So this is what it's like to be a "retired" athlete. Now that the Official Wedding Countdown Clock is ticking loudly, I've noticed that my workouts are becoming fewer and farther between. What used to be a 1.5 hour trail run has become a 30-minute jog around the block. A 1.5 hour bike ride at Griffith Park has become a one hour (albeit quite intense) session on my new CompuTrainer. About the only thing I've kept up with is my swimming, on strict orders from Coach Gerardo that I get in the pool four times a week to work on improving technique. I've even failed at that, hitting three swim sessions a week appears to be my ceiling at the moment.
I'm having a hard time watching my fitness vanish in front of my eyes. I've gained a couple extra pounds -- which is great for wedding photos but bad for my psyche. I know this is the time where I'm supposed to be totally OK with letting go of training, but I just can't quite do it. Am I experiencing withdrawal? What's wrong with me? Shouldn't I be able to just relax a bit and "let go?"
I don't think letting go is really in my nature. Instead, I try to juggle everything equally. It's been pointed out to me that all my activities suffer equally when I don't prioritize. But at the same time, maybe it's stupid pride or ego but I always think I can keep everything rolling just fine at once thankyouverymuch.
I'm not sure what to do next. I still schedule and fill out my Training Peaks workouts even though my true goal is just to stay in shape through the honeymoon so I can resume my coached training full-throttle. Yet the workouts get shorter and less intense. I wonder if I should just let it all go for a bit and not worry? How much base fitness would I really lose if I just started over in late September? Even when I schedule the workouts, the high volume of red indicating my lack of completing them means my plans and reality just aren't meshing at the moment.
I don't think I'll ever know if I can just let it all go. Frankly, I'm feeling rather addicted to staying in shape, for better or worse. I'm simply happier when I get a run, swim or bike ride in every day. I suppose the real challenge then is managing the addiction. There's got to be a better way. Either don't train and don't worry about it, do train and be happy with whatever workouts I can fit in, or rigidly schedule a rigorous schedule at all costs. Currently, I'm in the middle situation, yet I still long for pushing myself harder. At the same time, I love the free moments on a Saturday or Sunday where it's the middle of the day and I can do pretty much whatever I want. I'm not atop a hill in Malibu with another three hours of training. If Steph wants to grab lunch or an early dinner, it's no problem. So I'm split between laziness and hunger. I want the results without the high price that comes with achieving those results.
I suppose that's not too different a feeling even when I am training!
Right now, I'm marveling at how I even found the time to complete two Ironman races. When you're in the moment doing it, it seems perfectly normal. When you step away, the achievement becomes magnified. Not because of the race, but because of everything that led to it.
Maybe that kind of context is necessary? Maybe I have to lose some fitness to gain some perspective?