I'm still here...somewhere!
It's taken me a bit of time to figure out what I'm doing now. The not-quite-two months since the IM have gone by super fast. Of course, December was full of all manner of holiday stuff, plus my immune system took a nosedive, so I had an eye infection followed by an awful cold followed by holiday traveling....yeah.
I gave myself December "off", but I ran once a week or so, swam a couple of times, did some yoga and hiked up a mile-long 50% grade incline at Colorado elevation (my bro-in-law's idea!!) This month, I've gotten back to training and joined the Flying Pig Training group.
Umm, ya'll....running is HARD now. I'm still doing it, but it's a real struggle and I have to run at a slower pace than I have in years just to feel like I'm NOT dying. It took me by surprise and threw me for a bit of a loop. However, it looks like I'm not alone in taking a while to recover. I've heard people say it took them 2-3 months to feel "normal" again after an IM, particularly a first one. I read an article that said that for a triathlon, it takes 3-5 days to recover.....for every hour you're out there. So, hmm...anywhere from 38-78 days. Yep.
It's kind of a relief, though, because it's forced me to not pay attention to my pace AT ALL. Not even for long runs. It's futile - I have no idea what my comfortable pace is anymore (and I really don't have such a thing) so I run. I can't run with the people I used to run with, but I've made some new friends in the group, a little further back than I used to be. It's not a bad place to be, it's really not. I made a new friend in the running group who told me she's in awe of the fact that I did an Ironman when I'm "normal" - not a super athlete, not super fast, not super obsessed. I'm really happy about that. That was part of my motivation to do it - to show others that a normal person can achieve lofty goals.
I just wish running felt zen-like and easy again, but it's slowly getting there. I have good moments with it. They're just that, moments, but I know they'll turn into longer and longer moments. And if I never PR for the rest of my life, well hell, I'm an Ironman. :) I can ride that for the rest of my life. Maybe.
ANYWAY....I did come to a realization. Last year I was so, so selfish with my training. I mean, I had to be, I'm not dogging myself or anything. But this year is the year of giving back. I'm going to get back to donating blood regularly, because last year I didn't, because I was too freaked out about missing workouts. I'm going to coach for Girls on the Run, which I am beyond stoked to do. I'm going to get back to running for the sake of running and loving it. I do want to do the Pig, just because I STILL have a score to settle with that race, but I'm (almost) ok with the idea of doing it just to finish it.
I'm in the middle of a job change, too. I've accepted a different therapist position (part-time) and a health coach position, also part-time. So I'll be transitioning between jobs for a while. It's a scary, stressful change, and it means I technically have three jobs to juggle at the moment, but heck, one of the things I learned from IM training was how to juggle my time. I think the new positions will suit me well and will be a good career move, more in the wellness direction, more toward where I want to be rather than straight mental health.
I'm cutting myself a little slack on integrating biking and swimming back into training; I still get tired a lot easier than I used to. Blame stress, blame illness, blame recovery. I'm working on it, though, and doing some more strength and core training to improve my run fitness, too. I wish someone could just pay me to work out. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it all, but I'll get there.