Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Looking Forward to Looking Back

The past few months have been challenging. In looking through the blog, I can tell that my frustration and  negativity has spilled out from my every day life and onto the interweb. For that, dear reader, I am very sorry. The truth is that this blog is designed to let me talk openly about this crazy athletic journey I'm on and the truth isn't always sunshine and unicorns.

As I've begun thinking about the year ahead I've found myself thinking more and more about the year behind. In the weight of all of the negative energy plaguing my life this fall I haven't taken time to really look back and appreciate what 2015 brought me. After all, the only way to figure out where I'm going is to really appreciate where I've been.

So lets see...What happened in 2015? 

I Became a Triathlete

As an adult I don't think there's anything harder than trying something new. With all of the struggles that "adulting" brings it can be hard just to do the things we do ordinarily, let alone add in something different. I learned this year that 'new' can be good. New can be fun and exciting and scary and challenging in a truly amazing way. That's what triathlon has meant for me. I wrote in October of 2014 about feeling underwhelmed with myself. The sweet sweet highs you get after finishing your first 'X' just don't seem to come after your 8th. Triathlon brought that back for me. Each new race, new distance, new experience made me feel excited about my own possibilities. That, friends, is a great feeling. 

I Raced - A Lot!
I didn't set out to race a lot in 2015, but I set out to race Muncie. Part of that meant building up the triathlon ladder. I did that by racing and it was awesome.

Rhoades 10K
Papa John's 10 Miler
Shelbyville Sprint Tri
KDF Mini Marathon
TriFest Olympic
Race the Bridge Olympic
Muncie 70.3 

I was a first timer for four of those races. Each one brought it's own challenges: from the rain at the KDF 13.1 to the heat at Tri Fest or the congestion at Race the Bridge, but each was a great experience. Because of my training and planning - and mental approach - I didn't have a single negative experience at a race this year.

I Stuck to my training plan
When I decided to do Muncie I started reading everything I could get my hands on. The first Tri book I read was Don Fink's, "Be Iron Fit 70.3". I credit my success to this book and the "Just Finish" training plan I got from it. The plan was 16 weeks - longer than most plans I'd attempted before. It included workouts 5 days a week with two-a-days on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. It was challenging, of course, but it never really felt impossible. I missed some swims, of course, but I think at the end of it I'd only missed one or two long workouts. I consider that a huge win. I remember putting the plan up on the fridge and thinking, "Oh God. Can I really do this?" It was intimidating!! 8 hours of training a week while working 50ish? I stuck to my guns and embraced the 'hard' and got it done. This mindset and planning really helped me tackle other challenges in my life. The mental fortitude you get from making a plan and executing it is really something. I'm proud of myself for putting in the work to accomplish my goals

I Learned to Bike
Anyone who followed the blog in 2015 knows what an odyssey this was. I hadn't ridden a bike since I was 12. At least. Learning as an adult has a brand new sense of "ugh" because....well, it just does! Your sense of fear is heightened, I think. There are real consequences to breaking your arm/leg/collarbone in the adult world. And also, it hurts.When I toed the line at Muncie I'd had my bike less than a year. I spent the winter getting comfortable peddling the damn thing, but then in the spring I jut rode. I rode a lot. I got comfortable riding in groups, going out with the Louisville Bicycle Club on Saturday mornings. I completed 3 50+ mile rides at the end of 2015. I didn't have any serious crashes. 

I logged a lot of miles
I often find myself comparing my athleticism or my fitness to prior years. Back in 2009 when I did the Flying Pig I ran long and fast often. I've never been able to get that fast again. In 2012 I logged a ton of miles and dropped some serious weight in anticipation of a marathon and a wedding. Looking back at 2013 and 2014 it's no wonder the weight came back on - I wasn't committing to anything! Just comparing 2014 to 2015 I seriously upped my game.
I increased my swim and bike miles 10 fold while still logging more running. Obviously that's a natural consequence of training for a 70.3. Still, looking at the raw data and seeing in black and white my improvement is pretty spectacular.

I had a lot of fun
I did. I really did. It was hard, and there were tough times where I thought, "Fuck it". But I really had fun. I met a lot of really neat, nice people. So many folks in the Tri Club were so good to me and I look forward to repaying that this year. Most of all, I think I got reacquainted with me. I don't think I realized how bogged down and stressed I was. I don't think I realized how miserable I was. My day to day work is filled with so much negative. So much "No". So many limits to what I can do. To be able to leave here every day and push past my limits was a god send. 2015 put me to the test and what I found that underneath I'm not the lazy slob I thought I was.
I am confident, I am capable, and I am a rockstar.

Thank you, 2015. You were a lot of fun. Now lets see what 2016 had for me.

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