The morning after Santa Cruz, I woke up without a training plan for the first time since February.
Honestly, I was relieved. I was growing weary of evening workouts, of spending the first few minutes of each weekend morning banging my bike rack around in the garage, of not just running or riding my bike because I felt like it. I loved my training groups this year — I mean, adored them, miss them, think I’m going through a bit of withdrawal now that I’m not seeing them three times a week — but I was ready for a break from structure.
The first week, I don’t even know what I did. Nothing? I think I finally dragged myself through a swim that Thursday night, and Pete and I ran a couple of miles to and from a bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park that weekend, mostly because it was the least-unpleasant way to get there. The next week I did a fairly ambitious bike commute (involving riding through the Presidio in the dark, which I wouldn’t, like, beg to do again, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared), ran with a visiting friend, and … that’s it, I guess.
The third week, we were on vacation in Vermont, where I intended to do very little but drink beer, eat cheese, and catch up on the massive stack of magazines that I’d packed. (How massive? Our checked bag on the way out, filled with nothing but my clothes and magazines, weighed 46 pounds. On the way back, filled with nothing but cans of beer and cheese wedges, it weighed 48. The magazines probably weighed as much as half a case of beer, if not more.) Despite a dismal weather forecast, we lucked into a perfect fall week — cool temperatures and gorgeous, ever-changing skies — and ended up running twice: a hilly eight miles on country roads and gravel trails around the local lake, and then a slow and easy three miles a couple of days later to loosen all the things that barely running for two weeks and then running eight tough miles had tightened up.
But now that I’m home, I have no idea what to do with myself.
I’ve done this before. I rail and whine at the structure of the schedule, and the minute I’m freed from its wily grasp, I shut down. It’s not that I don’t want to do anything. If that were the case, the prescription would be easier: do whatever I want, or nothing at all, until I want to do more again. Instead, it’s that I want to do everything — and without organizing those vague interests into something resembling a reasonable training week, I end up not committing to anything. In theory I want to run, and join a masters swim group, and go to yoga again, and lift weights, and ride my bike all weekend. In reality, since we got home, I’ve bike commuted once, run twice, and oh yeah, that is all.
(The season doesn’t help matters. I’m always the worst at prying myself out of bed in these last few weeks before turning back the clock, and when I don’t “have to” be out of bed because of a class or a commitment or a box on a training schedule, I won’t be.)
The solution is probably easy: a few minutes with various class schedules, a calendar, and a pen. A look at my goals for the next few months. A list of the things that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but have passed up because of races (trampoline gym! weird ballet-ish-circus-ish class!).
For now, I just want to get through Sunday’s 10K — a race I signed up for sure I could PR but approach less confidently now, given all of the above. My non-plan plan: don’t look at my watch, go out hard, and see what happens. Maybe it’ll be a PR. Maybe it’ll be a disaster. Either way, I’m betting it will light a fire.