I`ve never really respected the concept of rest and recuperation. I know, I know… I have been told that it is necessary. But I know myself better than anyone and I am one of those annoying “all or nothing” people.
Rest for an athlete is essential, for mental and physical regeneration. You`d think that I would have learned by now. Even when I was rowing, I used to go from NCAAs in the US to a tough schedule of trials and International racing all summer and culminating in World Championships usually at the end of July or beginning of August and straight back to the beginning of the collegiate fall season in the US while most of my varsity teammates at Boston University had the entire summer off from racing.
However, back then, I didnt have a full time job. Back then I was younger. Back then I got by with less sleep. Back then although the sessions were more intense, they were also shorter in duration.
By the beginning of March this year I was beginning to feel very restless, frustrated and tired. I hadnt really taken time off from training after the Abu Dhabi Adventure Race, only to recover from the chest infection I had developed during the competition.
I was unhappy with my schedule of early morning swims, and running in the dark in the evenings. Unhappy with feeling obligated to train. Unhappy about not having a social life. Unhappy about being let down by some people who had pledged to support me with equipment. So I decided to take a break. Switch the focus to other things. Develop other traits of my personality and let the desire to run and bike and push myself physically, to creep back when and if it decided to.
It was the best decision I have made this year.
I have been having so much fun. I have made a lot of great new friends, caught up with old ones, been to one of my best friend`s wedding, socialized and been on great nights out whenever I felt like it without the guilt of damaging my performance. I have also re-discovered my passion for music. Sure, I never stopped listening to music but I have discovered so much new music – making me feel more alive again.
I will also start a new job as Social Media Manager for Swarovski Crystal (I am so proud to announce that, it is a great achievement for me) in May.
And now…I feel like running again. I feel like biking again. But purely because I want to and not because I have to, or I should.
I have new routines. I am trail running most week days and I love getting out into the forest around Uetliberg which is covered in baerlauch (a type of wild garlic) and budding trees. The air smells different and the sun peeps out.
Although I have lost some fitness and I feel sore after some of the runs, it is also a welcome feeling. I have been trail riding with the guys and having so much fun on my bike. I have also been doing the Vitaparcours circuit and that is a new challenge for me, I hadnt realised how weak my upper body had become over the winter and its fun to try and do chin-ups and more push-ups and squats. A new challenge!
Sometimes we need to take a step back and in absence will we only really appreciate something. Sometimes we need to rest and put energy into other areas of our lives which have been neglected but are as equally important to acheive inner happiness.
Its all about having a balance.