Fall in Ann Arbor is one of my favorite things in the world. What is better than football games,
cider mills, colorful trees, and dirt road riding? My first thought when I finished up my season in New Orleans was… What now? In my head, I had already planned that I would finally join in on the infamous weekly “Nacho Ride,” where bike racing meets dirt roads and finishes up with beer and nachos. Or maybe I would try my hand at the “Dirt Hammer,” a full hour effort (ok, probably slower than that for me) of a 23 mile scenic loop touching the some best dirt roads in the Ann Arbor and Dexter regions.
Not having a detailed training plan meant I didn’t need to be too careful of not spending too much energy on one ride or run, and I could fully enjoy all the fun that training in the fall offers. But it took some careful thought to realize that as much fun as all of those things sounded, I need to take this time away from all things swimming, biking, and running. If I had any doubt about this, a my first run 5 days into my break, I stepped on a stick and rolled my ankle. (It quickly healed, no worries coach!) Nevertheless, that’s all I needed to convince myself that some rest, away from my normal activities is just what I needed to take advantage of this time of year. So I replaced my running shoes with dancing shoes, and enjoyed some time lifting with my sister.
It’s more difficult said than done, as having a schedule to follow is addicting. However; I never want to do something just because that’s what I do, especially triathlon. Yes, I am someone who enjoys structure, but I do really believe that the only way to be really successful in sports, is to make sure you love it and don’t just love the structure that it brings. So even though Ann Arbor has had nothing but sunny and beautiful days (photocred: Lex Williams) since my return this fall, I have resisted the urge to take my bike out, or put my running shoes on. Instead, I’ve filled my time with appointments, vacations, family time, and planning for 2017.
I know by taking time away from the sport that when it is time to lace up the running shoes, I won’t be critical of my splits, form, or distance. Instead, I will be able to feel the freedom a simple run gives you. To enjoy the satisfaction of feet pounding on the pavement. This time off will allow me to recharge and remember everything I love about my sport.
After a month off, when it is time to gear up for 2017, I am confident that regardless of the weather, I will be mentally and physically ready for a long 11 month season. For now, I will be active, but in different ways from my typical triathlon schedule. Maybe I’ll take up golf or something. 😉