These last 4 weeks have been amazingly wonderful training wise. The first week, I know I felt good, but I took it with a grain of salt (heck its the first week, of course I felt good). I figured by the 2nd-3rd week it be back to the grind as usual, but this is the end of week #4 and I feel even better. What the heck is happening? I can’t wait to get to the pool, and I welcome the comfort of pain in the water and enjoying pushing the limits on the run and bike now. If I had a mirror, I would swear that I was smiling when doing hard 100’s, 5:30 pace miles, and 350-400 watt 1 min intervals. Whatever the task for the day is I just can’t wait to be out there (or in the garage to train on the bike) and being one with the earth or water. At first, I told myself your just on a high and its only the beginning of season. I look back to last Jan/Feb to compare and “NOPE” not the same feeling. I had drive last year in the beginning as well, but it was a different kind of drive (hard to explain). To put it best, last year’s drive was more goal oriented meaning get to X pace, or finish Y race in Z amount of time. The work to reward ratio last year was to inversely correlated to bring true joy and success. I’d work my arse off for one day of competition (a day in which anything could go wrong) and when I finished I still wasn’t happy as I thought I could do better. In number terms its like putting in 99 hours of work and getting 1 minute of joy in return. In the long run, it’s a recipe for disaster.
So what the hell changed? First the physical, I stopped “dieting”. Now I eat a lifestyle of whole grains, fruits, and vegetable, with seldom mixes of carnivorous foods 3-4 times a week. I’m not vegetarian by no means now, I just don’t eat meat every single day anymore. On these days I make sure to get in good amounts of non-animal protein to compensate. I’ve put on 2-3lbs since the end of season, but I think I actually lost more body fat. Shoulders are bigger and stronger and starting to get a well defined 4 pack (that last two packs just below the belly are so dam stubborn). I actually think the last two packs are more excess skin then anything, who knows, and more importantly I don’t care if I loose another lb again, as long as I feel like I do today. I still get the little voice in the back of my head that says you’ll race much better at 160 then the 173 you are today. Just gotta believe that my body will naturally get to where its optimal as long as I keep fueling my body correctly and training properly. Leave the weight in the hands of the workout and nutrition and the body will take care of itself.
Second, I started taking supplements regularly. Whey protein (20 gm/ day), fish oil, green tea extract, calcium, fiber, and cla (control bf for out of competition season). I think these things have helped to keep my body in balance with the training load I’ve put on and aid in proper recovery. So both of these changes I feel have helped in having the energy to train and more importantly in recovery. But it still doesn’t answer the question of why I’m like on kid on Christmas twice a day wanting to get out there to train my ass off. It’s gotta be the mental then.
During the 3-4 week break of light training I had a lot of time on my hands to think and reflect on the past season and look at the future. I did some serious light weight resistance training and hated every minute of it (just didn’t enjoy it), eventually it began to feel like a job, I started feeling the same way I felt endurance training. Looking at the goal ahead that is never attainable instead of enjoying the reward that gives back. I’ve kept asking my self “was it all worth it?” The time, money, isolating myself from family on sat. morning. On paper it was an emphatic NO, if someone other than myself was looking at it from a neutral position. Then I looked to the future, what’s my goal now? To win my AG and go to Kona. Okay, then what, win OAAAG at races and win AG at Kona. Came to realize that its a never ending dangling carrot that brings very little satisfaction. Then the real question hit me “Then why the hell am I doing this?” um, because I enjoy it. I do? I don’t see that I do? Its all task oriented, each and every stroke, stride, and watt. How do I change this I thought to myself and continued on?
I don’t know when it happened or how it happened, but I found the joy of endurance training that last week of rest before we dove back into training. I would say “again”, but it was never really there to begin with. Yeah, I liked SBR, but it was more of a challenge/ goal, not a joy like taking a scenic walk with your spouse, spending quality with your kids, etc kind of joy. You don’t set goals for these things, you just enjoy them and get as many of them as you can while you can. You don’t say I’m gonna spend XX min. doing YY with my kids this weekend. You say, I gonna do XX with my kids because we enjoy it and do it until the fun is over. I was looking for a reward (race win) at the end that doesn’t give back (except a plaque, medal, etc) instead of enjoying the true reward that lies in plain view each and every time I get out there and swim, bike, and run. Its hard to explain on paper the aura I feel now endurance training. Ask any triathlete if they love SBR and you get the emphatic “YES”, but more than likely the yes you get is the goal oriented, carrot dangling, never gives back kind of joy.
I’m glad that whatever happened to me during that time off happened. Its change the way I think and train, and will change the way I race too! Is it noon yet, I want to go swim now! =)
Just some inner ramblings that I thought some of you would enjoy and hopefully recall in your hearts and minds why we do this.
Have a great Christmas, Hanukkah, Quansa, etc. everyone.