Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Off Season

There are a couple things in life that I'm relatively good at.  Remembering people's birthdays.  Cleaning my bike.  Matching socks.  Making chili.

You may notice that "off season" didn't make the list.  Because, I'll be frank, I suck at off season.

Off season and I go way back.  We've always hated each other, even in high school when my coach would tell me after cross country season that I NEEDED to take some time off before indoor track started.  This usually resulted in tears and begging and anger and secret runs where my coach couldn't see me.  I'm a rule follower, except when it comes to off season (and speed limits while driving, but that's a whole other blog post...).  I just simply couldn't stand the thought of not getting to run for a few weeks.

Fast forward a few (okay, A LOT) of years to my current self.  I'm older and wiser now and I truly understand the importance of giving my body a rest and letting myself heal after a long season of abuse.  But that doesn't mean I'm any better at off season.  I no longer sneak in workouts that I'm not supposed to do.  I follow the rules.  But I hate it just as much (if not more) than my 15 year old self.

When Tim told me, after Kona, that I had to take 4 weeks off, I stared at him in silence.  I think I was in shock.  FOUR WEEKS?  Is this man trying to kill me?  Here I thought I was going to convince him that I should be able to do Ironman Arizona!  HA!  I had another thing coming!  Instead, a four week prescription of big fat NOTHING-ness.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.  Oh, and I also had to gain 6-8 lbs.  I wanted to cry.  Or punch someone in the face.  Or both.

So here we are 3.5 weeks later.  I won't say that it's been pretty.  There have been a few (okay, MANY) meltdowns.  There has been begging.  I have been majorly frustrated.  And angry.  But thankfully I have a coach that is more stubborn than me and he didn't budge an inch (just don't tell him I said that!).

Because, here's the thing.  This is what it takes.  Gaining weight, getting totally out of shape, TRULY resting (unlike the off seasons I see that somehow still involve mountain biking and swim meets and 20 mile hikes up mountains - that's MY kind of off season!) and, doing a hard reset.  And for me, THIS is the sacrifice.  Many people see training hard and doing long rides and going to bed really early and skipping desert and all THOSE things as the sacrifice.  But for me, those are the things I LOVE!  That is where I thrive.  I would do that year round if I could.  Instead, my sacrifice comes when I'm asked to not do the things I love and to relax.  We are all different.  We all struggle with something.  This is most definitely MY struggle.  Thankfully, I have a coach that forces me to do it right (and I do truly believe it's the right thing) regardless of how much I complain and whine.  And thankfully, I only have half a week to go.  :)

So what HAVE I been doing this off season, other than wishing I was swim/bike/running?  Well, I've been sleeping (a lot), doing some Your 26.2 work, going to movies (Oscar and I went to 3 movies the first week I was home!), eating a lot, sleeping, eating, sleeping (did I mention sleeping?).  And spending time with friends and Oscar!  That is the best part!  So here's to doing the off season right.  Maybe next year I won't even complain about it!  (highly unlikely)

Kim and I took a trip to visit our college teammate/roommate/BFF near State College.  We played on the trampoline with her 4 year old daughter during which I split my pants (no joke) AND I learned how to do some really awesome tricks.  :)

See that cutie in the middle?  She may look innocent, but she can do a mean trampoline split!

At the Pennsylvania State HS Cross Country Championships, I tracked down these two (also college roommates/teammates/BFFs).  Great to see them as such successful coaches!

Because I was away for most of the fall, I missed a lot of Oscar's team's cross country meets.  But I made it home in time to see them finish 2nd in their district and 5th in the state!


  1. I am a 70.3 age grouper, but I have a terrible time with the "off-season." Coming from a running background, the off-season comes at peak running time, so I usually end up just cutting back on swim and bike intensity and doing run-only races. I think I might spontaneously combust if I had to stop everything, so I admire you for sticking with it!

  2. A couple things.

    1. I didn't realize how separate Your and Oscar's life are during the start of school, and IM training. Didn't you say you spent a month in Hawaii too before the Kona race?

    2. Knowing you a little bit through the years, I can't help but think off season = plain boring. You are always striving, and training for your next race, and in the off season you do nothing.

    3. Respect the IM distance. Some people may be able to put back to back good IM's together in a short amount of time. Probably not many, and probably not a good idea.

    Congrats on Oscar's 5th place finish in State. Successful 1st year I'd say.

  3. Splitting your pants means your are doing a good job of gaining the 6-8 pounds? :)

  4. I love this post as a loather of the off season as well. I have never truly mastered it. I think what I dread more than taking time off is the possibility that Newton's first law of motion will prevail and once I become a body at rest I will stay at rest....