Ten days. Ten whole days of rest. That was my coaches’ prescription after concluding the first phase of my season at Challenge St. Andrews on July 6th. I tried to bargain them down to a few days, or wheedle a couple extra workouts, but they would hear nothing of it.
I have big plans for the fall, so resting up and getting 100% healthy now is a smart move. Even so, for an ex-compulsive exerciser who averaged a few off days per year for the better part of a decade, 10 days of downtime sounded like a life sentence.
As a concession to my sanity, I was permitted to do a token amount of light exercise every other day. The lifeguards at my pool were bemused by my sudden switch to 15 minute swims. Otherwise, I made it my mission to unplug from triathlon, physically and mentally. Here’s how I made out:
Mid-season break day #2: Feeling restless. Going high speed grocery shopping to get a “workout” #getouttheway
— Cody Beals (@CFBeals) July 8, 2014
Mid-season break day 5: Bitterly disappointed someone mowed the lawn. That was going to be today’s “workout”…
— Cody Beals (@CFBeals) July 11, 2014
That last one was a tad melodramatic… In fact, other than some pangs of misdirected guilt, I settled right into the sedentary lifestyle.
I could tell that my body was recovering deeply. Despite being less active than Ironman live coverage, I sank into decadent, devastating naps every afternoon; the kind that take hours to regain your footing in reality.
When I wasn’t sleeping, loitering around the fridge or staring blankly into space, I found time to catch up on work, research and write a few blog posts, and mangle some piano pieces. I even stayed up past 10 pm a couple times… wild!
Ten days breezed by and suddenly my training schedule was filled with workouts. And oh, how sweet it was to sweat again. I wasted no time getting back at it and decided to hit the MultiSport Canada Belwood Triathlon as a rust-buster.
MultiSport Canada Belwood Triathlon (750m/30km/7.5km)
The Belwood Triathlon holds special significance for a few reasons. It’s my hometown race, just minutes from my house. Belwood was also the site of my first triathlon, a “Try-a-Tri” in 2006 at the age of 16.
It was also meaningful to race with my mom who, along with my dad, have fostered my interest in endurance sports every step of the way (as well as being the de facto editors of my blog). I was inspired by her hard work and enthusiasm after her decade-long hiatus from triathlon.
Eight years and umpteen thousand hours of training after that first triathlon, I came full circle to win and set a course record at Belwood (results), swimming, cycling and running 30%, 40% and 10% faster over nearly three times the distance.
Fresh off my 10 day stint as a couch potato, I knew that I would have lost a little fitness and a lot of feel for the three sports. I was tempted to delve into the science of detraining for this post, but lately, I’ve viewed enough abstracts to fill a modern art gallery. Here’s what I noticed:
- Bike: Did I even take time off?
- Run: Oh yes, I took time off.
- Swim: 10 days? More like 10 months.
My feel for the water was still chilling on the couch back home, but I muscled my way through a passable swim. My swim coach warned me that it’ll take a couple weeks back at the grind to feel good again.
Conditions on the bike course were fast. Despite the rolling course, some wind and unremarkable power, I averaged 43.7 km/h for 30 km (according to my GPS/Strava) to open up a good lead over runner-up Mikael Staer Nathan and 3rd place Keith Marchant.
I ran alone on the familiar rail-trail, feeling much like one of the countless workouts I’ve done here.
I did post-race interviews with triathlon media maestro Roger Hospedales (below) and with Rob Massey of the Guelph Mercury (video, Cody Beals victorious in return to site of his first triathlon).
Thank you to the MultiSport Canada Triathlon Series for another excellent event. I’m also grateful to my sponsors Keystone Communications, Magnolia Masters, Nineteen, Vorgee, CompuTrainer, and Altra, to my coaches David and Tim, and for the chance to meet many online friends in person.
July and August will be focused on training with a stop at the Olympic Distance Provincial Championships, August 10th.