Definition of REST
a : freedom from activity or laborb : a state of motionlessness or inactivity
Or, another definition: something I'm good at ignoring. I'm great at squeezing in a quick 3 miler between quick changes at work and 2 or 3 hours sleep. It's something I've learned working shift work for 30+ years. Getting in a workout regardless of how I feel, whether I really need to or not. There's a key word in that last sentence-WORKOUT. That's how things were feeling lately. All work, no play. And admittedly self-induced. So some rest was in order.
I can't honestly remember the last time I took a break this long-two weeks. Maybe never? Maybe a day or two. Injured, tired, extra work hours, .... you name it, I got in my workout. And 99% of the time I enjoyed it. Maybe not loved every one, especially when it was a tough one and my heart wasn't in it. But I got it done. That's how I work, and it's always worked for me-until recently.
I could feel it coming on in subtle hints. Leading up to the Birkie, skiing was more of a chore than fun. The brutal cold and wind made some outings on the trail almost painful. The thought of heading to the basement to wax skis kept being pushed to the back of my mind. I did have a few amazing days on the snow. They kept the fire stoked, but barely. Running wasn't much better. The same cold, wind and snow made running a chore instead of a joy. Fighting the snow covered roads, unshoveled sidewalks and short days was a battle. Even a couple spins on the bike on the trainer felt forced. Everything hurt. My mood sucked. Always tired. I just didn't have IT, whatever IT is. As Austin Powers said, "I've lost my mojo!"
I slogged through the Birkie in my slowest time. Okay, Ma Nature and a foot of fresh snow may have had something to do with that. The Point Bock 5 mile run a week later was a repeat. Slow, no fun, forced. Another week of almost dreading my workout and my body finally said "ENOUGH!" Factor in 23 days at work without a day off. Body and mind had had enough, or maybe too much.
The rest felt good. No worries about what to run today. Which wax to put on the skis. Should I do some intervals on the bike? Just rest. Read a book. Listen to some music. Try to catch up on some sleep. Deep down I had thoughts that maybe it was a permanent break. I though long and hard about deferring my upcoming 50K. The rest really did feel good.
Then a couple questions from people somehow knocked me out of my funk. My long weekend off at work was coming up. Three, count 'em, three days off!! I was talking to my Mother and she asked what I had planned. Run? Bike? A co-worker asked the same thing. What was I doing with my time off. Some miles around town? I realized that for good or bad, I'm the guy who is out doing something, anything. It's who I am, for better or worse. I guess it's how you define me.
I slept a few hours after my 11-7 shift to start my long weekend. That's normal. I hate to sleep away my day off and it helps get my body get used to a few normal days of sleep/awake cycle. A few chores and then I hit the road for a run. Beautiful sunshine, brisk wind and cold, for March weather. A nice long run to ease out the kinks and stretch the legs. In hindsight, maybe a bit too long, but I knew I'd be a little sore. And I had fun. I enjoyed the sun on my face, the wind fighting me at times and then letting me sail when it was at my back. And I knew I was back. I'm looking forward to another run after this is finished. Not sure where, or how far. Maybe even a double today-some easy miles with my better half after she gets done with work.
If anything good came out of this break, it's that I've learned that I'm not the guy I was 10 or 20 years ago, or even last year. Life is busy and hectic. Take it one day at a time. Have fun, and if it's not fun, try something else. Take a day or two off occasionally. My silent sports endeavors may define who I am, but they're not all that I am.
So, I'm back. I've got some events planned. I'm not even going to call them races. I'm my only competition this year. I can't wait to hit the trails, when and if the snow melts. I can't wait to take a long bike ride on a hot and windless day this summer.
Follow along. This could be an interesting year. Thanks for letting my ramble and vent!
Sven of the North