December 23, 2014

Tis the (off)season

The Christmas season is in full swing with all its richness and scheduling craziness, but it many ways it is the off season right now. November and December are the two months where we get our reprieve from the tax season that somehow stretches into ten months. Even though the social calendar is filling up with festivities, there is a bit of peace to match the ideal of the season.

Wintertime is not only the off season for work, but it is also typically the off season for training. For those that have training cycles throughout the year, the winter months are generally when you take it a bit easy. Not only does your body need a break now and then to repair and renew, but you need to step back to give your mind a rest as well. You risk burnout if you go at it day after day, month after month, and I think time away allows you to pursue your goals with more energy and determination when you return.

Winter is an ideal time on the calendar for this. For most of us (ah to be in San Diego some days), the temperature drops and the daylight hours fade. Add to this the activity and temptations of the holiday season, and it is nice to not watch every calorie, and sleep in on those Sundays when you would be more typically rising early to run or ride. 

This year is a little different, though. For a number of reasons, I wasn't as active this summer. Injury and illness played a part, as did more finish lines on the work calendar than the running calendar, but if I am honest with myself, I lost that spark, that drive to take care of myself. As a result, I am carrying more weight these days, both physical and mental. That needs to change.

So I am getting back at it now. For the past couple of months, I have been getting out three times a week for a run or a ride. Things being slower at work makes it a bit easier, but the winter season makes it more challenging. I am running in the dark most of the time, so I am either chasing a little headlamp circle bobbing in front of me, or swapping out more scenic routes for ones with streetlights. 

And then there is the weather. It has bounced between drenching rain and bitter cold. A day after I sank into the saturated soil, the hole froze solid. 

But then it was 66 degrees on December 10th, the warmest December day recorded in Seattle since records began in 1945. There is nearly as much time spent wondering what I should be wearing as there is actually running. 

But I am finally moving in the right direction again, and the habit is starting to take hold. The other day when I was just about done, a red light delayed me. Even though I was ready to be done, I decided to turn right and add some distance rather than wait. I have also been running some 5ks lately, and it is nice to be toeing the start line again. 

The Evan Sebenius 5k Memorial Run

 The Green Lake Gobble

Turkey Trot

Holiday Fun Run

So it is sort of an off-season that isn't. I am hoping (planning damn it!) to carry the training dedication and self-care through the winter and into the April madness. I need to do a better job at prioritizing heath and well-being over deadlines that will be there no matter what I do.

One nice thing about the crossing of the off-season (that is or isn't an off-season) and the Holiday Season is having the time to be able to see friends and family. I look forward to the grand gatherings with the warmth of home and friendship, but there is something special about pinning on a race bib and taking on a challenge together. A bit of fellowship to add to the richness of the season. And burning a few extra calories before the roast beast doesn't hurt either. 

1 comment:

Kathy Kail said...

You sure have turned into a fuzzball there! ;-)