heart and stomach

What surprises me even more than how much not-training I’m doing is how much I’m enjoying it. I thought that two weeks of recovery and indulgence would be enough and come week three, I’d be hungry to jump back in.

Yeah, um, not so much. Turns out all I’m hungry for is cheese.

Idyllwild calif

Fireside cheese plate dinner.

Idyllwild calif

Our little spot in the sun.

The substitutes for those 20-plus hours of training, however, are turning out to be just as rewarding. Work, for one, has swept me up on the manic rodeo that is the Ironman race circuit. (This weekend, Ironman 70.3 St. George kick started six months of regular work travel.) Throw in perfectionism and an energy boost from all that not-training, and the mayhem becomes newly enjoyable.

Last week, the in-laws arrived for a visit and we spent back-to-back nights wining and dining them—or rather, they, us. We tried The Red Door (recommended!) and re-visited one of my triathlon team’s sponsors, Toast. Over the weekend we stole away to a creaky cabin in Idyllwild, a quaint mountain escape less not far from San Diego. Aside from the unusually high winds, it was a quiet getaway—a welcome change of scenery to get some work done, chat by the fire, read, and watch movies. Just the calm before the storm I needed before a busy month.

Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail

The Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail just up the hill from our place. I love running trails.

Idyllwild calif

With the folks.

El Jefe mexican palm springs

Esquite (a delicious corn and queso dip), and Taco Tuesday (mushroom and carnitas) at El Jefe.

We drank more wine (they’ve gotten me back on the vino train), I ran some trails (at 10-minute miles with altitude burning in my lungs), and we took a side trip to Palm Springs (for a dose of summer heat and tacos at El Jefe). We dined at Cafe Aroma (and lucked out on half-priced wine night), I took a bath in a claw-foot bathtub (which I haven’t done in years), and I got to sink my teeth into one of the best cinnamon buns I’ve tasted this side of my Grandma King’s kitchen (at Honey Buns and Joe).

Honey Bunns and Joe Bakery Idyllwild

Home of one of the best cinnamon buns I’ve ever had.

Idyllwild calif.

In my element.

On our last night together, Mark made his unbelievable corned beef and chuck burgers, which I displayed on Insta for all to admire.

corned beef and chuck burgers

Corned beef burgers out on the patio.

Life’s been zipping along, and I’ve been content. I’m reading Dan Harris’ 10% Happier, and the reminder of how to practice mindfulness is never wasted on me. This past month, it was as if I put the hard-ass dedication on the shelf, and dusted off the trinkets I forgot gave me so much pleasure.

Idyllwild, Calif.

Sticky buns and tea on the deck.

Sure, I’ve felt the fading fitness and the heavy legs. I’ve failed at going gluten-free (or something) on May 1 to try to troubleshoot my issues in running. May 1 has come and gone, and I’m still giving in to In N’ Out and seconds of everything (while my training partners dive headfirst into busy race seasons). But I’m at peace with this past month—the off-season I didn’t take this winter. As a friend reassured me last Saturday on a ride, that hard-ass dedication leading up to South Africa will always be with me, sitting dormant for a while while I flex other, important muscles.

Right now, I’m going with the heart and the stomach. And who, really, can distinguish?

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