Taking Time Off Is Hard To Do

So the past few weeks I’ve inadvertently taken a bit of time off from consistent and regimented training. A part of me wishes I had a triathlon coach. Another part of me wishes I had more friends that were into running. (I’ve fixed that my coordinating the RunKeeper meetup group in LA as well as the Dress for Success LA Marathon team.)

I’ve had some major life changes over the past few weeks that I’ve had to deal with:

  1. I parted ways with a project that I worked on for 3 and a half years
  2. I parted ways with a really close friend
  3. I went through a relationship crisis (things are better now)
  4. I’ve recently decided to finish grad school (only 6 classes left)
  5. I’ve adopted a cat (he was on the euth list)
  6. I’m coming down with something that feels strangely familiar to bronchitis/pharyngitis (on antibiotics now)
  7. I’m in the process of deciding what to do about my business (always in flux)

So, in a sense, as life ramped up a bit, my training took a back seat. I’m only human, right? I’m trying to rationalize that this is totally normal but it still makes me anxious since I have so many races coming up this fall.

Over the past few years I’ve gotten better and better at listening to my body. Especially with running it feels like I can better discern when I’m legitimately not feeling well and need a break, versus just being lazy. It’s not always easy to reconcile the two, but definitely necessary. I don’t really want to exacerbate a slight running injury or the slight pain in my lungs, and if it means that I have to take a few weeks off to prevent myself from being down for a few months (something that’s not totally out of the realm of possibility, given my health history) I’d rather do just that.

I’m trying to use this time well to reflect on my training, go over my training logs, evaluate my progress, and so forth. The graphs look impressive and I suppose they make sense. After a number of solid months of serious training, it only makes sense to scale back and to allow my body to reap the benefits of said training and to become stronger. (That’s what it says to do in all of the running books, magazines, and websites I’ve read.) So, as it seems, my body and my life seems to be on the right track.

I’m also using this time to catch up on some reading (I just fired my nook back up and purchased Kara Goucher’s ‘Running for Women’). I have a few books from the library checked out too, one called Spontaneous Healing and one on Ayurveda medicine. I’ve been thinking about getting a second Master’s degree (my first one is in progress right now) in some sort of non-Western medicine field so I’d like to test my interests level a bit by doing some independent reading. It’s the same approach I took when I was trying to decide if my current degree program was for me: I checked out about 40 contemporary marketing communications books from the Santa Monica Public Library, read through all of them, and decided that I was still interested in learning more…so I took the plunge. Looks like I’ll be conducting the same type of experiment this time around.

With my time off I’ve been trying to get my affairs in order…get checked up for my cholesterol (this time last year it was in the 210 or 215 points range), get regular sleep, try to put together some regular semblance of a schedule, get back into the routine of being in school, etc etc. This weekend to myself has been great. So far I’ve gotten everything on my to-do list done: got an early jump start on my reading for class, did laundry, finally went grocery shopping, got an overdue massage (can be misconstrued as luxurious but it really is just an hour and a half of me getting beaten up by a Chinese man), got checked up at the doctor’s office, and caught up with some friends. I’m halfway through reading Kara Goucher’s book and I hope to get in a few more chapters in my PR book. So, all in all, it’s a nice rest from training but I will be more than motivated to hit the ground running, get some great pool time in, and hop back on the bike.

Taking time off is a necessarily evil. It’s not really evil, but for someone who likes to go at full throttle all of the time, it’s difficult accepting that I am not a machine and that sometimes I just need to recharge. What do you do when you need some time off?