Taking a Break from Myself

I was at a small gathering several weeks ago, and a few friends commented on how I was drinking copious amount of beer. I replied, “I’m taking a break from myself.”

But let me backtrack slightly to give this comment a bit of context:

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been super dedicated to training, I switched to a plant-based diet (though I’m known to have a piece of fish or an egg here and there), and though I love beer, I significantly reduced my indulgences to train harder and recover faster. These restrictions to what many would consider a “normal” life, at times, add quite a bit of uncomplimentary stress. I have to take time away from family and some activities that I love but can’t fit in, and on many occasions, my days become so full that I feel like I’m just packing everything in so tightly. It’s a weird sort of constriction, and as I found, it can build, tighten, and then, sort of, pop.

After my race at Oak Mountain, I did my best to get back in the groove. I rode Lightning that Sunday, which is a super fun downhill flow trail, and I took some time to rest and begin to recover. We headed back home, and though I dropped my training volume and intensity, I was still swimming, biking, and doing a little running. This lasted about a week, and then the wheels came off, and I fell into a downward spiral (It’s interesting that there was a delay.). After that week, I found myself not feeling good physically or mentally. Right after the championship, I did not feel too beat on or disappointed, but as the days wore on and my experience and my results started to sink in, I think I drifted into a sort of delayed disappointment. Not terrible, but I worked so hard for things to go so poorly with the allergy problem and foot injury (see my race report for details). And shit, it was what I was planning on as my “A” race for the year. I know that so many people say, “Don’t worry; these things happen.” But I just did not want to hear that cliche. I think I was teetering between anger and sadness, so I wasn’t about to listen that crap.

At this point, my plans for going to the Tsali Xterra race were drifting away, and I finally admitted that I was injured. Amazing how all these levels of denial build up. I was doing my best to ignore my disappointment and how bad of shape my hip flexors were in. So, in the face of detraining a bit, possibly loosing some of my endurance and strength, and the fact that the season was just ramping up, I decided to sit my ass down, drink some beer, give into some much-needed hedonism, rest, and, hopefully, recover quickly.

I know that many people experience such latent depression after a race, especially in endurance sports and especially when the race goes badly, and I could probably go on and on and keep speculating and exploring what happened and why, but I’ll just take the whole experience as a lesson and do my best to remember that occasionally I just need to “take a break from myself.”

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About Jim Newell

Associate Professor of English, Daytona State College / Thinker / Ponce Inlet Surfer / Improviser / Dad
This entry was posted in Mountain biking, Other, training, Training report, Uncategorized, XTERRA and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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