Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What Next?

Oh this is indeed a question that keeps me up at night.  There are many iterations of this question for me, but presently I'm contemplating what to physically do with my body now that my goal race has come and gone.  Even though I didn't train extensively, it was still the focal point of the past couple months of my life and gave me something to look forward to.  After every big race is over, I usually cycle through a series of the same thoughts and feelings.  First, Yippee I did it!  Secondly, ugh, I could have done better.  (Is this healthy? Prob not, and a subject for another post.)  Third, ok time to relax.  Fourth, I'm bored.  Now what?!  I am already at Stage Four and in fact, landed there about last Wednesday, but I still took a few more days off (no running).  By this weekend I was feeling aimless and like I was resting on my laurels.  Coincidentally, this is a feeling that has been slowly seeping into my general life thoughts lately too.  But let's deal with one at a time here.
Physically, I was contemplating throwing another half into the mix later this Fall but now I'm not sure I want to remain in 'training' mode for the next couple months.  I kind of just want to run, simply for the enjoyment.  However, I do love racing because it gives me something to look forward to, and it's fun.  So I'm considering doing a few shorter distance races for the rest of the year (5K's or 10K's) since they require no training.  Well, truthfully I should have done some speed work this year, as opposed to the ZERO I've done at all, if I want to get faster, but there's also no harm in just running some turkey trots for fun! 
In addition, I'm looking to get stronger.  I haven't done much strength work lately.  When I was training for my race, my weekly workouts looked like this:
Running - 3x week
Weight lifting - 1x week
Cross training (biking, rowing, swimming, hiking, walking) - 2x week
Rest - 1x week
Only 1 day of strength/weight training a week is not going to make anyone stronger/faster.  I'm longing for that all over body soreness, can't-walk-the-next day feeling that I can only get from HIIT or boot camp type workouts.  I can't get that feeling from running or from regular workouts in the gym.  I want to challenge my body again in new ways so that I can build more strength and speed.  I really really liked the boot camp I did last winter at EA All Day Fitness.  Those were truly some of the most intense, hardest workouts I've ever had, and I really liked the instructor.  So, I'm thinking of contacting him to see if he has any deals going on right now and maybe I can get a month or two of training in with him.  If not, then I'll scour Groupon and see if I can find myself another boot camp  deal.  I usually seem to luck out on there!
Now for life plans.  Oh life, you are a wild and twisting path aren't you?  I recently read this post at Lifting Revolution, titled 'Would Your 20 Year Old Self Approve of You?' and it got me thinking, even further back than my 20 year old self, to what my hopes and dreams were as a younger child.  I am a Pisces after all (classic dreamer) and considering my current profession, believe there is value in honoring the dreams of children.  I don't think I ever had a clear path or 'aha' moment in knowing what I wanted to do with my life.  You know, how some people just seem to be struck with the concrete notion that they will become a doctor, or teacher, or circus professional, at a very young age, but I think I always had an idea about the kind of person I wanted to be, if that makes sense. 
The earliest memory I have of wanting be 'something' was in First Grade and I ardently wanted to be a nun!  Had to be the Catholic school upbringing, but I got a huge thrill wearing the homemade nun costume for Halloween her aunt made her that year.  And the next.  And possibly even a third year in a row?! I dk, I can't remember.  I can't really pinpoint when that dream ended but there are a few other things that I think are important about my early development that somehow got pushed aside in later years.  I was an early and avid reader as a young'un.  I devoured books of all kinds (Babysitters Club anyone?!) because once I learned to read, I found such enjoyment in it.  I also took a real interest in art by middle school and even took some lessons.  By high school, internal and external pressures pushed me to more academic pursuits and I became super studious.  I was a high achiever and honors student (despite my lowest grades always being in math, the bane of my existence!), but what strikes me about those years is I feel like I never had an end goal in sight other than to get good grades.  I couldn't see ahead as to what I was doing all of that work for.  Same thing in college.  I went back and forth on my major a few times.  First, thinking pre-med.  Then thinking teaching because I loved kids (I had been babysitting for a few years by then).  I ended up with a dual major in General Science and Elementary Ed.  Weird combo. 
Fast forward and somehow I ended up with a career in Finance.  WTH?!  I was never good at math, ever.  It was a constant struggle for me.  First warning sign right there that perhaps this career was not the best choice.  But, a stable career in a corporate environment is just what one does after college, right?!  Isn't that the formula for success.  Nada my friends.  Not at all.  So, that brings us to present day and I think the point I'm trying to make is that I need to go back to my roots.  To where my strengths and interests emerged from a very young age.  If I do that, I see that I long to be doing humanitarian work of some kind.  Nannying, check.  I also need a creative outlet.  Blogging check.  Now, it remains to be seen if either of these pursuits will sustain or satisfy me in the long term, however at least I know I'm on the right track (much more than the last 10 years of my life).  However, I still feel like there are several pieces missing and that is what I'm longing to put together. 
With the new season almost upon us, I feel like change is in the air and I have a feeling there is going to be movement on my part.  I am not a huge fan of Fall, because I know it leads to the worst season ever (you may call it Winter), but I do feel like it ushers in change.  I know if I really listen to my heart, it will point me in the right direction.  As long as I feel like I making a difference and an impact in the world, however small, whether that be caring for a child, helping people live healthier lives, or something entirely different (vegan bakery anyone?!) then I am living at least part of my purpose.  Where the future leads, I am still unsure, but the times they are a changin'.
Last Fall, in Baltimore
What do you do after you complete a big goal race? 
Are you living out the life your younger self thought you would?



  1. I think "What Next" is one of the beautiful and frustrating quandaries of life. I love it because it means that you are always searching, always striving to live, rather than just resting and letting life pass you by. But it is also frustrating because of the unknowns and the fact that it can lead to you losing sight of the beauty of what you just accomplished. Particularly after a big race, I like to work on strength for a bit while letting my running muscles rest. But I also like to re-establish a "normal" running routine so that I don't have to give up what I just worked so hard for, rather just dial it back a little.

    1. You are a wise one Susie. I feel like I always need to be in pursuit of something, otherwise my life feels aimless. I think this is both a blessing and a curse.

  2. Great post! I give you lots of credit for running!

  3. Good luck in the path you choose next! I'm usually training for another race after a big race. I love to race lol!

    1. That's awesome! I definitely need some downtime between them. You are an inspiration :)

  4. One day of rest sounds brutal! I typically do two. You are such a beast.

    <3 Jamaica

    1. Hahaha, no beast here I assure you. I just can't sit still! Sometimes my workouts are simply a walk so I'm not going high intensity 6 days a week :)