140.6: The Aftermath
IM Florida was almost 5 months ago already. 5 months! That just sounds crazy to me. There was a year to prepare. There was a day to remember. Now all that is 5 months in the past. The next crop of Ironmen-To-Be are ramping up their training, wondering what to eat, wondering what to drink, denying themselves rest days, and wondering if it’s too soon to think about what to pack.
The last 5 months have not been what I hoped. For a year I put in an insane training schedule that was still moderate for Ironman standards. Training became a habit, a way of life even. I never imagined I’d fall off the wagon. But I did.
In the weeks before Ironman, I was offered a new job. I delayed my start date because of the race. My new employers were understanding, but wanted me to start as soon as possible. We pulled into the driveway very late on Tuesday night after 2 days on the road. On Wednesday I cut my vacation short and went in to my old job to tie up some loose ends, and then Monday I was on a plane for a 10 day trip to train for my new position. It was the first time I had been away from my family for more than a few days. I was still in recovery. In less than a month I travelled back and forth to Washington DC for Tom’s Marine Corps Marathon, back and forth to Florida for Ironman and then back and forth to Pennsylvania for my new job. It was one hell of a month. And it was exhausting.
I started my new job and went from a VERY flexible 30 hour work week to a regular schedule of 10-11 hour days including weekends with most of it spent on my feet. I’m not whining. I know there are plenty of triathletes that work long shifts, sometimes multiple jobs, all of it on their feet. But for me it was an adjustment. I’ve always grown bored very quickly behind a desk, and have always been as active as possible at work. But this was a whole different thing. I found that I could work the extra 20 hours a week no problem, but it was hard to get back to training. Sleep just felt so much better.
Then there is the whole S.A.D. thing. If you don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder, say a prayer of thanks to whatever higher being you believe in, be it God, Buddha, Allah or Specialized. Also, shut the hell up before you say something stupid like “it’s all in your head.” It’s not. As soon as the days shorten and the sky gets gloomier, it feels like an energy switch is shut off inside and it cannot be turned back on by force of will. I know this because I’ve tried every November and December for almost 14 years.
So…between the new job, the change of seasons, and renewal of my Netflix subscription…I went from 6 days training anywhere between 13-19 hours a week, to 2 hours a week…if I’m lucky. The whole time feeling like crap because I see many of the other people I trained
behind with all last year keep moving forward. They’re running and spinning and swimming and
not at all acting as exhausted as I feel.
But hope is not lost. The sun is out more often than not, and days are getting longer. The weather has warmed up enough on a few occasions that I actually WANT to get out and run. There are bulbs blooming and I smelled hyacinth while walking into a store a few days ago.
On those days that I actually get my ass moving, it feels good. Sometimes a little stiff in the beginning, but that happened before my hiatus. My running pace is
a significantly a faster version of slow about
a minute faster than this same time last year.
Recovery has been pretty quick. In
fact, a few weeks ago when I was spent from the longest run I had done in a
while, I walked up the stairs in my house to take a shower and as that veil of
fatigue from working out came over me. I
I’m signed up for a few races already this year, including the inaugural IM Ohio 70.3 in August and as of this morning, the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I’m not going to sit on my ass for much longer. In fact, in the middle of typing this post I debated about taking a nap…which I actually really need…but I realized that it wasn’t raining at the moment, and the storms will be back any time. So instead of putting off my run until I couldn’t go because of a tornado warning…I laced up my shoes and ran.
Five months. It seems like the blink of an eye. It also seems like an eternity ago.
One thing I haven’t missed in the last five months is smelling this bad all the time. Peace out world…this Ironman needs a shower.