Plowing Through: Pre-Vacation Frustration

We’re about to head on vacation, and it can’t come soon enough.

My races were chosen around the vacation schedule, and I planned to be able to keep training while vacationing. I look forward to it, actually.

For one week we’ll be near Tobermory, and I relish the idea of jumping into the cold waters of Lake Huron after a hot run. During my brick workout last Saturday, which consisted of 42km on the bike and a 5km run in a 40-degree Humidex, I was dreaming of that moment.

Our second week is planned for Ottawa, where I’ll get to run on the national capital region’s awesome trails, and cycle the tremendous and shady hills of Gatineau Park… and likely with my favourite training partner along for some of it.

But it feels like vacation is about a week or two overdue. As we frantically finish up loose ends at work (harder for my wife than it is for me, but still a frenzy on my end) and pack up more stuff than will possibly fit into our vehicle, I’m also trying to squeeze in gym and road time.

Unfortunately, just halfway through Monday night hockey, what had felt like an irritated-from-physio hip flexor exploded into a full muscle strain when I was launching into a fast chase. End of story for hockey that night. And unfortunately, a bonafide wrench in the plans.

Perspective: it’s not the worst injury, nor the longest lasting. I’ve done it before, a little less seriously, and bounced back to riding within days, and running within a week.

But it’s annoying to have yet another interruption to my training. And yet another cause to limp. Not to mention yet another thing to worry about. I’ve practically moved in to the sports therapy clinic already. Am I supposed to literally do that now?!

We have to listen to our bodies and our minds, even as we challenge them. Some days, I’m tired, but that doesn’t mean I am too tired to train. Other days, I really should take heed of the tiredness and either back off the intensity of the workout, or reschedule it. It’s challenging to know the difference. And as a former fat guy, I know I err on the side of carrying on, because I so fear a return to obesity.

What I do know at this point is that I’m overdue for vacation, short on time, and stressed out at work. My workout plans for the week now have to change, drastically. And I can only hope that things get back to full strength by next week, when the next race is that much closer.

What started as a frustrating, injury-plagued Spring has blossomed into a equally frustrating, injury-plagued Summer. I can’t say why — I’ve laid the foundation in the gym, taken great pains to not over-train, and have heeded any warning signs I have spotted — and those that my physio and massage therapist have spotted.

Maybe this is just what it means to be 41. Or maybe I’m not watching closely enough to spot the warning signs. Who knows.

All I do know is that a week staring at the brilliant blue waters of Lake Huron, with my wife, her brother and sister-in-law and our three awesome West Coast nephews, well, that’s surely going to be restorative. Follow that up with another week of family and friends in the gorgeous Ottawa area, and work will be but a distant memory. And if not, I guess there’s always wine.

For this week, though, as frustrating as it is, I’ve graduated from fully incapacitated to dog walking, and an easy spin on the indoor bike instead of the road workouts I’d envisioned. Maybe I’ll even get on the road for a gentle ride by Friday. Arnica, do your magic!

In any event, it’s all better than nothing. And the end is in sight — or almost. Just a couple more days ’til those turquoise waters come into view.

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