... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Days Off

Days off are a wonderful thing.

When I first started this triathlon adventure, I counted the hours until my weekly day off. I ached for it, fantasized about it, and imagined it in excessive detail as I did my running workouts. The week seemed to drag by in slow motion and it felt like years since I had a day free from the tribulations of training. Lately, though, a funny thing has happened. The six days of training during the week seem to have sped up, and it feels like just yesterday that I was sitting in my living room resisting the urge to work out and reminding myself that rest is a very important part of strengthening the body.

That’s right- on my days off, I am craving a workout.

What has happened to me? Just five weeks ago I was sitting on the couch eating red, silver, and green Christmas edition Hershey’s kisses and bemoaning that my boyfriend was going to drag me to the gym, and today, after working out hard six days in a row, I can barely bring myself to sit still. I have also lost four pounds with no special effort, an added bonus that I am truly grateful for. Triathlon training is amazing.

However, since it is my day off, I placated my exercise urges with a trip to the beach and a very leisurely albeit long swim out to the deep water and abundant reefs hiding beyond the shallow waters where most people splash around. I used different strokes, and I took pictures of anything that sparked my interest with my underwater camera. It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining, the waves were minimal, and the water was surreally clear. Keeping a sharp eye out, we saw butterfly fish, needle fish, a plethora of uhu, tang, angel fish, wrass, humuhumunukunukuapoa’a (Hawaiian state fish, check it out!), the largest boxfish we’ve ever seen, and a sneaky eel coiled and ready to bite our faces off. Upon our return to the sandy bottom near the beach, I floated face up and let the water rock me gently back and forth. Then I floated back to shore, focusing on the perfectly clear turquoise blue enveloping me and the sun dancing on the sand beneath the water. This is what a day of should be.

So here is what my triathlon training has taught me today: love your days off. If you feel like exercising, do so, but very moderately. Let your muscles and your mind relax and enjoy doing whatever will make you feel at peace. Do not coast through them, but be mindful of the rest you are getting and allow yourself some extra pleasures.

Tomorrow, fully recovered, I’ll be back to hitting the bike and water with renewed resolve!

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