Friday, June 10, 2011

Even Dolphins Eat Poop Sometimes...

My name is Bree Wee, I am a triathlete, BUT I have not ridden my bike in 6 days! It has been a very LONG week of recovery. I'm not injured, not bumming about anything, aren't lacking motivation, it's just one of those weeks that come after a race, and you know how the saying goes, "even dolphins eat poop sometimes".
I never actually heard anyone say that until I said it today. Tried to convince Wendy the dolphin stole my bikini top (see in his mouth), but we think it's really poop, because even dolphins eat poop sometimes...
I have been lounging around A LOT. In fact, it has literally become so much lounging my butt hurts from being on it (but not while riding a bike). Most the town raced Hawaii 70.3 and through the coconut wireless the discovery has been made. You are either "full blasting" or "fully blasted".
It is very common that athletes endure a little period of "post race depression" after a major (or even minor) event. When you pour your heart, soul, time, and attention on a single event for a duration of time it can happen to anyone. You wake up after the race with more than sore legs, your once early run is now replaced with an extra hour of sleeping in, that lunch break swim is now time waisted on facebook, and that ride with the buddies is another round of nachos at happy hour. So what happens?? I did a little research and it's super normal to feel like you are eating poop. Your body is off it's routine, your mind isn't fully focused on a single thing, and of course you now have to deal with the outcome of the race, be it a good day or a DNF.
What did I learn? I learned some people are "fully blasting". To avoid the time spent recovering more than sore legs (if you maybe didn't reach your goal), some dive hard core back into training. I'm not talking recovery spins or a flush, I'm talking no mental break to let the mind chill for second, its pick up where you left off and go more, more, more, harder, faster. This can go the opposite way too, maybe your race was so awesome you are on fire and think you can top it next time by doing double what you did this time so GET BACK ON IT!
Then there are the "fully blasted". Maybe the race totally took all their mental strength to get through. Perhaps the training for the race wore them out and burnt them out to the point of over training. The finish line was the last stop and now they are done. Sell the bike, hang up the shoes, over it. Maybe you didn't take it too far as to burn out, but you have allowed yourself to cross the finish line and be done for a few days or weeks or months, a healthy little rest to "refresh" for the next race adventure you tackle...
Most of us land somewhere between the two. Some are on cloud nine and stoked on their accomplishment so much that it has carried them through any sort of post race blahs. Some maybe used the race as a "train through" so they are still going to that bigger race and hopefully avoid any post race blahs. Well, I'm not a doctor and all I really know on the subject is what I read, what I hear some friends going through, and how I feel after a race. What I learned are a few ways to help lesson the load if you happen to find a dolphin with poop in his mouth...

To cross that bridge from post race blahs back into better days these might help...

  1. Have a new goal to focus on, something to get you fired up again

  2. Take it easy on yourself, respect your body, and be patient if it is signalling you to take a break (like an injury or burnout)

  3. FRIENDS & FAMILY! It is time to give back some time and attention to those that supported your journey. They dealt with you grumpy after you came home bonking from a long ride, they don't deserve to deal with you grumpy if you missed your PR too. Let them spend time with you in something non-triathlon.

  4. Be more than the "tri-you". One thing I read was that those who have other hobbies or activities fall back into a balanced life post race a little easier/faster than those who only feel passion for triathlon. With more than triathlon you have other things to keep you enjoying life while you physically and mentally recover from sport

  5. "Exercise" again (I never forget this, my coach tells me to "exercise", it's so 1980's sounding I love it!). It is okay to keep active in the sport you love, moving around and getting the body going helps A LOT. Just don't feel the pressure to "train". Go for rides and runs with your family, children, those that usually can't keep up with you-ENJOY sport

  6. Catch back up on chores, work that you let slip behind, make those doctor, dental, and hair appointments you never had time for, read some books, and my personal favorite-TRY A NEW RECIPE!

  7. Buy something new to "exercise" in, it might just fire you up again. If you need an idea get this bikini style sports bra, its AMAZING!

  8. And a personal favorite-if your race was a BIG GOAL race for you and you sacrificed a lot maybe reward yourself with something that totally makes you happy. A full day at the beach, a new bikini, maybe dinner out, or a special date, let yourself paint that room in your house you have been dreaming about, you get the idea....

This week of recovery has been 2 ocean swims, 2 easy jogs, my sisters yoga class, a walk on the beach, and watering plants. It has felt like NOTHING and is WAY less than I usually do post race. In fact, being so much less than normal it has almost caused me to feel like a poop eating dolphin, I do not like it and sort of want to be one of those that are already back out running 2 hour runs! Instead I have bought a new bit for my drill-major project in the making at my house, spent too much money on good paper for my painting, got the sewing machine out and new fabric, and began a project for a friends race. You gotta do what you gotta do to un-slump if you land in a slump (read that in Kainoa's Dr. Suess book).


Lucky for me today is exactly a month till my next triathlon so I wont have to sit this still for too long, at least not long enough to let any dolphin poop get in my mouth. And 2 weekends from now is Kona half marathon. That said, I will enjoy my legs feeling good for a little longer knowing we will trash them up soon!

Happy recovery,



krystyna47 said...

Went through the exact same thing after the Cairns Half last weekend. Pretty much just chilling on the beach, going for a 4WD adventure through a rainforest, cruise on a river to see crocodiles. Basically, 4 days of really weird relaxation!! I am excited to get back!

And maybe that's not poop?? Maybe it's underwater chocolate????? :P

SSB said...

While I rarely suffer the post race depression (what can I say, I love me some doing NOTHING time), and after Honu I was barely feeling like I 'raced' at all, I had a great week of what ever I wanted to do. I looked at my bike once. Moved it to the other side of the room once. And ran a couple times. Played in the ocean. And had a lot of margaritas. Now I'm ready for IMKY training!

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Great post Bree! Exactly how I'm feeling post-Alcatraz and you articulated it all beautifully. Thank you!

Lucy Francis said...

Thanks for the advice Bree. Right now i'm "eating lots of Poo" and yes I'm also using the opportunity to finish reading some books....and i can't deny it. there have been some lie-ins and a few siestas thrown in.
the good thing is that it's only a temporary phase :-)

Caroline said...

Great advice! I usually indulge in junk food as a reward for a day or two after a race (frosting from a can is a favorite - gross, I know). After two days of indulgence, the desire is usually out of my system and I'm ready for life to get back to normal again. Enjoy your recovery!

Regina said...

So that's what it's like to et poop! I've always wondered ;)

Some great advice in there for sure. Ok, except maybe the bikini style sports bra. If your packing up top that ain't gonna cut it. I know of which I speak.

I only did one tri this year and some other type races, which were all sort of 'meh'. But I got into the NYC marathon, my first marathon, and that has lit a fire in my belly to train well and hard. I like new stuff, new challenges. It's hard to repeat the feeling though after I've done my first 'whatever'. That's a huge mental obstacle for me.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

What I really love about your blog is that you write from the heart to ago along with your wisdom of the sport. Not the "cookie cutter" answers other give. Living in the Midwest and having a small race window of 4-5 months and a window of 4 months of nothing but indoor training. I see and have experienced burnout. We try to cram as much in that small window because we know we have a long winter of "nothing" but indoor swims, trainer movie nights, and dreadmills.

Thanks again for this post.