After my triathlon (race report for 2013 Sprint Distance Emmett Triathlon), there were a vortex of forces converging on my mind.
- elation at accomplishment
- thoughts that I could have gone faster
- lack of appetite for many things
- physical tiredness
- a desire to dance
- focus on evaluating results
- general lack of focus
- thoughts of continued training to maintain fitness
- thoughts of enjoying a break in training intensity
Right after the race, there was a variety of fruit available, some of which I could successfully eat. And there was pizza which gagged me to look at and smell, but many other racers seemed to be fine with it. When I got home about 3 hours later, I could eat ½ of a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich, followed by a small chocolate milkshake. These are common elements of my diet and my system remained calm.
Then, for another 3 hours I basically had no idea of what was going on around me. Fortunately, I just gave in to the need to sleep. I had non-traumatic dreams of telling myself to run faster, which in my dreams I did. Call it dream therapy.
I thought I felt sort of refreshed when I woke up, but I found myself lacking direction. I decided to process my day by writing my race report and further analyzing my split times. Dinner must have happened, too.
For that night, I slept another 9 hours. When I woke up Sunday, my husband/coach encouraged me to eat a more substantial breakfast that included eggs, bread, cheese, and fruit juice. The day was a slow meandering blur, but before bed I couldn’t help but think that I should plan the next week’s workout schedule. I knew it would need to be easier, but my husband confirmed that moving the muscles some would be good.
I had tapered and rested the last week before the race. Some of this was necessary because my right knee was feeling a tad stressed. I didn’t feel I had gone to extreme effort during the race, but had raced within my training limits. Still, I knew I should probably have a fairly easy week. My husband/coach confirmed this. I was advised to limit my activities to very moderate swimming and spin biking.
It was easier to comply that I thought it would be. Each day of the following week ended with me thinking, “Hmmm, I think my body was more tired than I knew.” I felt some guilt at “taking it easy,” but that was easier to manage since I had the counsel of my husband and a little research at sites about post triathlon recovery to help me.
Even after only 3 days of easy recovery level activity, I hit a wall the 4th day. The thought of exercise (other than normal chores), made me feel quite stressed. I tried to tell myself that it was just the occasional pre-workout slump, but when I finally gave myself permission to have another rest day, I felt a huge sense of relief.
After a week of this low-key approach, I feel somewhat rejuvenated, but also surprised that another week at a similar pace appeals to me. It is still a struggle, because I feel that at my age all my hard work can be undone by time more quickly than for a younger person. However, I remind myself of things like being sick for 4 weeks in the middle of winter and still being able to come back stronger this year than last. Its not like I’m trying to find excuses to sit in my rocker on the front porch and evaporate into the sunset, but I also need to work with the realities of an aging body fluctuating wildly with hormones. Aging is not avoided by positive thinking. All this exercise only helps if I don’t kill myself in the process.