A Break is Good

Today I learned that it's ok to take a break sometimes.

Ever since I can remember, I have trained for 5 or 6, very rarely 4, days a week. In the freezing, in the heat, in the rain, in the morning, late at night. After I reached my goal in March of doing the Olympic distance triathlon, I felt good afterward and I didn't really take a break. I probably should have, but I was fueled and excited for more so I didn't.

But last week something weird happened. Last week, I ran further in one week than I ever had, almost 30 miles. After my long run last Saturday, I got up early and biked and swam on Sunday morning. On Monday, I rested. And I think the fire burned out.

I was so tired.

On Tuesday, I rested too. And Wednesday came, and still I was tired.

Thursday passed. Still nothing in me to go do anything swim bike or run-related.

Friday too.

Nothing. Whatever I had in me was spent and I was just so tired. Mentally and physically. In my brain, I think things like "sloth" and "lazyass," and honestly, I have to remind myself that yes, while I might be lazy sometimes, this was not total laziness. It was burnout. I have officially burned myself out.

So instead, I tried not to feel guilty and I filled my days up with other things. I spent the week keeping myself busy in projects like gardening and removing horrible seashell wallpaper from my guest bathroom. I didn't go to the gym. I didn't go for a run. I didn't stick my bike on the trainer like I had planned. Nothing.

Instead, I worked on my projects. I took the kids out to the spray park. I had them help me plant flowers (and by plant flowers I really mean they made sand "birthday cakes" for each other out of sand on the sidewalk while I planted.) They helped me rip off wallpaper from the walls, which they thought was the coolest thing in the world. We went to the library and we read books about volcanoes and the human body over and over and over and over and over and over again. We had a great week together, just doing other things.

And when this morning came and I felt ready again to go do some sort of physical activity, I was still pretty tired but I felt my body getting antsy. I was worried that I had lost some fitness and that maybe it would be hard to gut my way through a couple of miles. And I thought, "Wouldn't it be crazy if even though I'm dragging ass right now, I have the best workout ever when I'm done?"

So the kids went and played in kidcare while I hopped on the treadmill. And that's when it happened.


Three miles in 27:50.

Three miles in 27:50!!!!!!!!

I don't know what it was but my body felt like happily furiously flying along and I was suddenly happy that I had listened to my body and given myself a break to gather myself last week. Because sometimes you just need to unfocus to refocus. Or so it seems for me. Now I have to figure out what to do to spice up my workout-life a little (wear lingerie?)

What do you do when things get stale? And do you feel guilty about taking a break?

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