Quite literally, I went back to 'work'.
I also had a lot of 'work' to do in training.
I got 'work'-ed over in a few sessions.
I realized 'work' is actually kind of a great thing.
I'm not sure why we dread work. I have on occasion, dreaded work (to me, my hardest 'work' is hard 'work'-outs). 'Work-work', as in to go to work where they give you a paycheque, I've found is somewhat fun & actually pretty easy, so I really don't dread that any more. I was nervous going back, but that's due to the nature of change, which is never easy, but almost always rewarding.
To dread is to fear. To dread is to have angst, which is a combination of insecurity and despair. Good grief! So going back into training, which, I certainly had a respite from intensity & focus from for the past couple of months, I was now faced with:
I wasn't in bad shape, but I wasn't were I was before, and this mostly relates to the scope of how I feel during workouts. I have no hundred dollar beepy things that connect to satellites, so I have no clue how to compare times. Just feelings. Most feelings I was getting when I was going back & starting to work a little harder were, "woah, stop this", or "uh-oh" or "where is the bathroom". I got dropped in a workout or two. That doesn't really fill you with joy. I felt a bit creaky & some of my body parts were not keeping up with the load.
I wallowed a little but not too much, mostly just for a few minutes here and there in workouts, and just focused on completing the task if all else failed. I finally accepted that you can't be in ace shape all the time. The body doesn't work that way, and you can only cheat that so far until something bad happens. So I started to realize that all I time I gave my body 'off' was a good thing. Having to get back to training and do the 'work' became a better thing. And finally, in the middle of challenging the 'work' became rewarding. Phew.
I tried not to let my brain wander and think of all the other super-human people I may be facing in the upcoming year, who seem to have this epic level of fitness that never fluctuates. I tried not to compare myself to people I road raced against last year and wonder am I faster or slower than them now? I tried but I wasn't entirely successful and, occasionally, I have let some of the doubt ebb and flow a bit in my mind. I don't think that's all bad. It's like telling your children they are the most wonderful things in the world and they are perfect and they'll always be the best. Yikes, I know what happens to those kids. Criticism is ok by my books, you're allowed to doubt yourself too, it's not all negative, although that's the way our society sees it. I believe that if one half of your brain states the doubt, that the other will respond, in my case, much like Justin Trudeau versus Peter Kent, hurling a few obscenities back the other way. You can take it, you're tough.
A lot of training is mental, I stick to that like gum sticks to your bus pants. I went through a heap of mental 'work' in the last couple of months. And it's finally smoothing itself out. I'm finally fully enjoying training. One of my most powerful phrases that sticks with me through the year is "this is what training feels like". I tell myself that when I'm in those places of discomfort, way past the range of the easy stuff, the place where I get doubtful, face anxieties, have fear. Feeling like you might be sinking more than you're going forward in the pool - it's ok. Feeling a very strange sensation of burn-y slash tingling (lack of O2) in your legs & hands - it's ok. Feeling like your legs are going the way of a combination of swiss cheese cement - it's ok. That's what training feels like. And everything will be fine.
It's a great place to be in. No immediate fears or constrictions of races (although deciding to not race the First Half 1/2 Marathon was a bit sad - but 'twas balanced by being able to cheer & watch others do some amazing work out there!) , just being able to focus on one session at a time and figure out how to make your body work, is great. To be rewarded even with the smallest amount of fitness coming back - is a bonus. To have no idea where you are compared to anyone and everyone except the person you're running beside - I think, a bit of a bonus. It makes it exciting for when I'm back on the start line looking at the people around me thinking, I wonder what will happen today?
To also have gained a heap of perspective in my two month downtime, on where I've been and where I'm going, is also a huge factor in how I go about things now. I'm not able to fully describe (odd for me) my full set of thoughts on this, but what I do know is this. I was able to fully satisfy my goals & dreams. Now, I'm on a bit of a blank canvas. I don't feel I have anything to 'prove', no chip on my shoulder, no regret or mental back-peddling going on. I grew up a bit in the last year. I see what I want in life, and triathlon is a part, but not the entire show. I love what I do, I feel I've found the thing I've been destined to try my best at, and like anything and everything in life, it will bring new change in time.
It's nice to be at peace with something and still be able to go out and work hard and squeeze the most out of yourself. It's a good balance between quiet and chaos. I feel lucky to be at this point, and will certainly have my challenges throughout the year, but to be standing on grounded feet & head attached (mostly). Now, haiku time.
Enough with the dread.
I still eat full-gluten bread.
Training, is ahead.
Hope you are all putting up with trainer time as I am, frozen hands, as I do, and copious amounts of laundry and tea drinking to stay so fresh and so clean.
yours in wet socks, dirty shoes...