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Bring on the off-season!

2017 race results:
  • Xterra Southeast Championships, Pelham, AL- 1st Overall Amateur Female
  • USAT Off-road National Championships at Xterra Gator Terra, AR- 1st Overall Female
  • Xterra Mountain Championships, Beaver Creek, CO- 5th Overall Amateur
  • ITU Cross World Championships, Penticton, Canada- 5th Overall Amateur, 2nd in age group
  • Xterra Pan Am Championships/USA National Championships, Snowbasin Resort, Ogden, UT- 1st Overall Amateur
  • Xterra World Championships, Maui, HI- 1st American Amateur Female, 4th Overall
  • Awarded Ms. Xterra 2017
  • USAT ranked 1st overall in the women's 40-44 age group for off-road triathlon for 2017
  • Selected to be part of Pearl Izumi's 2017 Ambador team

Sitting on the couch with my feet up while snow falls outside the window makes me think the race season above and results were just a distant dream rather than only ending a little over a week ago. I don't feel out of shape quite yet, but I have been indulging in chocolate, lattes, beer and wine- a few treats that I cut out of my diet over the past few months after working though adrenal fatigue issues. I have played on the trails on my mountain bike a couple of times this past week and snuck out for an early morning run over the weekend to clear my head and feed my soul. Am I one of those that feels the need to keep going with my training routine or find a new obsession to occupy my time now that race season is over? -I hope not. I throw the watch out the window for a few months, choose to hike or walk the dogs if my legs are aching and the beautiful mountains call my name, and do things that I miss doing when training and race season take over free time.

This past week I have spent much of that "free" time catching up on the list of items that I pushed off dealing with until after Xterra Worlds... a parent teacher conference, the dreaded IEP meeting, a doctor's appointment, dropping off paperwork for my daughter's pediatrician to fill out, and scheduling her next neurology appointments. Fun, huh? Sometimes I think I opt for a bike ride to escape all of the life stuff that makes me want to bang my head against the wall... pounding out frustrations while riding up a long hill is much less painful than dealing with policies and procedures of the special needs world.

This brings up a good topic for discussion... the off-season.

What exactly is the off-season and what should you do during it? The off-season doesn't necessarily mean taking weeks and weeks completely off from exercise, eating tons of junk food, and mindlessly spending hours upon hours scrolling through your Facebook news feed. Your body does need a bit of slowing down as you recover and transition from peaking for your end of season "A" race to a base building season and the start of your next training cycle. Often times, while the muscles have become primed and ready for that last big race of the season, body fat levels dip quite low. This is okay for a short period of time, but if they remain at such low levels, not so healthy side affects could occur. So yes, indulge in some cookies and alcohol, but be mindful of how much you are eating and drinking. Eating healthy fats such as avocados (bring on the guacamole!), nuts, and lean meats are a good way to help restore your body fat to healthy levels.

Sitting on the couch... I joke about that and today I am thoroughly loving snuggling under a blanket as I type, guilt free, but remember, our bodies are used to moving. We have been pushing them and moving them for years. When we completely stop doing something that is just part of our daily lifestyle, we do allow it to heal, but also suffer achy stiff joints, sleep disturbances, and many of us (myself included -just ask my husband!) start a sulking downward spiral of moods.

As I mentioned above, I throw the watch out the window for the next 2 months. I write a list of things I used to love to do before swim, bike and running took over my free time, and start checking things off the list (part of my driven Type A personality - I need to feel that sense of accomplishment so list making is great). I'm not talking merely about scheduling appointments and deep cleaning bathrooms, although if I write those things down I am much more likely to actually scrub the toilet. I am referring to reminding myself of the lifestyle we lived before being consumed by triathlon. For years, my husband and I would meet after work, pre-children, and go for bike rides or long hikes through the woods on the weekends. I worked at a gym when we first met, so he would meet me there at o'dark early and we would lift weights and get our bit of cardio in on the elliptical trainers or rowing machines. Weight lifting and adding a few pounds of muscle during this time is not only a great outlet, but also a good way to strengthen the body and protect it from injury once race training resumes in the new year.

A lot of athletes feel like they can not function without a race goal. Sure, you may have already signed up for an Ironman distance triathlon in 2018 and that is awesome, but I encourage you don't start training for it quite yet, unless your 2017 season ended a few months ago and the big race for 2018 is in the 1st quarter of next year. I am all for a fun Gobble Wobble 5K with the family or Santa Hustle to motivate you to get out of the door during the holiday season. Just make sure you dress up in Santa hat and jingle bells -j/k... but seriously, don't take these races too seriously. Have fun with them. You won't be at your peak of fitness and that is okay. We can't sit at the top of the mountain of peaking all year long. Our bodies need those dips so we can soar higher in the future.


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