As I set here enjoying a "Dr. Pepper", I am a week into my down time and to be brutally honest, I am enjoying it. For the first time since August of last year, I spent a week not doing any type of running workout. No strides, no track workouts, no fartleks, no long runs are on my schedule. I just get up, go out the door, and run whatever feels good. Sometimes, I run 7 miles. Other times, I run 14 or 16. Just go out the door and let the body do what it feels like doing.
After each hard training cycle I look forward to these down periods, because it gives me an opportunity to reflect on both my successes and my struggles.
Since last summer, I have run 2 x marathons both in 2:43, 2 x halves in 1:16 and 1:17. Picked up several titles: 8k RRCA Masters Championship, USATF&F Marathon, 10 mile, and ½ marathon Master's Championships. Added on 2 x Duathlons and a Biathlon – one of which I qualified for Duathlon Worlds. Between all of this I sprinkled in some 5k (breaking 17 minutes), 8k (breaking 28 minutes), and 10k road races and capped it off with several Time Trials and Dilworth Criterium. When I list it out, I have really don't have any idea how I completed all of it.
But my successes were not without struggles: hours spent running and cycling followed by hours covered with ice bags scattered from the hips through my ankles. Sometimes, I pushed things to the breaking point when I had weeks of sore ankles and feet, shin splints, and Achilles Tendentious. More than once I found myself racing with a body that wasn't truly 100%.
Somehow, I managed to survive it.
This rest period will last through the end of June. Then, it will be time start the building process for the fall and hopefully more successes.
Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner