I had a plan. I thought it was a good one. I would race the Columbia Triathlon four days prior to leaving for a two week trip to Italy where I would rest and recover until my next race. Now that I am home, I feel anything but rested and recovered and I’m staring down another Olympic distance triathlon in less than two weeks.

rest

Where did things go horribly wrong? Let me tell you.

RECOVERY PLAN

I will admit that I was very reluctant to take so much time off from intense training. I don’t think I have ever had two straight weeks of easy runs and swims and, I was of course worried about losing fitness. My training leading up to Columbia was perfection. I felt strong, fast and ready and I didn’t want to lose that over a two week stretch. However, I did want to fully enjoy my time overseas and not have to wake-up early or think about my diet.

Does hiking in Tuscany for 15 minutes with the boys count?

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After reading a blog post from elite runner Tina Muir about how essential it is to take time off (two weeks in fact!) after a hard effort/goal race, I was feeling better. I also received this note from my coach, which I read several times while in Italy:

Reminder: You are strong and fit and tough as nails. You are not going to lose all that on this trip even if you do no workouts (and I know you, you’re not just going to sit the whole time :). Moreover, you can give your body and your mind a break. Triathlons are a dime a dozen. The trip and your family should come first.

Enjoy the hell out of this trip and don’t fret about workouts. Let hikes be substitutes for biking, walking and running for runs, some band work for strength and swims. Wine must be a good substitute for electrolytes, right? Most of all, savor being in Italy!

So much good advice and one of the many reasons I love her so much.

So, I was ready to relax and my “training” during the time in Italy reflected that. Notice there is not a lot of green, which indicates completed workouts:

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Before leaving my coach and I agreed that I would do a running block while on vacation since, that is obviously the easiest thing for me to do, and then a bike block after returning home. Seemed simple.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED

Immediately after the Columbia Triathlon I got sick. No surprise there since my immune system was severely compromised by the race, the long drives to and from Maryland and then, the stress of getting my entire family ready for a two week trip overseas. I continued to battle my chest cold for the first several days while in Italy which meant I did no exercise for the first three days but ate pasta, cheese and gelato with reckless abandon.

When I did run I felt sluggish up until the last few days of the trip. My swims felt great but they were about a quarter of what I was used to and I did a whopping two of them over 14 days. I did some strength training but again, it felt blah.

Strength training with a view of the Tuscan valley was awesome but I did more staring out the window then hard training.

Strength training with a view of the Tuscan valley was awesome but I did more staring out the window then hard training.

I have this sense of being super woman when it comes to my training. I think of walking all over Italy, caring for the boys, packing and unpacking several times, traveling by train, late nights, eating desserts and drinking wine will not deter me from having amazing workouts and becoming well rested. How I could have possibly thought that is so far beyond me.

In my mind, Italy was going to be a time of rest for my mind and body and it was but my “training” rest was replaced with constant activity of a different kind and therefore I came home feeling completely unrested.

MOVING FORWARD

The first two workouts on my schedule for the Saturday and Sunday after my Thursday night arrival back into reality were:

Saturday: 2500 yard swim followed by 1 hour 30 min ride

Sunday: 1 hour 30 min hilly run with bursts of 10K pace for 5, 4 ,3, 2  and 1 minutes 

What the hell?

Obviously my coach was thinking I would be well rested and raring to go. She was wrong. So, after talking with her I decided to take Friday off (since I couldn’t even think straight) and flip flop the days so the run was first.

Jet lag worked in my favor and I was up and wide awake at 4:30am Saturday morning. I ran just under 11 miles at a 7:43 pace and I felt great.

Same with the bike and swim on Sunday.

What the hell?

First time feeling really good about being home! Running will do that.

First time feeling really good about being home! Running will do that.

LESSONS LEARNED

  1. Don’t book an international vacation with your 7 year-old twins, husband, father and stepmom thinking you will come home well rested.
  2. Don’t worry so much about lost fitness. The rest is so needed and you come back stronger…even if you’re not really resting.
  3. You can always do more than you think because your body is a hell of a lot smarter than you are.

NEXT RACE

My next race is scheduled for June 18 and is the Pat Griskus Olympic Distance Triathlon. I’m using this and a few other races this summer as sort of practice for the big one (Nationals!) in August.

I have now officially qualified twice!

I have now officially qualified twice!

After doing so well in horrible conditions at the Columbia race, I conquered all my fears of the distance and now I can focus on fine tuning my attack plan.

The course for this one is hilly because of course. I have never done it but will definitely try to get out and bike and run at least part of the course before race day.

I’m pretty positive I can beat my swim time from Columbia, unless the weather takes a drastic turn and, I will have to bike/drive the other courses before I consider making any other predictions.

I’m most interested in seeing how my mind and body will perform after not really resting and jumping right back into training. If this past weekend was any indication, I think it will all turn out just fine.

[Tweet “When your #rest plan fails you, how will your body respond? #train4life”]

 

What is the most unrestful vacation you have ever had?

Has a recent run or workout pleasantly surprised you?