The Challenge of Slowing Down

This post has nothing to do with getting old, climbing hills or anything like that…….I’m talking about the off-season!  My stressful “off-season”.   I’ve always LOVED off-season.  A time to just do whatever.  Long rides, no pressure runs and races galore……..all just for the fun of it.  But, something happened this year.  October is here and my mind is still racing.  My body wants to sleep late and eat Pumpkin cookies, but my head tells me to schedule another long brick.  WHAT IS THE DEAL????

Let’s start from the beginning.  12 months ago I PR’d the St. George Marathon and was standing at the doorstep of the Boston Marathon with the BIGGEST BRIGHTEST smile on my face 🙂  From November to January, I raced the majority of the weekends and ran more miles than I ever have over the winter (Thank you St. George weather!).  January came and went with another race and a long run training plan well underway.  February brought a hiatus from racing but running 20 milers and riding long became staples.  In March the racing started again with marathon, after, marathon, after, marathon.  By May I had 4 marathon distance races under my belt for 2011 and was headed into triathlon season.  Racing one triathlon a month through the summer brought a swift close to August and my goal triathlon race of the year.  Pause……..Deep breath………..What now??????

I had no marathon to train for and no training plan to follow.  What’s a girl to do?  I signed up for another triathlon and quickly found myself on the injured list from a fall off my bike.   I thought I had it all figured out.  Everything was fine.  One more triathlon to round out the season and then OCTOBER!  My favorite month of the year with it’s hope for cooler temperatures and lazy mornings in bed.  That darn bike crash.  I felt the need to compensate so I signed up for another race.  I was determined.  Four marathons and four triathlons for the year………..Pause……….deep breath…………Ugh…………..

So here I sit, well into the month of October.  The weather is SPECTACULAR!  The mornings are pitch black and cool and I have a race on Saturday.  A half ironman.  In Las Vegas.  It’s going to be 90 degrees.  It’s going to be hilly.  It may kill me!  My Type-A personality is having bouts of psychosis right now.  Am I prepared?  Can I handle this challenge?  What the heck was I thinking? Serenity Now!!!!

Okay, let’s take this down a notch.  Clearly, I need a break!  My body is screaming for a chance to regroup.  That isn’t a terrible place to be at the end of a season.  It means that you have worked hard and will go into next season with a strong base.  But there is a point where you need to slow down.  No athlete can train year round without risk.  The problem is, I just can’t seem to tell my head that.  My personality is split right now.  One part of me just wants to play it cool this weekend at the race and enjoy myself.  The other part threatens to  it swim, bike and run it’s guts out in order to make the best showing possible.

I have one questions for this overdriven side of my personality…………Why?  What is so wrong about racing just to race?  Racing not for time, but for the fun of being surrounded by amazing athletes and people who come together to enjoy the talents they have been given.  At the end of the day, does it really matter if someone thinks you were slow or “off your game”?  Does it matter where your name falls on the list of finishers.  1st place is no different than 300th place.  At the end of the day everyone followed the same course and crossed the same finish line.

So there it is……..Out of my head and into cyberspace.  I’m officially going to stop stressing about this upcoming race and start my “off-season” NOW!  Today!  There are so many more training days and races to come.  So many more challenges to accept and conquer.  Right now, my challenge is to slow down.  To quiet the noise inside and outside of my head and just BE.  All of this is far harder than you think……..but I’ve done hard things before, right?

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