+/- motivation

I wanted to call this post </motivation>, but wordpress apparently doesn’t recognize html humor.

This past week was a mixed bag.

How do I feel so excited and so worn out simultaneously?

My younger brother, Jonathan, is a true athlete. He has been a cyclist since the age of 12, and probably could have gone pro. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe we’re related, but one thing we share is intensity. His has mostly been directed at cycling and training. He is a huge inspiration. Last week, as he was preparing for a race, I shared with him about my exhaustion. He said something to the effect of, “The body is an amazing machine. You can always push yourself harder, even if you’re sore or tired.”

I used to think he was crazy when he said shit like that, because that approach to physical comfort and well being just never clicked with me. In every other way, I am your typical, ENTJ, type-A overachiever. That does not extend to sports. I’ve frequently applied the “everything in moderation” label to my physical fitness, which usually gives way to “everything in couch potato-eration.” Certainly, at the least, I’ve given myself a break when sore, or taken a week off if my knee hurt. But in the last seven weeks, past mottoes have dissolved into, “push past the pain,” and, quite simply, “don’t stop.”

Last week I hit a wall when all my mottoes came crashing into each other and I had a small emotional breakdown. Up until last Wednesday, my mental status has blossomed with intense training. Decreased anxiety, brightened mood, elevated confidence. All those things that I know, intellectually, happen when you exercise, did. But my physical body has been suffering. I am either sore or tired or both pretty much all the time. So last Wednesday I knew I needed a break. I had terrible cramps and getting in the pool sounded like the worst thing in the world to me. I also knew that if I missed my class I would feel guilty. After a little encouragement from some training buddies, I made my class. The water eased my cramps, and I didn’t have to experience the unease that comes from missing a workout. I should’ve stopped there. But I wanted to get to my brother’s race, and then I wanted to go out with my family after. I knew I was too tired to do it all, but I pressed on. All of this led to no recovery food, severely delayed dinner, and hot, frustrated tears outside of RP Tracks as my father worriedly fed me a nutri-grain bar.

The next day wasn’t much better. I felt like I was crawling on the morning four mile run. My car overheated on the way to work and I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was going to break down if something else went wrong. My boss graciously granted me half a day off and after a fairly productive morning, I soothed myself with a little friend and baby therapy, then four consecutive episodes of Downton Abbey in bed. And I skipped the evening ride.

Friday was a rest day, and it felt incredibly bizarre to go 48 hours without a workout.  I feel somewhat justified in taking that break, because my Saturday run was the best yet. Five miles at an 11:29 pace was exhilarating! It wasn’t easy, but it felt right and good.

Overall, my half-day break from work and training was restorative. But I find my motivation waning. An “are we there yet?” mentality is permeating my thinking. I’m ready for the tri! I’m tired of training!

Yesterday, I missed yet another ride as brunch went long and yoga in the park sounded more appealing than riding by myself. The cycling seems like the natural choice to skip since that’s my comfort zone, but I really don’t want to miss more work-outs! This is a slippery slope to the aforementioned couch potato-eration that I have just been down too many times already. I’ll be in Chicago this weekend and know I will get a run in, but am doubtful about executing any time in the saddle. In the mean time, someone tell me how to transform anticipation into motivation.

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