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Addicted to the Hard Sh*t

Today I wanted to quit. In fact, this week, I have struggled to get workouts started, to find my motivation, and to finish. I know, this is the season for taking it easy, and that’s really part of the problem. I suck at taking it easy.

This post is a real talk post from an athlete. Who happens to be a coach. Maybe even YOUR coach. But I’m a real person and an athlete too.

When I finally finished my season in mid December, which is late to start an off season, I was physically still charged up, but mentally and emotionally beat. My body got up daily and said “LET’S GO!!!!” because this is what we do, me and my body. But my mind and heart said “Dude, we are sooo tired.” I needed a break. And this is why a coach needs a coach. Because I can tell athletes this all day long, but when I look at myself, at my workouts, at my data, and at my goals, I am really not objective.

I KNOW I need a bit of a break. A day or two to sleep in and not rush to a workout. A day to walk the dog a little extra, to enjoy time with my spouse who frankly seems more preoccupied with a studio project than taking advantage of my down time, a time to drink holiday beverages (oat peppermint mochas here), a time for fun runs and unstructured movement. So, when my coach says “do what you want,” I listen. But I struggle. Because, what I really want is to go out and crush myself, daily.

swimmers lap swimming in the pool
Not every workout will be epic

I’ve been down the last week. Like, I love holidays and a little down time, but this feels so foreign and alien. I feel bloated, a bit slug like, and like I am not achieving anything. Which is baloney. I am way caught up on work and planning, and writing, and website updating and 2023 planning, and bill paying and scheduling and all sorts of stuff that gets done when I can during peak training. I

may be sitting on my @$$, but I am not doing nothing. But even when I have a sense of “ yes! Got that done!” I feel a little sad and empty.

I have not wanted to quit or skip workouts this much in a long time. I mean, almost every workout has a moment of “you know, we could just blow this part off,” but it’s usually just for a second or a few seconds. And that moment is often what gets me to sort my shit out, buckle down, and crush it. That fear before the hard stuff that makes me remember how much I love the hard stuff, and it makes me stronger. The moment I remember getting through things I never thought I could, and pushing it further.

But right now, it’s not the hard stuff I want to skip. It’s the damn easy stuff. Now, during a big block of training, there’s nothing I like more than a chill run, or an easy ride with friends. It seems like such a TREAT and I savor it. But right now, workouts all are that treat, mostly easy, this isn’t remotely going to kill me, except maybe of boredom. Too many treats make you lose the taste for them, and feel bloated and yuck. And that’s how I feel about easy stuff right now.

I spend a lot of time reminding people to take the easy stuff easy, that often this is where the magic happens. So today, when I was mentally done about 600 yards into my swim, I went through the motions. I tried to think about what I could do to keep going, whether that was ensuring I flip turned better, streamlined more efficiently, breathed equally to both sides, extended more, finished my stroke, felt the dorsiflexion in my feet while kicking. I wanted to make it hard, but instead, I focused on doing the easy to the best of my ability, investing in the easy.

I have big goals in 2023. Big scary ones. While 2022 was a year of chipping away and breakthroughs, I want more. And I know the easy stuff sets me up to be able to do the hard stuff. Am I trying to quit before I have even started? Maybe. Like a college student happy to be home, but also missing their new life, I am restless. I’m embracing that restlessness, or trying to do so! Because soon enough, I’ll be back to smashing it, working hard and pushing my boundaries. I talk a lot about the importance of the off season to rest, recover, work on limiters, and set goals. But when your biggest limiter is your patience, this is when some of the biggest growth work can be done.

Only time will tell if this patience will pay off! Stay tuned.

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