“The difference between motivation and inspiration: Motivation is external and short lived. Inspiration is internal and lifelong." - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
My state of denial gave way this month, and I finally acknowledged that the stars didn't align for my oly race at Williamsburg at the end of this month. After filing in and out of doctors' offices over the past few months and getting pricked & prodded one too many times, it became clear that my health wasn't where it needed to be in order to put in the quality training hours any race deserves. I've been able to wing plenty of running races in the past with little to no preparation, but triathlons are different. The first sign came at Peasantman in early May, when I spent the entire bike ride fighting the urge to yack as my head spun like I was on a never-ending Tilt-A-Whirl ride.
So now it's on to a rebuilding phase--rearranging those small foundational bricks that help establish a solid fitness base. Getting healthy is my first priority (obviously!), but it's also important to repair any cracks caused by frustration and disappointment. I've focused on tapping into the people and activities that seem to help instill some new inspiration for the road ahead:
Surround Yourself with Awesome
Despite not feeling 100%, continuing to surround myself with the people and places that pump me up helped me hold on to some of my endurance, particularly on the bike. I joined a friend for her morning commute on Bike to Work Day (I was working from home on May 17th), scored some free BBQ during Freshbike's Tuesday Night Ride (while admiring the speediest 300+ peloton on the Eastern seaboard), and felt like a giddy schoolgirl watching the pros race in The Air Force Cycling Classic's Clarendon Cup (tight turns & gnarly crashes are a sure way to get the adrenaline pumping).
Hanging out with fast/driven/intelligent friends is another way I'm keeping my spirits up. If I'm inclined to up my mileage, squeeze in one more set, or lose track of time talking about their latest race, it's bound to be a great thing. Like attracts like!
Indulge in Others' Stories
I'm a self-proclaimed documentary junkie. Aside from pulling on my heart strings, I tend to feel like I can go out and conquer the world after flipping off Netflix. Some of my current favorites include Ride The Divide, Spirit of the Marathon, Usain Bolt: The Fastest Man Alive as well as any film in ESPN's 30 for 30 series. I'm also guilty of keeping tabs on several athletes via Twitter and Instagram. By paying attention to what others are doing & how they are doing it seems to serve as a mini shot of espresso that gets me moving in the right direction.
Find a Tough Workout
And CRUSH it! I recently ran the staircase near the Lincoln Memorial until my legs were about to give out and had a killer strength training session where I upped my sets to 4 x 20 reps (yikes!). All in the name of endorphins, baby!
Relish the Quiet Time
I realize that I'm in the minority when I say that my training and workouts provide my mind a moment to "go blank" in the sense that my brain finally gets some quiet time. For others, the gears start turning and some of their best ideas come to them while on the bike or running the trail. Do whatever necessary to break away and get in a good place mentally. I cut out the music on my runs, make regular escapes to the beach in South Carolina, and mess around in the kitchen with some new recipes. Finding a way to break away from the daily grind is important and shouldn't be overlooked, especially when laying a fresh foundation for building new goals and challenges.
***More of Rachel's training musings can be found at tritriagainblog.com***