Being a smart athlete…

I want to be a smart athlete, but I tend to be a dumb one that makes the same mistakes over and over again. I run through injury, sickness, infected spider bites, etc. This has only resulted in further injury, more sickness, and crutches. So, I’m battling a simple chest cold–one that started a week ago today. I ignored the initial signs (dumb athlete) and ran 11 miles on Sunday (after two hard workouts Friday and Saturday). I blame this mostly on the amazing amounts of inspiration I gathered from watching Ironman World Championships. On Monday-Thursday, I worked through it because at my job, that’s pretty much what we do (a story for another day), even though we see about 80 different kids walk through our studios everyday. That’s TONS of germs. And endurance activity has been shown to suppress the immune system. My body didn’t have a fighting chance! I finally was smart enough to take a half day Thursday and Friday to try to rest (or something more restful than on my feet and teaching all day), but I’m planning a party on Saturday & currently my business is a business of one–so I can’t call in sick there, either!

All of that wasn’t meant to be a big complaint, but if all my free therapy through Oprah’s Teleclass is onto something, I guess I should try “listening to my own voice.” Not the voice of the crazy person inside of me saying, “Don’t be a wimp, you can race through this.” The funny thing is, endurance athletes have to be mentally tough to make it through any kind of event. That kind of tough talk is what can get you through, so it’s hard to shut it down–even when the race is over. Tomorrow is the Playa Del Rey race, a race I really enjoy & just signed up for right before the cold started. It’s not cheap to race, so I hate to waste money. Also, I know I could go there & the adrenaline would be enough to let me complete a pretty decent race. But, the truth is, I’ve already raced 6 races this year–I’m good! I had a great race at the L.A. Triathlon a few weeks ago. It’s not like I’ve been training specifically for this race for months (in that case, you can bet I would be on the starting line). And what I don’t want is to draw out this chest cold for another three weeks because of my own dumb athlete move. (That’s three more weeks of compromised/non-existent workouts).

So, I’ve made the call not to race & thought I would be more down about it, but I’m OK (especially OK not to have to go to packet pick up!). I thought I would be feeling lazy, but really–just relieved to not have to learn how to incorporate coughing into my swim stroke. Also, watching the Ironman Champs inspired me SO much, I’ve decided to try this new triathlon race series in Palm Springs instead of the half marathon. It’s in December, which is normally “off season”–but I haven’t really over-trained this year (made it to the pool 0 times in the past 3 weeks) or raced too much, so I feel like I’m still up for a race to finish the year off with. I’m also thinking about scratching the marathon in March for a Half Ironman instead, but that may just be crazy talk & too much inspiration after seeing Ironman winners cross the finish line. So I’m not registering for either, yet! We will let reality set in first.

I need no well wishes, it sounds like I’m on my death bed or something, but I promise–it’s just a chest cold. I remember very clearly how that turned into bronchitis this past spring when I trained & worked right through it like it was nothing (which then forced me to miss a highly anticipated family reunion)–so here’s to being a smart athlete! Hopefully it means I will be working out just fine next weekend (and the weekend after!).