Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rest Week Anxiety in Triathletes


I need it.

In fact, I don't want to move. My body and brain are toast from 3 consecutive weeks of going longer, faster, harder. I've even skipped 2 rest-week scheduled workouts.

So why, oh why, do I spend my days anxious about not moving?

In the beginning, I looked forward to rest weeks. I'd have more time to devote to things that get pushed to the side, like dishes, and Sir Gallahad. But with my first superultracycling event on the horizon, not moving makes me anxious, even if all of my being truly wants to sleep and read all day. So anxious, in fact, that I can feel my heart beat irregularly.

It's a tougher brain battle than riding solo back to back hundos. Or getting myself to swim in the South Bay's preferred hook-up area: the 24 Hour Fitness pool.

Perhaps at the root of this anxiety is an identity crisis. Who am I when I'm not biking, swimming, running? Having devoted so much time to fitness, I'm unsure of who I am when I'm not carrying out the physical acts associated with being a triathlete / aspiring ultracyclist.

When I signed up for my first tri, a sprint in Tucson in 2005, I couldn't wait for it to be over. I wanted to be a triathlete. I was excited to affect my new identity. I could be on the couch, watching crap-o reality TV. I was happy; I was a triathlete.

Slowly, however, proclaiming my chosen identity to the world became unnecessary. I didn't want to be labeled. As anything. I am unlabelable. I have never filled out my Facebook "About Me" section, other than to say that I am a "writer/triathlete". Now it just says "writer". I figured that's un-boxed-in enough.

So maybe all of this anxiety comes from separating myself from a previously chosen identity that I secretly still latch onto, despite the desire to be undefined--always searching, always learning about myself, never settling.

Aspiring to a kind of fluid identity is anxiety-producing in itself.

Or maybe, I'm just anxious because my chocolate cake cravings are always the fiercest when I'm not doing enough to justify the indulgence. :)

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