Couch Potato Mode

OK. I am not the couchiest of all couch potatoes, but like most things in life, it’s all relative. And compared to where I was, it was definitely a couch potato week for me. And probably kinda necessary.

Let me start at the beginning. After my race (that wasn’t) in VEnice, FL I had a very down week in terms of training. Basically it was enough to keep my muscles somewhat lose and to work the soreness out. And that was about it. The week after that I had….”Athlete’s Choice”.

What is Athlete’s Choice you ask? It is a week off, and a week to play. No training is allowed. As Mary wrote in my TrainingPeaks I could walk, do yoga, snow shoe and Kayak. Snow shoe in Georgia in November? Yup….Mary’s colorful way of telling me to take it easy.

I was prepared to enjoy my athlete’s choice. I was going to go to a water aerobics class. I really enjoy those. The people there enjoy themselves and being there. It’s about chatting and getting a decent, feel good, low intensity work out (people can do higher intensity but I chose not to). Well, I never made it. Not to a yoga class. Not to a Pilates class. And not to a water aerobics class.

Why? There were two factors at play here. Actually, maybe three. First, after my accident I knew that, although I had no broken bones and no major injuries, my leg muscles had been hurt/traumatized when they hit my bike handlebars causing me to flip over and land (safely and uninjured) on my back. They had adsorbed a lot of forward momentum and were quite bruised. They needed to recover. Yes, they could have recovered if I kept pushing or if I had done water aerobics but this was a week I could take off and just let them heal. I knew I would be better off for just letting them heal.

Second, I realized I don’t want to be an athlete who can’t relax or take a week off. I have worked very hard. And I have made great strides in what I can do on the swim, bike and run. And I know I have a lot more work ahead of me to get to my goals. I like to work…hard. But, sometimes a bit of time off will let you come back stronger. Yes, it is scary…what if I can’t get back in the groove? What if I really love not pushing and driving? What if…? Lots of that can float around.

Well, if I have trusted my coach and my body to respond to my work so far, why is this any different? I need to be able to enjoy where I am and what I am doing. And trust that all that work will not go away, and things will come back when I start back up on Monday. Yes, it may take a few days, or it may be like a switch and I am just ready. But it will work out. And I believe my body will be the happier for the rest. And this little vacation isn’t like getting back to work after a vacation where you have emails in your inbox to sort through and people need to speak with you and you feel behind and have to readjust to work….this is getting back to training…something I chose to do, and something I look forward to every time I get to so it. There are no emails. There are no backlogs. It’s just hopping back on the schedule and getting back to my happy. I think I can handle that.

And then there is that whole day-light-savings time thing. It’s dark by 6 p.m., and it takes a bit of adjustment time to not want to go to bed at 8, or to be motivated to go out and do something. But as the week progressed I could tell I was adapting. But it will always be an effort to get going in the evening for me, especially when dark. Waking up and working out in the dark is simple.

With all that said, as I alluded to, I didn’t just sit on the couch and eat potato chips. I ate pretty well (except we had corn bread muffins in the house, which I did enjoy thoroughly). I also walked. I walked a decent pace. The first morning I met a neighbor, Russell, who walked at the same time and he walks fast. I kept up with him! we walked together on Thursday as well, and I saw him on another day. On Tuesday, Election Day, I grabbed an umbrella and walked in the rain to my polling center. It was fun. The funny part is my hamstrings were a bit sore because I am not used to walking that much. Running yes. Walking no! So I also stretched.

And after seeing my friend Ann do headstands last weekend I was inspired to work on them as well. She was able to do yoga poses in the headstand. Me? I just worked at keeping myself upright. I kept about 8 inches from the wall (so it was there as a mental aid and not to keep me upright for the most part). But, I was amazed and loved the simple strength and elegance from muscle control and core strength Ann was able to achieve when doing the stands, and I want to work on the same thing myself. Carlos just thinks I am crazy. Nothing new there!

I also cooked, ran errands (getting things set for a new bike, taking care of details with the old), cleaned a bit, washed and folded laundry and just got things done in that time without having to really fit it all in.

I did go to my team’s swim. I am a part of the Team in Training Georgia chapter Ironteam, and I wanted to at least go to the team meeting before and be with my teammates and friends. I got in the water for about a half an hour after Michael thought about tossing me in (have I mentioned that I love my team and coaches?)! But I split a lane with Jim and did my own thing and didn’t follow the workout. I just enjoyed myself and thought “I don’t have to swim today to achieve my goals. I can get out early. So I will.” I hopped out, chatted with my coaches Mary and Michael, and then headed home. I felt pretty OK with that. Although it may have been better to not get in at all. đŸ™‚

So I was active, but not training. I got things done but wasn’t pressured to do them. And I am feeling pretty confident that on Monday I will get up and slip in to the water at Masters swim and enjoy my time with everyone there. And we shall see what Mary has in store with for me. She’s not telling until Sunday so I can just relax and not think about next week. We’ve worked together for over two years now…I think she kinda knows me.

This week was good for me. I am still a little nervous about the reality of stepping back in to my training schedule and “fitting it all in” but….I will just trust and believe it’ll be OK…because it will be. I have done it all before! And I will be the stronger for giving my body (and brain) some downtime.

My next race is in Naples, FL in January. I am pretty excited. That racing feeling is waiting for me! And to actually finish!

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One thought on “Couch Potato Mode

  1. I am so impressed by how you’re taking this all in stride and really giving yourself space to relax. It’s hard for people like us that are driven, but I find I come back from these “rest” times more motivated than ever. Love that you tried headstands–some of my favorites–that’s the former gymnast in me! And that cornbread sounds yummy!

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