I’ve been under the weather for nearly 4 solid weeks now. I’m afraid “under the weather” is a gross understatement though. About a month ago I came down with what initially felt like the flu (body aches, alternating chilling and sweating, etc). One day off of work turned into 5 solid days off of work and subsequently 2 1/2 additional weeks of violent coughing, ear infections, and dizziness. Now I’m finally ever so gradually regaining my health and strength. At the end of this week I’ll be 4 solid weeks with no exercise.
In my world though that’s actually a good thing. I trained for an competed in 3 Ironman 70.3 events, in addition to some smaller events in the last 10 months. My fitness level was pretty high and for the first time in many years I was enjoying training again. My last race was August 7th in Boulder, but I kept training at a high volume – even taking off from work on my birthday and going for an easy 50 mile ride. The last weekend of September I went for a 10 mile run with my buddy Chris Blaylock. Something didn’t feel right though. I kept asking him to slow down. I just didn’t have my usual energy (although we eventually ran a pretty fast 10 mile time). The next day the bug hit me. I was going to get the rest I needed whether I liked it or not.
Enter the forced offseason: I coach endurance athletes on the importance of a solid offseason: just good old fashioned laziness for a few weeks to let your body and mind recuperate before the rigors of next season’s training and racing. It’s imporant to let your legs and lungs recover. I think it’s just as imporant for your mind. Sometimes its just not fun getting up at 4:45am to go swim in the middle of the winter or bundling up in 14 layers to go for a 3 hour ride in the sleet. Your mind has to rest from those demands. I didn’t do a good job of shutting myself down after my last races of 2011 and I paid for it. Your body will shut you down eventually and mine did.
The first week I was sick I didn’t think about triahtlon or training at all. I just laid in bed and watched baseball (an entire playoff triple header one day!). By week three I was reading training plans and articles, mapping out possible racing schedules for 2012, planning my restrengtheing regime, setting goals, etc. My mind was healing. Now, I’m dieing to train. I can’t wait to get back out there! I did my first workout in several weeks today during lunch – I made it through half of my lunch time yoga class. It’s a start. One more week off from swimming, biking, and running and hopefully I’ll be ready to go again physically. November holds lots of easy trail running and lifting. By December…it’s time for a 20 week half-ironman plan. First race? Tentatively Rev 3 Knoxville HalfIronman May 6.
Bonus! New pic of the kiddos: