What I learned during my summer vacation

With the End of Summer Classic on Friday and my second triathlon Labor Day weekend, my summer of training is officially coming to an end. What a summer it’s been. I remember looking at the calendar pages for the first time and instantly regretting everything I had signed up for. So much writing, so few blank days, so ambitious for me to take on. Dutifully I chipped away at it day by day. Standing in front of the fridge every night I’d proudly cross that day off. I’m know it’s lame to admit, but it gave me such a sense of completion. After coming home from Falmouth I woke up the next morning and headed to the calendar to see what was on the schedule for the day and there it was… nothing. Blank days for weeks. No scheduled bike rides, no swims, no interval runs, no bricks. I nearly had a panic attack… what do I do NOW?

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The front of the fridge looks so bare now…

I have mixed feelings when it comes to these blank days. I think my last few posts are a tell tale sign that I am tired, and am on the verge of a burn out- and I know that that means it’s time to slow down on the training. I mean in one summer I more than doubled my mileage, spent 6 days a week training, ran 5 races, became a triathlete, and coached a run group for the first time. If there was ever a time I deserved to “take it easy”, I’d like to think it’s after completing all that. On the flip side I know that I’m not very good when it comes to taking it easy and I’m already feeling antsy without something to train for. I like goals, I like plans. I don’t do “take it easy” very well.

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That’s a VERY good question, RunKeeper. I’ll let you know when I figure it out myself.

For as much time as I spent bitching and complaining about how much I had to do this summer, the truth is that I couldn’t be more grateful for every second of it. I took the body that I worked so hard for last summer, and I made it do some pretty amazing things. I started my mornings with sunrise bike rides, and ended with dusky nights at the track. I went to sleep with the smell of chlorine still on my skin, and woke up with damp hair from late night showers. I got a LOT of bug bites. I didn’t go anywhere without my purple backpack, which is now full of every day necessities.

Brick workouts while camping. Because tri training doesn't take a vacation!

I learned more this summer than I ever thought I would. Last summer I learned portions, I learned control, I learned how to combine eating and exercising to make the pounds disappear. This summer was lessons in performance, athleticism, endurance. I learned what happens when you don’t fuel properly before a race, and what happens when your training falls perfectly into place. I learned the importance of hydration. I learned that beach days are even more sacred when they come after a hard week of training. I learned that it’s okay that after losing over 60 pounds I still can’t run in shorts. I learned how to not drown in the middle of a lake. I learned how to use my arms when attempting hills. I learned that arms are more crucial to running than one would think. I learned why gears are so crucial when it comes to riding a bike up a hill. I learned a lot about hills this summer.

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Fueling properly = happy runner

I learned that sometimes the sweetest gestures of friendship can be found in mile countdowns or ecstatic bear hugs at a finish line. How a bag full of bananas and bandaids can make you cry from overwhelming love. That support systems are critical to success. That trust is just as critical. That tough love helps shape you just as much as comfort does. That sometimes having someone run patiently alongside you can provide more motivation than words ever could. That having someone tell you “You can do this” is great, but being able to say those words to someone else feels even better.

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I learned that while I’ve come so far this summer I still have a long way to go, I still have so much to learn. I learned that I want to continue to work on being stronger, faster, and better at what I now love to do. I learned that scary isn’t always bad, and that facing challenges head on can sometimes lead us to discover our greatest passions in life. Before this summer I never really had the mindset that anything is possible if you want it bad enough. But now I get it- and I know that I’m a lot stronger than I used to think I was. I know that when the next challenge comes along, I’ll be ready for it. Who knew you could learn so much in just one summer.

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About Kathleen

When your legs get tired run with your heart.

Posted on August 21, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow! What a fantastically motival post, Kathleen – well done! 🙂

  2. Sounds like a great summer! Thanks for the inspiration!

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