
Read for pleasure. Ditto on reading. I spend a lot of my day reading and writing as it relates to my job, which leaves me wanting nothing more than sleep and/or a good mindless hour in front of the TV. But I’ve read six books in the last two weeks (thanks, beach vacation), which reminded me that I’ve been an avid reader since before I could actually read myself.
Cook. Training hasn’t eliminated this from my life completely, but it has forced me to simplify and cook less often than I’d like. When I finally am able to get home before 9pm — when I’m starving and basically eat whatever I can get my hands on — I’ll have the chance to experiment more often, shop for great ingredients at the farmers market, have friends over to share, etc.
Pursue other athletic endeavors. There are a lot of active things I’d like to do that are decidedly not in my training plan. Even if they were, I wouldn’t have the time, energy or money for them. But rock climbing, surfing and paddleboarding — and maybe some dance classes — are at the top of the list.
Otherwise, I’d like to spend every waking moment at the beach. Is that too much to ask?