Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Relaxation February

I'm learning lessons all over the place! After I sorted out my anemia, I was still feeling as crappy as I felt before. Here were the symptoms:

- Unable to get my HR high enough to hit high-intensity or even moderate-intensity workouts.
- Even the easy and steady workouts felt massively difficult.
- I had absolutely NO pep, you could NOT get me excited to hit certain demanding time intervals in the pool, or go all out hard on the bike, or ask me to bust up a hill. It got to a point where attempting to access another gear, no, didn't raise my HR but it did leave me feeling very very weak.
- The motivation to do anything else was very low. It required huge mental focus to hang out with friends and to complete even the simplest of chores.

The thing is, it became progressively worse since October so I'd been able to get used to feeling really really exhausted. My coach at every phone conversation would often suggest that I take some time off, and I'd insist that even if I were to take time off from being coached, I'd still feel the urge to train on my own. I'd still swim/bike/run. He believed I was overtrained far sooner than I could admit it; things were also complicated because of my sudden anemia... what was overtraining and what was anemia?

After I conducted some blood tests, my ferritin levels were much improved and at "normal" levels, haemoglobin was perfect, nor was I B12/folate deficient or any other thing that the doctor could think of, I began to believe that perhaps taking an extended period of time off would be a good idea.

So I decided to take the rest of February off. It gave me time to think, and hindsight is always 20/20. Of course, two weeks off after a full February - September intense racing season is not enough. From February to May I was entered in one event or another pretty much every weekend, then I did 4 half-irons and a full-iron triathlon in the span of 3 months. I was, of course 100% toast. Moving across the world, in 4 different countries didn't help. When I did return back to training after only a 2 week break, the training was also at a higher intensity. Then the anemia hit.

Very many things culminated in me getting very very fried. I've decided to return to training March 1st. I'm taking my time off very seriously, even if it has me seriously jonesing for a good training fix. The compulsive, diligent need to train, let me tell you, isn't always of benefit to the body.

Here's what I'm doing to heal myself:
- Sleeping 10 hours a night
- If I do exercise for 2-3 days in a row, I take 2 days off.
- Eating well and healthy
- Keep my excitement and energy in check. I'm starting to really feel the drive to hit hard intervals and hard sessions, and it feels so much easier to work hard than it did before... but I know I have to heal a little bit more.

In any case, things are turning back around and I feel really good for my future races. I think some ~magical~ things can happen soon, in a very fresh state. This forced time off has also made me appreciate just how much a coach can see, simply from being an outside personality. He has been suggesting a break from training for months, and I always insisted on continuing onwards. I know I'm pigheaded and stubborn, but perhaps I should listen a bit more? I only gave myself a break when I physically could not swim, bike, or run anymore.

Anyway here is a random photo:

Lake Hawea on a calm day! I love this mountain range, it
looks very dramatic. 

6 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how much I can relate to your comments. I too have taken the Month of February off, and while it was more due to injury, I'm actually feeling the best I have in a couple of years. For me, it has all been an overload of mental stress.
    Good for you, listen to your body!

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    1. Thanks Bobby, I appreciate your comments. The month of February has been frustrating because it feels like I am going backwards, but now that I am nearing its end, I feel quite on fire!! The rest has worked, and I can only appreciate more just how important rest is (be it from overtraining, injury, or mental burnout).

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  2. My dear!
    You don't know how happy I am to hear that you're giving yourself a break. Well needed.
    :) It'll give you a renewed urge to work hard all over again without feeling exhausted.
    Sounds like a smart guy your coach! And YES you are stubborn ;)
    TAKE CARE MY DEAR.

    p.s. I found a coach ! Going to try it out for a bit and see how it goes. I'm pretty excited!

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    1. thanks Steph!! You know how stubborn I am, and how much I love swim, bike, running around like an idiot! But the break was soooo needed, I feel like crushing people again, and that's a good sign!!

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  3. Thanks Bobby, I appreciate your comments. The month of February has been frustrating because it feels like I am going backwards, but now that I am nearing its end, I feel quite on fire!! The rest has worked, and I can only appreciate more just how important rest is (be it from overtraining, injury, or mental burnout).

    And thanks Steph!! You know how stubborn I am, and how much I love swim, bike, running around like an idiot! But the break was soooo needed, I feel like crushing people again, and that's a good sign!!

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  4. LOL how do I delete that last comment? I just discovered the reply function... computers are hard.

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