I really feel as if Cedar Point was my season-ending race, and everything that came after was just a bunch of half-assed training shenanigans.
I wrestled hard with my bicycle motivation in particular throughout October, and last Saturday was thrilled to unpack it from the car and back into the basement, where it has lain, still in pieces and covered with mud, for the past week.
I decided a few days before B2B that I was going to take a solid week off after the race. I've read a pile of articles/blog posts/chapters in books recently about rest following a long season, and it appealed to me quite strongly. Last year I felt the same drop in motivation, although it didn't show up until after I ran a half in late November and was staring down a long winter of trainer workouts and time in the pool. From my training log, I can see that I took off four days in a row, and that was enough. Poking back through my log even further, I don't think I've taken more than a day or two off in a row for over three years now, with the exception of that rest last November and the week Graham was sick post-CdA in June. And while I did not exercise, that week was certainly not restful.
I also decided that I would do this because I had enough little niggles in my body that I wanted to give everything time to just chill out. My AC joint in my shoulder was really inflamed, and after a few weeks of rotator cuff strengthening and the usual home remedies were not working, I got a cortisone shot in it to really attack the inflammation. I had a "massage" but I would actually call it a "serious deep tissue work OMG THAT HURTS" appointment on Thursday, and then just let everything heal and wash away.
So a solid week off it was. No bike dates, no running, no "I'll rest except lift and take a yoga class," no swimming, even walking quickly was banned. In an unfortunate twist of timing, I ended up traveling for part of the week which detracted from my laying around and eating cookies, but I still managed to stuff in quite a bit of laziness and gain at least 3lbs in the remaining days.
So how do I feel, a week later? Well, fat, for one thing, but not in a panicky way, more of in a laughing "wow look how quickly I got soft" way. Most of my niggles feel much better or are gone entirely. Spending hours in a plane crunched up didn't help, but even that has washed away. I think allowing myself to take a lot of time off was a really good mental reset, as well. I'm ready to run again, lots of little stuff, I'm ready to be in the pool again, I'm ready to get moving again. Motivation is sneaking back.
For the rest of the month, I'll be on the "doing things I want to do with friends and no watch" plan. I've gone out for two short runs, one a chatty loop and one a solitary loop, neither with any kind of electronics attached to me. I'm going to take a couple of yoga classes. I'm going to do lots of short little runs in all my favorite places before I pack up and move to CO. I am NOT looking forward to the altitude adjustment period that comes along with a move to Boulder, so I'm even happier to be keeping everything short and social for a while. I'm going to do a little bit of lifting, but nothing with any real weights, mostly injury prevention type stretchy band work. I am going to do swims that I love and ignore my bike. I might jump in a half marathon just for the joy of running. And when December 1 rolls around again, I know that I'll be ready to put the wheels back on my bike and settle into a winter full of solid aerobic work, which I am already looking forward to almost as much as I was looking forward to a week off. I had a great season of triathlon, albeit a long season, and now it's time to rest and put down deep roots for next year.
Tell me, friendly friends. Do you take deep rest at the end of your season, or am I just making up crap so I can be lazy?