Facing Life After the “A” Race

By: Paul Terranova 

So, the big day has come and gone. All the weeks of training, sacrifices, early mornings, packing and unpacking, planning, thinking, envisioning, visualizing, DREAMING – are now but a floating memory, disappearing into the distance like a ship’s wake over the horizon. Regardless of the outcome, good or bad, PR or no PR, it’s there, yeah, you know it, that hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach. It is a feeling of aimless wandering, a life unfocused, doubting – will I ever get back to where I just was? Do I have what it takes to go through ALL of THAT, again? Alarm goes off…snooze bar…alarm goes off…snooze bar, let me play the finish over in my head one more time…alarm…just one more snooze, just one more dream…alarm… dammit now I’m late and I’m gonna’ be fighting traffic all the way there.

Aghhhhh…

Sound familiar? I’m no scientist nor medical doctor (I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night!), but the Google doctor in me has this pegged as a variety of “PTSD”, not the true kind of PTSD suffered by servicemen and women volunteering to serve overseas in combat, but a distant cousin I refer to as post-trail run/triathlon stress disorder. That natural ebb of emotions after the “A” race, like an inlet draining from high tide to low tide. It’s not part of any structured training program, most of those end at “week 0”, there’s no “week -1”!  Maybe it should be like a pyramid: train, taper, RACE, taper, train?

Here’s some helpful tips that I find help me navigate through this peaty bog of emotions following the big day:

1) Have another “A” race picked out (and signed up for) 3 to 6 or even 12 months down the road.  Write the check, send the money, commit.  This will naturally give you something to look forward to, and at least steer yourself in the right direction.

2) Embrace the valley.  Take time on the roller-coaster ride after the clickety-clack, clickety-clack has brought you to the top, now it’s time to let gravity do its thing and pull you quickly to the bottom only to surge out of it just as soon as you get there.

3) Enjoy your fitness.  Yeah, you’ve worked DAMN hard for it, celebrate the God-given talents and capabilities you’ve been blessed with, in whatever way suits your fancy.  Spin class, sure.  Evening yoga, why not.  Noon-time dynamic strength class, absolutely.  Do something that you’ve never tried before, who knows, you just might find your next “A” race!

I am currently facing life after completing an “A” race this summer, the first ever Grand Kona Slam: 5 races, 16 weeks, 540.8 miles, 91:18:37. Besides catching up on a variety of home and vehicle maintenance projects I’ve neglected this summer,  I’ve followed these three tips above to a tee:  I’ve signed up for both El Sendero 60K on December 1 – my birthday – and the Rogue Cedar Park 30k on January 27, 2013. I enjoyed the heck out of Halloween, and am trying to incorporate as many lunchtime class-based workouts at Pure Austin as possible into my off-season.

Follow my Paul’s journey here: http://grandkonaslam2012.wordpress.com/

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