So here we are, it's been about 30(ish) days from conquering Ironman Arizona. Sometimes I still can't believe that actually happened. It makes me smile; it's so exciting! I find a lot of race reports tend to end with the finish line. But that's not where the journey ends, because there's so much more afterwards that happens! Both good and the bad, let's talk about some of those now in no particular order!
- I'm an IRONMAN! Forever! That's super cool. I hung my flag up in my room even.
- My endurance, while dropping, is still quite high. I can get through a game of squash without wheezing. My swimming has stayed relatively strong (and surprisingly fast), even though my distance has dropped (mostly because I've allowed my distance to drop). Body awareness has been my focus in the pool.
- My head is clearing, and I'd like to think my emotional state is far more in check than it was in those last 8 weeks. All of those for the win!
- My body still feels broken. I crack and snap more than I used to, and my flexibility is gone. My knees can't handle any real pressure (even kicking in swimming was hard for a few weeks), and I'm a bit cautions about new or different activities. As an example, a week after I was home I went to White Girl Dance Party Yoga with my friend Morgan (a class I'd been to several times before). The first set of yoga squats and 10 in my entire lower body seized up, like bad. I spent the rest of the class just swaying from side to side because I couldn't bend. Fun? No. Entertaining? Yep! I also refuse to ski with Tammy so far you know....because of my knees....
- I'm sleeping....a lot.
- My eating has been off, but it's Christmas so that is to be expected. And I don't feel bad about it for one second!
So what's the plan?
Well, my first 30 days home I wanted to do 30 days of yoga, just to get everything limbered up and hit the "reset" switch so to speak. I haven't made it every day, but I've made it most days (to clarify, I just do a DVD in my house so it's not like I have to go anywhere). To my surprise, however, my ability to hold even basic poses is very compromised. As a result, many of those yoga "days" have only lasted about 15 minutes, but I'm getting stronger each day. And making some breakthroughs here and there. Consistency is the key.
I got back to swimming almost immediately. First in Mexico daily with Alex and Brandon, and then at home (when my knees would allow) at least a few times a week. No watch, no counting laps, just body awareness, drills and movement. I think this has been a huge help. I would highly recommend it.
I've hung up the running shoes and put the bike away for the foreseeable future. My bike is still sticky from Ironman. It will probably stay that way for a while.
I've all but abandoned the watch or any training data. It's time to get grounded again, and focusing on metrics often distracts you from focusing on the bigger picture. I'll bring the watch back again later.
I've started to plan a 2017 race calendar. Stay tuned for that! Needless to say I'm very excited, as there are some new and quite dramatic challenges ahead!
I have a plan, and I'm prepared to execute.
So how has recovery been going? It's harder than I thought, but day by day things are improving. If you're finding it harder to recover than you thought, just know you're not alone. But all and all things are looking up!