off–icially the off season!
I remember the day vividly. I had just had a week to flush out from Vegas, and this was the first session of my next training block. Time to get back on it for Austin! It was a 50 minute run, but I didn’t want to do it. Instead, I wanted to stay home and hang out with Grace for the morning. But I can’t – my plan says I have to run 50 minutes. If I don’t go then I’m not going to be ready for Austin. So I begrudgingly decided to go for the run and get back in time to take Grace to our mommy and me gym class. I left the house and I could feel the frustration in my first steps out the door. My feet were more like pounding on the ground, and for some reason I couldn’t quiet them. Then I noticed an unfamiliar sensation on the top of my foot. Gosh darn it, what is that? I don’t have time for this! Whatever it is, I thought, I’m sure I can run it off. So I kept going…and going…and going…until I couldn’t go anymore. I had broken it; six weeks in a boot; no Austin this year.
That day I had followed a piece of paper called my training plan. Assuming it knew best, I talked myself into that run rather than listening to my body and my intuition. Looking at it now, I think it was a lack of confidence in myself. That’s not to say that my foot wouldn’t have broken eventually, but I find it quite ironic, or serendipitous, that it happened on that run. It was like my body was saying not today, but I didn’t have the wisdom to listen. Deep down, I felt that Vegas was the period to my season and I was ready to focus on family trips, social obligations, and mental rejuvenation. But the competitive spirit in me wanted to fit just one more race in. I think my ego was telling me that I had something to prove after Vegas, and I didn’t acknowledge the little voice inside my head reassuring me that it was okay to be done; that I had accomplished so much this season; that I should be proud of all my wins and take what I had learned this year into next season. So I pushed myself instead of trusting myself.
As my evolution as an athlete continues, I am learning that I have to rely less on a piece of paper, and more on my own instinct. Only then will I truly be an active participant on my journey and continue to progress. Now that my season has officially come to an end, I have had a chance to slow down a bit and reflect on the 2013 season. While it might not have been the season I was hoping for, and a year of “what could have been,” I do know that I have grown as an athlete and as a person. Looking back to the beginning of the year, I see myself as very naive to the sport of triathlon. I thought our plan sounded simple…win some races this year, gain some racing experience, and then turn pro for the 2014 season. I didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t do that if I just followed my training plan. But I quickly learned that this sport is not all “rainbows and butterflies”. In this sport, as in life, even with the best plan sometimes the unexpected occurs and you have to adjust your course. I know that I will be met with adversity on this journey, but those are the times I can learn the most about myself and what I am made of.
I have more of a fire in my belly for next season than I have ever had. I feel like a bull at a rodeo – I have been held back for long enough, so when those gates open I am going to go full steam ahead like never before! This will be the year to gain the wisdom and experience I need to get to that next level. And as much as my type-A personality loves to follow a good training plan, I am going to remind myself every once in a while that, after all, it is “just a piece of paper” ☺
Good times so far this off season…