Yesterday, while on an overnight work trip in PA, I had the rare opportunity of a (much) later start to my day and nothing on the agenda. I opted to do a few strength exercises then quickly kicked myself out of that stuffy hole of a hotel gym (it was tiny!), took my coffee and towel outside decided to SLOW DOWN, RELAX and BREATHE in the fresh air. Breathing is good you know!
It was a conscious decision to 'let go.' I turned on my yoga Pandora station and soaked in the beautiful scenery. I enjoyed a spontaneous mini personal yoga session overlooking farm fields, bare feet in the grass with a cool breeze blowing and wondered "why don't I do this more often?" Really, who wouldn't want to start their morning like that?
Those who have partaken in yoga know that the balance exercises especially require focus and a SOLID foundation on which to stand. While I am not a regular yoga attendee, I've done it enough times in the past to fully understand its many benefits. It's empowering, relaxing, often cultivates inward reflection and brings your to focus to the present moment. Yesterday, my mini session had me reflecting on the need to consciously cultivate a solid foundation upon which to build upon for the remainder of my season. We endurance athletes tend to focus on things like working hard, being dedicated to our workouts and mental toughness in enduring tough training sessions, but what about the supportive factors that allow us to be successful in the pursuit of our goals? Family and social support. Wisdom. Positivity. Mental Toughness. Patience. Flexibility. Perspective. Vision. Priorities. Faith. Did I mention the importance of REST and Nutrition? What am I missing?
Getting sick was a bit of a wake-up call for me. I had been dragging for a while beforehand and while many other factors likely contributed, I'd be blind to not acknowledge the role of stress, an impaired immune system and just generally being off-balance. Lucky for me, I had a quick turn-around, but really, let's not go there again please?
It feels wonderful to "feel wonderful" again for the first time in many weeks. My workouts have gone well over the past few days and I am my normal HAPPY self again. My load at work is leveling out and I'm feeling more supported in that arena. All good things... and I want it to last. How? I am consciously scaling back a bit in areas that I can, reminding myself to slow down at NOT constantly run at full speed and working to build upon the strong foundation I will need to rely on over the next several months. I have a long road of hard work ahead in prep for ironman. Right now? I am focusing on the here and now and enjoying each moment.
Happy Friday! Hope you enjoy a relaxing weekend!
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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