Burn Out

Burn out.  It happens.  I can’t remember it ever happening to me in the few weeks leading up to a race, but this time it did.  Racine is 32 days away.  And I just don’t feel like training.  I just want to sleep.  For like a week.

I got back from Ragnar last week and managed to shuffle my way through the week of post-race blues.  I kept telling myself at least I have Racine 70.3 to look forward to in just over a month.  But for this week, I have absolutely zero to show for my training.  My hip has been bugging me since the relay last weekend, so I pretty much took running out of the equation for the last 10 days, with the exception of a mile and a half that I ran last Thursday with Ethan who was dragging me along the entire way, telling me to hurry up.  I think it took me nearly 14 minutes to go 1.25 miles…painfully slow.  Literally. I hurt.

I did manage to work in some laps in the pool, several miles on the bike and some strength training.  Sunday morning I rode almost 30 miles, partially in a downpour, before heading in to work.  But since then…nothing.  I have done absolutely zip.  On Monday, I had to refocus my priorities to tend to things like retirement funds and taxes and life insurance and broken air conditioner units.  All things I had been pretty much avoiding for about a month.  Except the AC, that kinda snuck up on me, and I knew I needed to deal with it before the real St. Louis summer arrives.  Basically, anything regarding finances is pretty much like someone speaking Japanese to me, so rather than try to understand it, I just smile and nod and go on my merry way.  Then I ride off into the sunset thinking that if I just ignore it, I won’t ever have to deal with it again.  Well, yesterday, it was time to stop avoiding things and confront them head on.  So I did.  But it pretty much sucked up my whole day and after a while I decided my Monday brick workout was out the window.  And I was, oddly, ok with that.

Eventually I made my way to work.  And afterwards, we had our standing Monday night girls outing…me, Linds and Katrina.  Occasionally, one of us doesn’t make it (which usually involves one of those two having plans with a boy) but last night we all ditched our plans and joined up for some 54th St Therapy.  Katrina sidelined packing and prep for this weekend, Linds bailed on the new guy from “match” and I happily saved my Chinese take-out and viewing of the Bachelorette for another night.

Anyway, I had considered going to swimming this morning, but when I was asked to take custody of the kids a little earlier than normal, of course I couldn’t refuse.  So, my swim workout again fell by the wayside.  And again I wasn’t terribly disappointed.  Relieved is probably more accurate.

I tell people all the time that eventually something will come up to throw a wrench in their training.  I had a customer the other day who insisted he wouldn’t miss a training run leading up to the Chicago Marathon in Oct.  I told him that chances were good that he would get sick or something would come up at some point to make him skip a run or even two, but he should remember it isn’t the end of the world.  Just pick up where you left off and keep on going.  He insisted he wouldn’t slip, not even once.  Ok, dude, we’ll just see about that.

So, why is it that after missing two of my crucial workout days, I am considering throwing in the towel?  This isn’t like me.  I don’t always practice what I preach (ie-Get on the foam roller everyday!…uh, yeah, I do that…usually…sometimes…not really) but honestly, I’ve never been one to be worried after skipping a workout or two.  However, tonight as I sat on my booty at the pool with the kids, eating a dinner consisting primarily of brownies and Swedish fish, I found myself considering the possibility that I have taken on one too many races and I am no longer finding this fun.  Picking the hardest race I’ve ever attempted, which takes place during my kids summer vacation, in the year that I am learning how to be a single parent, might possibly have been the dumbest thing I have ever done.   Finding time to train for this thing is STRESSING ME OUT!

So, what are my options…consider the possibility that I should step out of this race and save 70.3 for another season in my life.  OR…remind myself that I’m human, I’m not Superwoman, and it’s ok if I go and attempt this race and just do the best I can without placing a bunch of expectations on myself.  It might take me a really, really, really long time to finish this thing…and that’s ok.  I might get a toe cramp on the swim or a flat tire during the bike or any other number of setbacks on the course.  I might have to walk the entire half-marathon, which would typically be my strength.  I might, God forbid, not even finish.  And all of those things are O-K.  I’m still going to try.  Even though my training hasn’t been what I wanted it to be.  And even though this week, I’ve been in the dark place, and haven’t particularly felt like training.  I’m still going to keep putting one arm in front of the other, one pedal in front of the other and one red Mizuno running shoe in front of the other, just to make the effort.  Because that, my friends, is life.  It’s hard, and sometimes we have to do things that we don’t find especially enjoyable or we aren’t very good at and sometimes we just feel burned out, but ultimately, we know that we have to at least try.

I don’t think anyone would think any less of me if I decided this wasn’t the time or place for me to attempt this.  And quite frankly, I don’t really give a crap if they did think less of me.  I don’t need to prove anything to anyone other than myself.  This is between me, myself and I.  Nobody else.  At the end of the day, I am accountable only to the person that I see when I look in the mirror.  And I know that I’m not the kind of person to back down from something just because I may not do it as well as I do some other things.

So, yeah, this week I committed the cardinal sin of training when I bailed on a couple workouts just because.  That doesn’t mean I’ve lost my discipline, it just means that I’m a busy single mom who had some extra challenges come up. But I won’t run away with my tail between my legs.  I’ll stand and fight. I’ll get back on the horse and ride again.  And I’ll probably fall off a time or two, or ten.  And I’ll probably encounter some more things that I don’t know how to do (I still need Roberto to teach me how to change a flat tire).  And I’ll probably ask everyone I know for advice.  And I’ll probably piss and moan about how I’m just not as good at some of this as so many other people I know.  But it is what it is.  And at least I’m gonna keep giving it a shot.  Starting tomorrow.  Or maybe the day after.

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