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Devils & rest days

REST DAY

The two most dreaded words on the training plan…

Backside wedged between two cushions and laptop balanced precariously on my knees, I glance yet again at the clock as it ticks towards 3pm. The dog trying to be a carpet at my feet twitches in her sleep and lets off a poisonous fart. I use escaping the stench as an excuse to get up for the fifth time in the last ten minutes and grab another biscuit or two from the kitchen. I wish I had some ice cream.

 

 

Hangin’ out

 

I’ve been up since 6am. Hopping up and down like a druggie without her fix since approximately 6.05.

Recovery may be an integral part – if not THE most important part – of training, yet despite years of experience, it is an area in which my brain still insists on proving it lacks a few essential connections. It is also the opportunity for the nasty devil on my shoulder to bug me not for a mere few hours between sessions, but for the whole damn day.

Some athletes relish the chance to catch a breather, more than happy to lie and watch Netflix, take care of admin or catch up with a few friends – how I admire and envy them!
I know before I even go to bed the night before that I am going to struggle through the next day. I’ll eat too much, think too much, hit the Nespresso button too often… Go round in circles with my brain in overdrive and argue with the devil about what on Earth possesses me to keep trying to be a professional athlete* when I could have a decent-paying job. Berate myself for “bumming around and being lazy on a sunny island” while others slog away behind desks and rainy window panes. (Even if I’ve just put in 17 hours’ worth of training in four days, and I’m still coming back from injury.)

*I do actually have part of the answer to “why”:
Because I love it. Because I can’t sit still for more than fifteen minutes at a time (if you’re lucky). Because I would run everywhere if society didn’t dictate that walking is generally the most appropriate means of human motion. Because there is nothing more exhilarating than racing your bike to the top of a mountain despite screaming legs and gasping breath, wobbling to a stop and dragging cold fresh air into heaving lungs, with Planet Earth stretched out below.
I’ve never done triathlon because I’m good at it. I do it because it makes me feel alive – and because it shuts the devil up most of the time.

View from the top of Wednesday’s climb

 

Right now I could and probably should go for an hour’s spin. SPIN being the operative word of course: flush out the toxins in the muscles and all that. But I’m shit at going slow. The devil always wins that one. I know full well I won’t be able to keep things under control, and the little hill out of town will quickly become an opportunity to test the legs; I’ll just go to the next roundabout, just add on another ten minutes, just push a little more to bridge up to the group ahead of me…
Yep, I’m hopeless. Hence why I am forcing myself to sit on a sofa and write a boring blog about rest days and the internal struggle I face every single time I’m subjected to one…

 

Blog writing… trying to ignore the call of the road

 

However, I still have three hours before nightfall, canine flatulence is still wafting through the air and there are no more biscuits in the kitchen. That bike ride might still happen if I can’t resist the call of the road or the twitching of my legs. Or should it be the silly devil whispering “just give in… you know you want to, you know you need to, and what harm is it going to do?

I guess there are some things I’m never going to be a pro at in this sport thing…

 

Emma
emmabilham.

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