I had a VERY restful holiday. I took a full ten days off from swimming, mostly for logistical reasons (I was staying about an hour away from the nearest pool over Christmas and the weather was pretty poor) but also in order to spend more time with my family. I did get a "for fun" open swim trip in with my youngest nephew Lucas. Lucas is eight and he LOVES swimming. We spent about two hours doing all sorts of goofy swim races across the width of the pool. Lucas and my sister live in China and I don't usually see them more than two times a year and apparently Lucas thought that swimming was my job. On a recent Facetime session with Lucas and his mom, Lucas declared "I like Auntie's job better because she gets to swim all the time." My sister and I had to break the news to him that swimming wasn't my job.
My holiday was spent at a vacation rental in Desert Aire (Mattawa, WA) about 40 minutes away from my parents house. It was a wonderful place to rest. The vacation house was right on the Columbia River and each morning the dogs and I went for a walk along the path by the River. By the second day, both dogs ended up in the River, despite some pretty chilly temps. They had a blast of course.
I returned to an EXTREMELY snowy Kalispell on December 26th. The snow was above the top of the dog door! That made me VERY much ready for winter to be over. I had one relatively light week of training before I began my 3-week hard training block.
I did very well with my hard training block that I just wrapped up. Thus far in 2017 with a week left in January I've swum just shy of 65 miles (which is 20 miles more than I swam in the entire month of January in 2016). I was definitely dragging by the end of last week and I was SO looking forward to this week, recovery week, where I was SURE I was going to have mountains of energy. However, sometimes recovery week just feels like crap and your body is FEELING all the work of the three weeks prior. That is precisely the boat I am in this week. I have found that it's best not to fight this and rather, just be a super couch potato and let my body rest.
Building in a recovery week periodically is absolutely necessary for a successful training plan. I used to be on a two weeks hard/one week recovery pattern, but this year, with the inclusion of my yoga program I have successfully transitioned to a three weeks hard/on week recovery pattern.
The last three days I have had what I can best describe as annoying lower back pain which I believe is the result of over tight hamstrings tugging on my lower back muscles. Thankfully, I had nothing on my work schedule yesterday or today and I was able to take a few sick days to rest. I've spent the past two days day alternating the ice pack and the heating pad and some mild stretching/restorative yoga and massive cuddles with the dogs.
Of course, while my body is resting, I have been writing workouts for the next 4 week block of my training. February is going to be a pretty heavy training month for me. Next week is my birthday week (the big 34) which will spring me into my next three weeks of hard training. My annual birthday swim tradition of 100s butterfly is a bit of fun/pain that I look forward to each year. Aside from that I don't have any big birthday plans, just thankful to be here another year.
We are just about six months out from my 2017 BIG SWIM...details of which I will be posting VERY soon!
Until then.....Happy swimming!