Decisions of the head and heart

Yesterday I decided to go for my shortest run in at least 6 months. I took my dogs out for a 30 MINUTE RUN. That’s right… 30 minutes! I barely worked up a sweat. And you know what else? We walked sometimes. Yep, walked. And we stopped for water several times, just because the water fountains were there. And you know what else? I didn’t even time it, I’m just guessing it took 30 minutes based on how far we went. This feeling of freedom from training is just one sign that I’m burned out from training and thinking about training for Ironman(s). It’s true, friends, that I’m tired. Burned out. Stick a fork in me, I’m done. For now. For Ironman training.

So what has been going on with me? Well, it all started about a month ago when my coach sent me my last/next set of workouts for one last burst of effort for Ironman. Each day my significant other would say, “Don’t you have to train today?” or “What does your coach want you to do today?” And each day I would say, “Oh, don’t worry, it’s all good.” However, I rarely did the workouts. I went for a few pool swims in the outdoor pool a block away, I did some runs, and I road biked once (yes, I counted all the way up to ONE). I just wasn’t putting in the time or effort. It felt like each workout was a hard journey that I didn’t want to be on. This is just one aspect of what’s been going on with me, mentally and physically, when it comes to training.

I really don’t know when my sketchy health stuff started up, but it was a while ago. I don’t really want to go into the too-much-information sector of blogging, but there are internal things happening that are just not good. My doctor has been testing me, but is unable to come up with anything useful. I’m finding another doctor and I may go to my homeopath because he has always been my reliable “last resort,” which makes me question why I don’t just go to him first. Anyway, bottom line: my physical health… not so good.

My mental health has also been not great lately. I mean, I’m fine, but it has been a really rainy summer, which pretty much has bummed me out. There are actually a few circumstantial reasons why I’ve been a little bummed lately as well, but I’m starting to feel better as we transition out of summer into my favorite season: fall.

So when my friend and support person, Dana, told me she wasn’t able to come with me to Ironman next weekend, it brought up all of these reasons, thoughts, and questions. “Do I really want to drive alone for 16 hours (each way)?” “Do I really want to do the race without a support person there just in case something happens again?” “Do I really want to do this race?” The answer to the first two of these important questions was a resounding “no.” When this came up, I was at my parent’s farm. I had a good discussion about it with my parents and they were definitely not comfortable with me being at the race without anyone there to help in case something happened. On an average day, I would take my parents’ concerns with a grain of salt because generally I’m adventurous and kind of do the opposite of what my parents tell me. I guess I really didn’t want to do the race because I took their concern to heart. Also, I pulled out the ol’ yellow legal pad of paper and did a “Pros and Cons” list. The Pros to doing the race were: I already paid for it, I get to see and stay with my friends in Penticton, and I get to experience a great race. The cons were: my heart is not in it, my mind is not in it, I don’t feel physically prepared, I would be going alone, and it would cost more money to get there.

When the decision was made to not do the race, I felt a weight being lifted off my shoulders. A few years ago, I went to this counselor (I sometimes call her my “life coach”) who challenged me to let go of my intensity in the middle of it. She told me to, when biking up a hill, just stop pedaling. Just to stop midway up the hill.  I couldn’t do it at the time and felt weird about her wanting me to do it. Now I understand that it was a test to see if my head and heart were still in the journey together… in order to keep me whole, happy, and healthy. Last weekend I stopped for the first time since Ironman Coeur d’Alene to check in with my heart. It is clear that while the decision was not easy and I’m a little sad about it, it was the best one for me right now.

Now on to exercising and having fun without structure or goals… at least for now!

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