Every once in a while I reach a point where I slowly and painfully realize that something just isn't working. I reached that point this past August.

After Timberman was over I was extremely disappointed in everything I was doing. It felt as though I had been screwed. I thought that after two years of solid training I could expect and deserved to have a great race. That was what the little devil was saying to me after Timber.

Soon I came around and realized I should not be this unhappy about a race! Something else was wrong. Something else was not right. I decided to take everything down. Tear myself away from everything I was doing at the time so I could re-build a more satisfying, happy, regime. I carefully stepped back and looked at my life a little closer.

The first change I had to make was to let Jen go. This was very difficult to do as I gotten to know Jen over the past two years and more importantly as an athlete had come to lean on her for so much support and knowledge. It was very scary to think I would be coachless. For one thing I would be responsible for my own workout schedule. I would have to actually think hard about what I would put up on that schedule. I would not have the voice of reason to go to at any given moment. But I was ready.

After we said our goodbyes and started to create my own schedule I came to realize that I actually missed creating my own workout schedule and messing around with that. My creativity had been put aside since 2006 when I first hired a running coach. No in an artistic, painting, sort of way but a thinking creatively sort of way.

What I also came to realize is that - having a coach allowed me to rely heavily upon her for the knowledge and the learning curve. What this meant is that I became lazy when it came to reading up on the sport of triathlon. I didn't really have to read much as I had a coach who knew everything already and I could just ask her. Lazy.

I had robbed myself of the joy of learning by reading, reviewing, and internalizing different stories, tips, equipment reviews, and other interesting articles that you find in the magazines and books. Each glossy cover of Triathlete Magazine would sit there on the coffee table and just glare at me. I finally cancelled my subscription a couple of months ago until I find a reason to re-subscribe.

The other change in my routine came to me without any planning. My body now dictates my workouts. If "it" does not want to run long "it" does not. I simply listen and deal. I also tell myself "It's OK, it's OK". And IT IS. It's totally OK with me to listen and learn.

In allowing myself some more space to listen to my body and to be more creative with my thoughts I have found that my other creative side has re-sprung it's head. That would be my cooking side. I enjoy cooking a lot and I have been cooking up a storm over the past couple of weekends. This is what I cooked:

Chicken Divan
Apple Crisp
Real Greece Salad
Chicken and Eggplant Parm (Gluten free)
Apple Crisp again
Winter Squash

My next experiment in cooking will be with Splenda. I want to see how oatmeal cookies taste with Splenda rather than refined sugar.

My love of triathlon is still with me. I just need to allow more room for the "me" to come through. I've also signed up for the Patriot Half Iron in June 2011 and am currently in the off season but keeping things fresh. After vacation in November I'll turn up the volume.


GoBigGreen said...

Yay for finding the old Mel....and I am sure it was hard to let Jen go, but you know she is still there and I am sure so OPEN to your questions. And let us know how the cookies go. I am not sure i really like Splenda as i dont use many artificial sweeteners but i am interested to hear what you think of it:)

Running and living said...

I get this, I really do! This, aside from the $$$, is what has been keeping me from getting a coach. I love to learn about training, about my body, about what I need to improve. I believe you know yourself the best. A coach can be tremendously helpful for most, but not for everyone. Good luck, Melissa, and let me know how things progress for you!

Mary IronMatron said...

It is so hard to make a change like that. I'm glad you had the courage to go on your own! I think you are going to have a great time creating workouts. I find it's so fun... I love that aspect of training, and it's always been hard for me to let someone else do the thinking for me. I think you are also really going to like the Patriot Half!

cheryl said...

Melissa - since I've been so injured, I'm not being coached anymore. I'm not sure if I'll ever get back to training/competing, but in the hopes that I do, I've been doing the same thing. Reading a lot, and tinkering with a plan. ANd listening to my body more than anything(especially in light of my injuries and getting older). And cooking too! Well, this year, I had a weekly CSA produce delivery, so I got to eat al kinds of great fruits and veggies, and I'm trying to carry that through the winter. I'd love to see your eggplant parm recipe, especially gluten free, if you care to share it.

good luck with this new phase! I'm looking forward to following it and see how you like it.

Kim said...

i'm really excited to follow you on your 2011 journey of ch-ch-changes!

ill see you at patriot!

Linda said...

Wow, go Mel! So wonderful of you to recognize the need to listen to your body, acknowledge a need for change, etc.

I go through phases of cooking up a storm too - your recipes sound wonderful! I'm curious how to make chicken/eggplant parm gluten-free, though...

Also I know this is your triathlete blog but you should post about your travels! :)

Deirdre said...

I love the way you write Melissa! Try brown rice syrup instead of splenda, it's good and much more healthful. Splenda scares me.

maria conley said...

Have fun putting and creating your new training plans/schedules. As we get a little older we get wiser and we listen to our bodies. You are a very smart athlete & best of luck with your new training program!!! Real sugars are healthier and Splenda or other fake sugar..

AM-GoalsfortheWeek said...

hey there!
i really like this post. i sooo relate in many ways.

i too parted w/my coach: i'm ready to do a year w/my own knowledge, base, etc...

enjoy the off time!!

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