It’s been almost 6 months since I took a step back from the rigors of triathlon training to explore and engage in alternate facets of life. In that time I gained responsibility at work becoming a manager, received a window into parenting as an uncle to my newborn nephew, reestablished my love of the gym putting on nearly 15lbs, reengaged in the tumultuous world of dating, hung out with old friends and met some new ones, climbed a mountain, etc. Simultaneously I did a lot of watching from the sidelines, observing with the hopes of gaining some desired perspective as to what a single guy in his 30’s should be investing time into. The outcome, far less resolution than I would have hoped for! I’m still at a loss for discovering what direction I should be headed with an overwhelming burdening that time is limited and as such opportunities, whether it be athletic accomplishments, growing one’s career, starting a family, etc. Additionally, I’m undecided on what aspects we truly have any control over and which we are at the mercy to some greater power.
With all that said, and before I sink too far down the rabbit hole, I was moved by a quote I read recently –
“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things”
– Henry Ward Beecher
There’s comfort in believing what particular path we choose (or which is chosen for us) is less consequential than our ability to be in the moment and appreciative.
All that said I feel ready and encouraged more than ever to get back to the things that make me ‘me’, which includes competitive training with a few new caveats for 2019.
General Guidelines –
Go strong when permissible but be ok with stepping back for greater priorities
I am not very good at moderation. My version of it has been going hard in every direction at times and taking the average. In prior years I would brag about never missing a practice but understand that now, especially with growing responsibilities, it’s necessary to be able to be alright with skipping a workout for a conference call. The opportunities that I am forced to miss will only make me more appreciative for the ones I can make and should only increase my drive to go strong at every opportunity.
Better balance time, money and health wise
I was recently conflicted about whether to do Ironman CT 70.3 or stay local for the resurgence of the LA Triathlon. Driving my FOMO was the fact that the race is 30 minutes from family, that I would have a handful of close friends doing it, and it would be a good qualifier for Worlds in France. But then, reconsidering the expense (registration and travel for flying cross country and potentially around the world adding up to many thousands), impact of travel on my body realizing that I almost always under-perform at races I fly to, and remembering that doing Lake Placid was influenced by the idea of seeing friends that I never got to spend time with because we were all too focused on racing, I decided against it. I’ve got to stay beholden to where my own values lie and not be so easily influenced by flashy things, which leads me to the next aspect of 2019.
In 2019 I race for the fun of racing! The brilliance of racing is that you don’t have to travel around the world like an Olympic hopeful or spend insane amounts of money to participate. It used to be all you needed was a pair of sneakers and $20 to join in a 5k, with a t-shirt and beer included. The days of hoping in a rental car to do an Ironman 18 hours away only to get up and drive back the morning after, having barely interacted with another human, or spending all my savings on wheels or coaching are over. It was a great time in my life but no longer right for me.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend about the negative impact of Social Media on racing where we both admitted to getting our fix out of likes from pics on the podium. Not only that but so much of our value is unintentionally yet negatively influenced by what we see others doing on Instagram, etc, which is almost always an inflated sense of reality to begin with. I’m not saying I won’t post a podium pic or go on social media in 2019, but I would like to be more conscientious about what is or is not in my overall best interest with respect to sharing.
Health Specific Balance
I mentioned I took great pleasure from investing in my body at the gym and will continue to do so. I won’t trade athletic extremes with seasonal yo-yo weight gain/loss but instead plan to participate in triathlon with a slightly heavier frame without reservations about the effect on my strength to weight. This will be a hard one as a single pound can have an impact across 70 miles therefore 5-10lbs will undoubtedly do so, but it’s what I want today, trading 162.5 for 170ish without regret. I’d also like to continue enjoying yoga to keep my flexibility up (or at least not abhorrent) and aim to get in a few alternative athletic classes in the mix for fun.
Athletic Goals –
Last year I made some significant gains in Olympic power –
If I could keep on a similar trend, especially with the added strength I’ve been doing, I wonder if I could crack 300 watts. This would be a gratifying accomplishment for me considering how long it has taken to grow in the cycling discipline. I have zero Ironamns and much more Olympics on the calendar in 2019 so the feeling of 58ish minutes of pain should become more familiar with opportunities to try plentiful.
Oceanside 70.3 has always been a significant race for me. I know it gets discounted being so early in the season but I believe that is a huge competitive advantage living in SoCal. Last year wasn’t quite what I was hoping for with the year before being a strong performance despite my first 5 minute penalty.
I won’t set any specific targets or time goals here however I will be working extra diligently over the next 14 weeks to put out the greatest performance I can muster and hopefully PR the course or even the distance.
2019 Race Calendar –
Desert Triathlon – March 3
Superseal – March 17
Oceanside – April 6
Wildflower – May 4
LA Triathlon – June 2
Santa Rosa – July 27
**Option for USAT Nationals or 70.3 Worlds
Here’s to another great year chasing podiums and racing with friends!
Sounds like you’re on a good course. Enjoy your season!