Embracing the pauses

Let me be upfront: Recovery is not going smoothly.

After my DoubleMussel extravaganza, I took a few days off then came back with workouts, lower in intensity but still pretty decent as far as distance. Only they didn’t feel quite right. There was no pain, just very low energy. A sore throat turned into a runny nose turned into some nasty chest congestion which wasn’t helping things.

But I didn’t want to whine. Whiny is for losers, right? People who can’t suck it up. I wanted to display perseverance and sticktoitiveness. I wanted to be tough.

What I have learned in the last few years is the valuable lesson of paying attention. I needed to pay attention to what was going on around me, what was going on in my body and what my intuition was telling me.

The last two days sealed the deal for me. My track workout was off. All off. I wasn’t even close to hitting the times on my workout and they were completely achievable times. Time I had hit recently in fact. But my legs had no pop and (sorry for being gross) my breathing was labored through the slime of mucus. This did not feel good. At all.

Then came an easy 12K run — about 7.5 miles. I got all 7.5 in but at no point did it feel good. My legs felt heavy and I had to work hard to maintain my normal easy pace.

No, I didn’t want to whine. But I knew my body. My body was asking for rest.

So I fired off an email to my coach to explain what had happened. Perhaps I was approaching my workouts wrong? I didn’t want to whine, I assured him, but this, well, this just wasn’t feeling right.

He replied that it sounded like I had some type of infection (hence my nose and throat being one large mucus ball) and that I likely still wasn’t fully recovered from the triathlons two weeks ago. So he downsized the rest of my workouts for the week.

I know how valuable rest and recovery are. I believe that a scaled-back version for the rest of this week will actually put me in a stronger position next week and going forward into the 70.3 at Allegany State Park in September. Here’s the key: To not get discouraged. To see this as an opportunity not a set back. To see this as a time to take care of myself with good food, hydration, rest and purposeful movement. It is in the pauses that we grow stronger.

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