Don’t Under Rate Rest

Rest may be under rated, but not by me. I do a lot of exercise. I always have enjoyed sports and typically found ways to compete and train throughout my “working” days. Now that I have retired from my medical career most of my attention stays on sports. Another way of look at it, most of my attention stays on playing outside.

Living where I do getting to a triathlon or run isn’t as easy as getting to an archery tournament. Whenever I can find a race, typically a run, that doesn’t include an overnight trip I sign up. Most of the events I did in the past were expensive. They included costly entry fees, travel, hotel, and food on the road. For the moment, I try to keep competitive events to day trips.

Runs are cheap and easy when I can find them. Short fast ones are my preference, like a 5K or a 10K. Marathons and ½ marathons are so crowded that they feel more like running in a herd. I’ve considered entering a 50-miler or a 100-miler but think I’d just get too bored.

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Still, I run and bike a lot. Swimming is on the decline until the weather warms up. Living here in the sticks, there’s not a pool anywhere close by. The running, riding, and shooting takes up 6 – 8 hours of my time 4 – 6 days a week. Fitting in driving time to get to a pool 30 miles away isn’t a priority at the moment.

My typical day starts with a run. River, my dog, is my running partner. We’re frequently joined by a posse of dogs collected along the way. These runs vary in distance and speed.

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Once home I shoot. I’ll practice for an hour or two before heading in to take a break and eat. Not eat breakfast, I had that by 0630. I’ll eat a light mid-morning snack. That often includes nuts or pretzels (salty stuff) and is washed down with a “Red Bull”. I’ve got great a sports drink, TriFuel, but I treat that like liquid gold and use it for serious training. The Red Bull gets me mentally alert so I can write.

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When I’ve typed a bit it is time for lunch. Following lunch I always take a short nap. A short nap is 15 – 30 minutes where I doubt I go beyond Stage 1 sleep. (The lightest phase of sleep where one is easily aroused) Then, I regroup for the afternoon workouts.

In the afternoon I’ll ride, up to 50 miles now that the days are longer and warmer. I’ll also shoot again for for up to 3 hours (typically less). That means a lot of walking.

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When I say a lot of walking, I am not kidding. My targets reach 60 yards and I’ll shoot 18 arrows into them at that distance (3 ends of 6). I’ll also shoot the same count of arrows per target from 20 to 60 yards at 5-yard increments. That amounts to a lot of walking. Which isn’t bad, except I’ve run and ridden, so my the time the sun has set I’ve got a lot of miles in my legs.

What I know is that my recovery isn’t the same as when I was 25. Then, I’d ride 60 miles in the morning and 80 in the afternoon. Some days we’d do 200 miles. In one ultra-distance race I rode 406 miles in a day. After that race, I drove home from Davenport, Iowa to Kennesaw, GA – non-stop. Those days are behind me.

Today, I appreciate rest. I’ll take one day and do very little physical activity. Honestly, it is mentally hard to take a break, but I listen to my body. Thursday was that day.

When my body says, “stop” I pay attention. My former cycling coach, a Belgian, Nestor Gernay, used to say, “Don’t stand when you can sit, don’t sit when you can lay down.” Believe me I listened and haven’t forgotten.

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Since Sunday (Thursday when I wrote this), I’ve run 4 days, biked 4 days and shot twice per day. It breaks down like this: 4 hours running, 12 hours riding, and 20 hours shooting.   I have a race on Saturday and a tournament on Sunday. Thursday was a rest day I needed – even if I felt a little guilty.

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