And… the end of the triathlon season.

Now what?

Free time.

Hmmmm.  Such a strange concept.  What – you mean I don’t have to fit in 8-12 hours of training this week?  I don’t have to plan my weekend around what bike course I’ll spend my Saturday or Sunday on?  That perhaps I’ll just take ONE shower a day (instead of my usual 2-3)?  Again — HMMMM.

To be frank, I’m not exactly sure what to do with such a luxury.  For those that know me, abundent down time from training has always come at a price:  for the past three years, I’ve had forced downtime each fall with three surgeries on my left forearm to correct/fix/make better something or other with it.  And – to me – that “free time” was more a prison sentence because of the doctor’s orders to not do anything stupid (difficult for me!… do you know how many fun things fall into the “anything stupid” category??).

So, my off-season begins, having started about 10 hours ago with me running across the finish line of the Pleasant Prairie International Distance triathlon.  And I believe that I’ve commenced it the way all off-seasons should start:  with good friends, outrageously sinful ice cream and topping it off with a chilled adult beverage and pizza.

But again …. now what?

First up, I’ve got about a month and a half of coach-mandated “fun” time.  Fun?  I’m not even sure what it is that I do for “fun” anymore, if it doesn’t involve a wetsuit, a bike or a pair of running shoes.  I need a triathlon-free zone for awhile to sample life in the outside world.  And I think I have friends out there who don’t care one whit about bike paces or running splits … of course, whether they remember me or not is another story.

This 45 day period may prove to be difficult — it’s hard for me to be a little goal-less, to not have a race out there that I’m actively working towards.  See, I’m a couch slug by nature and I’ve got me some mad skillz in that arena.  So, in order to fight my lazy nature, I’ve got a list of things to accomplish during My Fun Month (and a Half):

  • Stay up past 10pm.  And NOT because I’m working.  Has to involve alcohol of some sort.
  • Read a book.  Cannot contain the words “swim”, “bike” or “run”.
  • Rediscover one of those sports that I used to have time for, like racquetball or roller-blading.  Or something to really get a cardio workout in — Trash Talk Darts.
  • Watch everything I’ve DVR’d over the past year.  Anyone up for 61 gazillion episodes of What Not To Wear?
  • Win the lottery.
  • Clean out all the empty plastic water bottles from my truck.  And then build myself a plastic fort out of them.
  • Cheer on the White Sox to a World Series victory!  Go Sox!!
  • Get lost hiking at Starved Rock.  You don’t think that’s possible?  It SO is.  Trust me.
  • Eat Clean out the Travelin’ Triathlon candy bag (it IS the off-season… no need for that to hang around)
  • Get the oil changed in my car (what – does everything have to be funny??)
  • Sign up for IMWI.  (Heh.  Just kidding!)

Looks like I might have enough to keep me busy now…  ya think?!

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. 55 degree water isn’t as cold as you might think it is. And, conversely, it’s EVERY BIT as cold as you think it is. Thank god for neoprene!
  2. It’s always windy in Plainfield. Even if every online weather source says it’s not, it’s windy. Trust me.
  3. Swimming’s not so bad. I think I’d even go so far as to say that I might be disappointed if a race I were doing had the swim canceled. And coming from me, that’s a compliment of the highest nature for the watery part of triathlon.
  4. Training makes me hungry. (Of course, NOT training makes me hungry, too. Hmmm…)
  5. A great training session has a way of rewriting history, making it all seem not quite as bad as I once thought it might have been. Without actually knowing, I think it must be like childbirth — the pain makes you vow you’ll never do it again, but the good times afterward makes the pain seem worthwhile.
  6. For any tri-related trip, I average AT LEAST two bags per day away from home. I’m the queen of You Never Know What You Might Need, so just give me my tiara and stop bitching about it. Thankyouverymuch.
  7. My non-tri friends and my family are quite possibly the most patient people on the face of this planet. They endure a summer of me not having a free weekend or being able to stay out past 7:30pm because of training and races. And when the off-season does arrive, they don’t even make me feel guilty about ignoring them for 4 months.
  8. I’m a bike grease magnet. If I get within a 5 foot radius of any bike, I will inevitably end up with bike grease somewhere on my body. The corollary to this is that I will also miss one of those spots on myself when I take my next shower and find myself clean but for a smear of grease somewhere, usually on the back, hidden part of my leg.
  9. This summer I have a traveling candy bag, which seems to be a hit with all my friends. I’ve found, though, that it would be best if I could somehow make it travel outside my house during the week since it apparently has magical charms that make me unable to resist it.
  10. Good friends trump good race times, every time. After a frustrating season culminated in a really bad race, I was overwhelmed with all the friends that were immediately by my side bearing kind words, sympathy, advice and a good dose of humor. It was a good reminder of the main reason why I continue to do this stuff. The training, the racing … yea, sometimes not so fun. The friends and good times, though? Wouldn’t trade them for the world.