Yesterday, after 18 days of basking in pure laziness, I returned to my training schedule. And it humbled me.
I'm not sure why I thought I would be able to jump right back in. I know it's not only illogical but unsafe. However, despite my knowledge of training loads and stresses on the body, I thought that my Superwoman gene would present itself and I'd go run eight miles like it was nothing.
Obviously, I suffer from delusions of grandeur.
G, my bike sherpa for the day, met me at my place and after a lengthy fight with my watch and the satellites, we were off. I felt pretty good for the first half mile. By mile two, I had talked myself down to six miles. At mile 2.25, a twinge in my knee conjured thoughts of tendon rupture and I was retreating back to my house within moments.
I finished with 4.5 miles. 4.5 painful and challenging miles. A far cry from the eight that I thought I was going to manhandle.
But, as hard as it felt, my return to training reminded me that you have to work for what you want. Without continuous and balance effort, you'll never make the gains you hope to. And those reminders weren't all I gained during my three weeks of rest. Taking time off taught me much more than I had expected.
During my training hiatus ...
I learned that some rest (even continuous) can be good, but too much just eats away at you mentally and physically. Initially, my time off helped to heal and to recover, but at some point, I knew that I was just digging myself a hole to climb out of.
I learned that the longer I took off from exercise, the easier it was to stay away. I now understand how easy it can be to never get off the couch and get moving. So, if you have someone in your life that needs the motivation to make a change, help them to make it. Be their motivation and accountability, because it really is easier to do nothing.
I learned that our bodies react in strange ways. In the three weeks I rested, I LOST five pounds. I ate 2000 a day and still lost five pounds. Honestly, I have no idea why, yet I am confident that it wasn't entirely muscle loss.
I learned that I can get a massive amount of stuff accomplished when I don't have to use all of my free time training. I read six books. I cleaned out our closets. I wrapped 4952 Christmas gifts (that might be an exaggeration). I checked off every item on my to do list.
I learned that where my priorities were unbalanced. I reprioritized and hopefully found the best way to balance everything without taking away from anything.
And I spend boatloads of time with these cuddle bugs, something I wouldn't trade for the world.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that this rest was exactly what I needed.