I’ve always felt that life is about balance and finding vitality, but it’s really hard to achieve and seems to be getting worse.  Social media is a continual stream of “look at me and all the awesome stuff I’m doing,” but someone’s public feed rarely tells the whole story.

So, I am trying to take it all with a grain of salt (I should probably not go on Facebook as much) and stay focused on the right plan for me.  And that right plan is to strengthen my frame, or as my coach says, “Rebuild the chassis.”

I’ve been walking a lot, doing yoga, weight training, a bit of swimming and a little running. The trouble with doing a “little” (especially when combined with the societal pressure) is that omnipresent fear that you’re not doing enough.

Yesterday, I just sort of had to get a grip on my current status.  So, after a four mile walk with my dog, I put on the watch and hit the trails for a run.

The goal wasn’t to go fast, I just wanted to see if I could do around 8 miles without struggling.  And, after walking Mattie through the scenery, it was hard to resist.

Shelby Bottoms Trails

I took off with my sights on 10-minute-miles and stayed pretty close to that as I blazed these gorgeous trails and mixed in a few short stretches on the connecting blacktop.  I decided that will actually be part of my new strategy.  I much prefer the cushion and serenity of dirt and grass, but it is a noticeable impact difference on pavement, so I don’t want to run away from it completely.

I don’t want to proclaim it was an easy run, but it kind of was.  My hips got a little tight by the end, but the real payoff was that I actually felt refreshed as I sat around watching my Badgers demoralize the state of Nebraska.

My tendency to push too hard beats me up, and this is the exact opposite of my plan.

In my case, “what I am training for” will be measured by my time at Ironman Chattanooga, and while it is still 10 months away, I don’t want to miss my opportunity to use this off season to my fullest.  That opportunity is building slowly so I am not battling injury next season.  Yesterday’s run was a great example of how I can go for a decent distance (1:15) and not strain my achilles, IT band, or ankles.

I don’t really even feel like I ran yesterday, and I kinda think that’s the point.  It reminds me of something a martial arts instructor told me once while I was complaining about being tired all the time.  He said, “Exercise is supposed to give you energy, not take it away.”  I try not to forget that, but often do.

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How I'm Handling the Off Season

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