I have the very good fortune of being able to train with a group on a regular basis. I’m a member of Well-Fit Triathlon and Training, a coaching service and training facility here in Chicago. We have an Elite Team (who doesn’t these days? But Well-Fit’s was one of the first!), comprised of good-hearted but crazy local athletes who push themselves and each other to the limits of physical and mental well-being. If you know what I mean…
(…I *mostly* mean we push each other to perform, and sometimes we drive each other insane.)
ANYWAY, in addition to seven months of Elite Team workouts, Well-Fit offers group workouts for “everyday heroes” that run all year: something like two swims a week, a Computrainer ride or three at the Training Center, and informal groups usually organize around runs on the lakefront or outlying forest preserves.
Personally and inexplicably, I avoided these workouts this fall. Instead, I convalesced for a few months after Ironman Wisconsin, trying to recover well, to preserve my sanity for what will be a long 2012 season, to enjoy my down time, and to become a “real human girl” again. You know, a girl with manageable hair and soft IT bands. Unfortunately, without any structure or group activities, I’ve just ended up nursing what turned out to be a pretty serious case of the Post-Iron Blues.*
*I hope that by capitalizing this condition I can help codify it. It’s a real phenomenon, people, trust me.
January 1, 2012, was my deadline to get the fuck over it, though: IT’S TRI SEASON, BITCHES!
I mean, not really. It’s actually tri-OUT-season now, but I need the motivation. Months of feeling emotionally and physically worthless coupled with impending Chicago winter-induced cabin fever means time to buck the fuck up, be social, and get some endorphins flowing again.
Overall, it’s great to be back in the saddle again. –I’m spending a lot of time literally “in the saddle” because I’m nursing a calf boo-boo that hasn’t let me run much in the last month.– Before specific training starts and people split off for random races each weekend, getting together to get our sweat on has been just what the doctor ordered. At this point in the season, I don’t care what my training plan calls for or if the planned group workouts are properly periodized *for me.* If I need to modify something, I do. If I need to swap workouts between days to accommodate the group schedule, I have been. It’s worth it. I value my team, my coach(es), and my training partners. I love accomplishing something every day (even if it’s *just* recovery, yoga, or surviving Sharone’s “treatment” of my calf) and giving others who do the same high-fives.
My new normal is getting up before dawn, something unthinkable for me as recently as 2009.
2010 was my first year on the team. I spent a lot of that season felling slow and fat, comparatively. I didn’t go to a lot of the workouts because I was afraid I couldn’t rise to my teammates’ levels. I thought I would drag everyone down. I didn’t get that I was only hurting myself. My season and disposition suffered accordingly.
2011, I got over it (mostly).
2012, all I have to say –to myself and others who may feel the way I did– is QUITCHERBITCHIN’. Show up with a smile on your face and ready to work. I hope everyone at Well-Fit knows how lucky we are to have each other, and how much I’m looking forward to this season.