Friday, December 30, 2016

A year of endurance, in sport and in life

If there has been a theme for my year it's surely been endurance: "the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity." By activity I would It's been a year chock-full of personal challenges that have rolled in one after the other, rather tsunami-like. I've left a lot of it off the blog, because frankly it's all the white noise of life. It IS life. While my particulars differ from yours, none of us are immune from the "stuff" of life that we are dealt.

I'm using this post to reflect on my year and to look ahead. My thoughts are taking form as I type this so my apologies if it's a little rambly.

This year has taught me that just when I think I can't handle any more, I discover I actually can. Does that sound like something else? Like maybe a race? 

To reach a new level as an athlete takes consistent effort, getting out of one's comfort zone, and having belief that better performance can be achieved. This year, I want to carry that mindset beyond training and into life.

Training keeps me on an even keel. Nothing beats the free therapy that comes from fresh air and sweat!! I realize more than ever how much I NEED and appreciate the reason to move, especially outside. I will never regret or apologize for a single minute or mile. I will always make room in my life to be active. 

This year taught me that you don't have to have ideal life conditions to race well (or to do some other thing well). You just have to put in the work and be able to flip the switch to clear the mind for your sessions and races. Racing has given me a much-appreciated infusion of strength and confidence to carry me into 2017 - most recently a half marathon PR last month (1:39:45) and a solid go at the annual Runabout Sports Frosty 5K on December 24 (21:39).

I did 14 races this year, winning three, landing on the overall podium at three others, and finishing top female master's at five. As someone who never called herself an athlete until her 40's, it still feels like an "out of body experience" to be decent at this stuff. For anyone who races for years on end (8 so far for me), racing is just a small part of the larger fun of it all.

I've learned you can't wait for life to be smooth or planets to align to go for your goals and be happy! I have some of my race schedule planned for 2017 including a few new races and challenges. I'll be "Du"ing my first duathlon in April. It's just a few hours away so it seemed like a good opportunity for a 5 mile bike, 33 mile bike and another 5 mile run! I'm also putting the Mountains of Misery 100-mile bike ride on my list. It's a rite of passage for most cyclists around here and it attracts masochistic cyclists (who love a steep uphill finish)! Pinehurst, if family and schedule will allow, will be a new-to-me race enjoyed with others from our swim group!

I can't close out the the year-end without the 2016 training stats
  • Swim - 314,342 yards (178 miles) 117 sessions 
  • Bike - 3043 miles, 172 hours, 150 sessions
  • Run - 933 miles, 132 hours, 173 sessions 
  • Strength - 41 sessions - not so good :-(

Swim/bike/run friends are the best. Most of my social life happens before noon on the roads and trails, and at the lake and the pool, and I wouldn't have it any other way! Thank you, friends!

Here's to a bright New Year, full of possibilities and opportunities!!