Offseason… yeah…

It me! Ok, fine – it Nachokitty, but very REPRESENTATIVE of my week.

Each year, it’s a little bit different.  I’ve had experiences where I was one hundred percent ready, willing, and able to let go and blissfully do nothing for a while.  I’ve had seasons where I just couldn’t and instead kept at it, and that way lies only tears and burnout.  Usually, I’m somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, and that’s where I find myself this time, a few feet to the left of the middle.

The hard stop which was falling down and my knee swelling up to about twice it’s size has both put a damper on last week but also made me take it reeeeeeeeeal slow, which is exactly what I needed, if not wanted.  No “let’s just bike commute today because it’s beautiful” (read: 25 miles and 1k climbing) or “I can’t resist a little run”.  It’s been a zero week – I’ve averaged less than 5000 steps per day.  Somehow I’ve been able to resist gaining back all the weight I’ve lost this season even though I wake up every day thinking, “this one, this is the day where the scale is going to tell me the bad news”, but so far, so good.  It feels like I hung up my running shoes so long ago, but it’s barely been more than a week.  But this is just as coach has ordered, so it will be done.

It doesn’t mean I don’t have the feels about it.  I was joking with a coworker about not being a superhero any more, but as much as I try to be a fairly well rounded person, a core part of my identity is *triathlete*.  It’s much easier to shed that when I can assume another one – like woodland nymph (camping), mermaid (diving), or vagabond (traveling).  It’s hard to just sit on my couch and binge nextflix and play video games like a normal human.  That’s the ish I earn after riding my bike and running all morning.  Without it, it feels… just wrong.

I know the first week is always the hardest.  No matter how AWESOME the race was, there’s always the comedown after.  Generally, the advice is to sign up for another race to look forward to, but I’m honestly not ready to dive into my next season planning yet.  I’m pretty sure I want spring to be a carbon copy of this year, short stuff and trying for podiums (and maybe have my eyes on improving my run enough to seek some overall placements, possibly the first one, at the smaller races) and to get BOTH of us to Nationals this year.  The fall is still unclear to me.  The 70.3 distance tortures and excites me so.  Eight tries and I still haven’t nailed the run.  That’s both frustrating and motivating to me.  I’m not sure what sort of fire I want to put my feet into yet.

But I know where I want to put my feet at the end…

I’m not letting myself think too much about triathlon right now.  I’ve tried to look back, and had planned to dedicate most of this blog to that subject, but every word I eek out about triathlon sort of feels like work right now.  In short, it was the best friggin’ season of my life that went on just a little too long even if I felt like I barely trained at all week to week.  I qualified for Nationals twice and notched PR after PR at sprints, and then another, even on a hot crazy day where nothing went right in Cozumel on my 70.3 distance.  It wasn’t all I dreamed of, but I’m still proud of how I fought.

I had a few spectacular fails as well, but I will take solace in that they were due to random body problems (lady cramps at National Day 2, GI issues out of friggin nowhere at Waco), not my brain spontaneously combusting without reason, as I have in the past.  Nationals – I have no answer for that besides maybe pre-emptive painkillers (which I HATE taking) and just adjusting my expectations.  Waco… I’m still baffled that actually following my fairly conservative nutrition plan resulted in overfeeding.  Maybe I have to accept that I’ve lost enough weight that 400 calories of gels and about 400 calories of Gatorade is too much in 3 hours of moderate cycling, but that seems wrong as well.

For right now, I’m putting a pin in all that and moving forward with offseason.  Now that my first zero week is done, and I have two working knees again (thank god), I’ve got goals.  Because how can I relax without things to accomplish, right?

Hopefully I still enjoy taking silly selfies after the diet derailing gauntlet of the holidays + offseason…

The scale has yet to freak me out.  So far, I haven’t gained weight by sitting on the couch, eating junk food, and drinking whiskey.  However, I know that this is untenable.  This week, I reintroduce the normal diet of vegetables and fruit and lean proteins and nuts and whole grains and minimize the crap (read: give up most of the junk food but probably only about 25% less whiskey).  Next week I start tracking again and try to stop imbibing like a frat boy.  It’s okay if I don’t lose weight during the holidays, but if I’m regularly tipping the scales above 170 at any point, I need to get that ish in check RIGHT NOW.  Next year I’d like to make the big push to get down to for my for realsies, actual #projectraceweight weight of 150, but I’m not daft enough to start that project in earnest in November. 

I need to let my body heal.  Saturday, when I woke up, I noticed my left heel, the perpetually cranky one that seemed to REALLY ENJOY running down those steep hills in Waco, and my right ankle, the one I twisted falling down because I am a klutz, hurt.  While that sucks, it also meant my knee was finally not the overwhelming, all consuming pain that it was for the five days previous, overshadowing everything else.  My ultimate goal is to slide into January 2019 completely, totally, 100% healthy, so that looks like a lot of REST, getting back to walking every day, stretching and rolling, some rehab and strengthening, good food and plenty of hydration, taking the anti-inflammatory stuff like turmeric, and being very conservative about when and how I resume the swimming, biking, running, and weight lifting.

When the time comes to resume the lifting of heavy things, my offseason goal is this: an unassisted pullup.  I can sort of muscle one up by jumping halfway up on my bar at home but it definitely doesn’t count.  I’m interested to get to a more stable bar at the gym to see if I can do one with a kip, which also doesn’t count but is closer, and to check out the assisted machine and see how little weight I can manage there.  How this helps me with triathlon, I have no idea.  It just seems like a fun little distraction that also hinges on me not gaining any weight (since I have to lift every ounce of me that exists). And also, who doesn’t pass a bar-shaped object like a pipe or a door jam and have the first instinct to do a pullup as they pass it?  Just me? Heh.

Once it is time to do so, I plan to make all swimming, biking, and running about pleasure and adventure vs any sort of training plan.  My schedule is blank and to be written spontaneously until at least mid-December.

Fun fact: it took me about 5 minutes to remember the word I was looking for was spontaneous.  So, you’ll have that.

I also have other, non-sport or weight related goals.

While I’m doing a CRACKING job at procrastinating, I need to get back to editing my book, and resist the urge to rewrite the whole thing or scrap it and write some sci fi that isn’t extremely raw and personal instead. 

I want to continue to work on self-promotion and becoming comfortable with sharing stuff like I will in said book by posting personal stories on social media with a level of writing that makes me feel proud, not just dashing off a handful of words and throwing them at the screen as has been my habit for a multitude of years. 

I want to keep my eye out for some brand ambassador applications (’tis the season) and apply.  It’s been fun to rep Wattage Cottage, and I hope to continue if she’ll have me again, but I have a few other non-competing brands I like a lot that would compliment that.

I’d like to progress a little in my photography, which for right now, honestly means study versus action.  I think I have a pretty decent eye for it, and I’m willing to do a lot to get the shot, but I think I need more KNOWLEDGE.  I need to learn my camera and all it’s myriad settings inside and out.  I need to learn what the heck I’d use a wide angle lens for successfully.  I need to learn how all the talented nature photographers I follow on Instagram get those amazing shots that give me all the wanderlust feels.  I also need to learn my editing tools a little better and editing conventions in general instead of winging it, and find out if I want to make the jump to better programs like Lightroom.  This will start with online research but might also progress to finding an actual class somewhere with an actual person to be my Obi-Wan.

It’s video game season.  I’m looking forward to having the oomph to play interactive things in my downtime instead of just staring passively at Netflix.  I have no specific goals beyond just PLAY MORE.

I’m sure other things will come into play as I embrace offseason, but I’m looking forward to indulging in my other hobbies and having the freedom to do stuff like pop by a friends house on Friday night with dinner and see family and go to Six Flags on a Saturday without twenty years of notice and expert-level schedule juggling to make it happen.

While I still mourn the death of the season, I’m also excited to shed my supersuit (what? it’s spandex…) for a while and just be mild mannered me.

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