Whether a blessing or a curse, I’ve always been a fighter. Always on my own terms and usually taking the most difficult route possible to get to the finish line. But as kid, I was never someone who pushed their limits athletically. Sure I had natural talent for some things and the events I enjoyed I would participate in but never drove myself to practice/train/improve. It was either fun or I wasn’t doing it.
I’ve noticed recently that all that has changed. Maybe it was being sidelined with an injury. Maybe it was being passed on the race course. Maybe it was finally realizing I was made for more. Or more likely making the conscious decision to have professional goals AND personal goals. This year’s training round has been a fight the whole way through. A fight for a balanced life, a faster ride, a painless run, a healthy leg, and more gills. I am loving it every minute of it. Admittedly not all of my workouts are fun, sometimes they are down right disappointing (long run time, I’m looking at you!) but I haven’t thrown in the towel. In year’s past I would adjust my goals and move on. Not this time. Not this year.
As a floated in the pool one night after training watching the sky turn from Orange to Black I realized what it all came down to.
I am finally healthy! I have been working on the weaknesses in my left leg and while I’m not at the end goal I set for myself I am well beyond where I was and getting better every week.
I sorted out a schedule. This year I became a partner in my firm and thankfully the economy is turning around so that means more clients, more development, and more demands for my brain power. In year’s past I would have placed work first. After a long chat with my mentor – the company’s President, and reading The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castenada I realized that without me “the person” there is no me “the professional.” So, I still put work first – company partners do that by default. But I am also fighting to find a better balance. That includes varying start time hours, leaving by 5:30 two nights a week, and Sundays without powering up the work laptop. There is an exception for hearings but they happen with plenty of notice to make adjustments to the schedule and keep the balance.
I found a training plan that works. For me anyway. While I am using a standard published plan and no coach this time around. I’ve been checking in with my body more frequently and making adjustments where I need it. It’s not perfect but my swim times are getting better and my average speed on the bike is creeping upward. While I’m not running the minutes per mile I thought I would be I am pain-free and that was the goal when I started the new year. Maybe I won’t average 10 minutes per mile on race day but I will finish without tears, pain, and disappointment. At this point, if I can improve the swim and bike and make it through the run I’ll have met my goals.
I set goals beyond triathlon. Staring down the inability to run more than 20 minutes last winter was awful. I felt like I was right back where I started the winter before. But I worked at it little by little, stuck with a plan that worked for me, and focused on sticking with strength training. Somewhere along the way, I realized triathlon wasn’t the only type of racing I enjoyed nor the only sport I enjoyed. So, I geared up with my best friend (even though she lives 9 hours away) and signed up for a half marathon. It has kept me focused on improving my running but also from getting bored training. I also started planning the family ski trip to Park City. This year we will be joining my family’s annual vacation with a visit to my husband’s family. Oh, and of course we’ll all be tearing up the slopes!
I have an insanely supportive husband/Sherpa. As training has increased over the past few weeks the refrigerator has been emptier, the laundry doesn’t get done as quickly, and I’m asleep on the couch by 10pm constantly. Yet the love of my life hasn’t uttered a single compliant. Instead, he always asks me how my most recent training session went, floats with me in the pool, finds a laundry basket to catch the extra clothes (he’s been forbidden from doing my laundry), and brings home Mexican food and beer just when I’m craving it.