For the past two weeks--basically, since I started running again--I have felt like I'm Ironman training. This is good; I had been worried that I wasn't in the right frame of mind. Last week, we crossed the 100-days-to-go threshold, and I can now happily (and tiredly) report that yes, indeed, I am back in the groove.
I originally thought that my focused training would begin on January 1. When I was still pretty relaxed and unfocused in mid-January, I figured February 1. Ultimately, it turned out to be more like March 10. It's not like I slacked off in January and February, though, and because of that, I'm about where I need to be fitness-wise right now.
So, why did my brain come to the party so late? I believe that it was mostly because I was still suffering the mental and physical effects of Ironman Cozumel. I was very disciplined in the run-up to the event, just as I plan to be very disciplined in the run-up to Coeur d'Alene. Applying that much focus and discipline takes a lot out of me mentally. My wife jokes that I train very hard, but when I take off, I take OFF. She's right; I think that my mental makeup bends toward feast or famine. Moderate exercise three times a week has never appealed to me. Likewise, in order to re-balance my psyche after being so focused heading into Cozumel, I had to take a lot of time to be unfocused--particularly if I was going to re-focus again for Coeur d'Alene.
And, of course, I was dealing with the bursitis and posterior tibialis tendon issue, too, that I have documented in great detail in earlier blog entries. I learned from treating this injury that even though I can train in two sports while I'm injured, I don't actually feel like I'm training for a triathlon unless I'm doing all three. I'm not sure why that is. I would have thought that the positive feelings that come from being able to train well in two sports would be enough to overwhelm the negative feelings that come from being injured in one sport. For me, at least, they were not. Injuries really suck me down mentally. For two months, I killed myself on the bike and swam twice a week, but I couldn't even muster enough focus to eat right because I wasn't able to run. What's that all about?
Now, though, I can run again. I have done several runs in the last three weeks in which I have mostly stuck to the unpaved flat track in the park across from our home. Last night, I ran two miles on that track, and then I left it to do seven more on the pavement and hills of Atlanta. Today, my heel is a little sore (from the bursitis), but my posterior tibialis tendon is issue-free. Indeed, I'm still wearing one of the handy-dandy arch pads that the podiatrist gave me, but I believe that the running injury is behind me.
This is, of course, why I can now see Coeur d'Alene so clearly in front of me.