Yet Still I Learn

Last night when I went to bed I knew I was not going to swim this morning. I was feeling fatigued and opted for a little extra sleep. Even after eight hours of sleep, I woke this morning wishing I could go back to bed. I do not hurt, my body temperature is normal, and I haven’t sneezed in a few days even with all of the chlorine I subject myself to. I was just tired. The feeling lingered through the day. I had a run scheduled this afternoon and I thought about texting my coach and asking her what she thought about running tonight. I didn’t after all, thinking I was just wimping out. After work I drove home instead of to the gym and thought if I took a nap I could run after on my treadmill in my basement. When I got home I had several boxes delivered so I got out of the car and picked them up. When I returned there was a text message from my running coach: “How are you feeling??” I just love her. It was as if she knew what was going on. We ran into each other at the gym Tuesday morning and I told her about how tired I was on Monday. I replied with my plan to nap then run, then asked if she thought I should rest all together and run tomorrow evening instead. Her response: “I think you should completely rest today. Your body is telling you something.”

This week I have had two interactions with both my triathlon coach and my running coach that have convinced me of the importance of having a coach. After I gave my tri coach the evil eye when he insisted I rest one day a week right now, his response was interesting. He said that most self coached athletes train too hard on easy days and not hard enough on hard days. As a result, often the athlete plateaus and does not reach full potential. Like a child going from one parent to the other to get their way, I asked my running coach what she thought. She agreed with him. Drats.  The truth of this is setting in today too. A comment from Heidi at Maternal Media to my post yesterday was ironic. She said she was amazed at how I forge on day in and day out. Well Heidi, today I didn’t forge. But I know I am doing it for my own good. My body is telling me something. And as much as I have learned to listen to my body, sometimes an interpreter is needed in the form of a coach. I am pushing harder than I have on my hard workouts but I am not fully following the lower intensity suggested for my easy workouts in swimming and cycling. As a result of my packed schedule, I am not lifting as much as my training schedule suggests. I am paying these professionals to guide me, it is time I listen.

The will is an interesting thing. “Strong willed” can describe a dedicated person who never gives up. It also can describe a stubborn person who never gives up. Sometimes I am both. What I do know is that when I reach a point of exhaustion like I have today, I am willing to surrender my will. Triathlon and running continue to teach me so much – how to take care of myself physically, how to eat and hydrate properly, and also how to take care of my mind. Sometimes they all collide. Sometimes it takes a coach – or two – to get me back on track in the process of continuing to learn.

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