Preface: I have had this post in draft form for three weeks and it just didn't feel "finished". Maybe I felt like I was not conveying with words how I feel or the balance struggle. Anyhow, after reading that Chrissie Wellington is taking a break from Ironman, I figured, if the reigning world champion is looking for balance, can't we all?
Ok, back to the post ...
The 1st of January has come and gone and I am doing my best not to be frustrated with myself for not having any clear cut goals this year. I don’t want to pick an arbitrary goal just to have a goal, yet, I NEED something to point towards.
I keep asking myself the very simple question “What do you want to accomplish this year? What sounds exciting to you?” and I don’t really have an answer other than I want BALANCE while still setting goals and attempting to achieve them.
I have always felt that I manage being a wife / mother / full time career woman who travels for her job / athlete / and so much more ... pretty well, but if I am totally honest with myself, there are sacrifices – big ones. I have a super supportive family so they don’t make me feel bad about the sacrifices I have made pursuing my athletic dreams, but I am the one that has to look in the mirror and be ok with those sacrifices. Looking back, I feel pretty good about the decisions that I have made to this point, but I don’t personally feel I can continue to make those same decisions right now. An entire weekend day of training every single weekend leading up to a big race is too much to give right now in my life.
I love racing long and I have thought about reducing my training (train smarter not longer) so that I can feel more balance yet still comfortably participate at the 140.6 distance (obviously with slower times) BUT the competitor in me doesn’t just want to “participate”. So, for now at least, I am leaving 140.6 off the table. I want to keep racing that distance and I know I can get faster, potentially even much faster, but that is a goal and challenge I am saving for another day. I still not-so-secretly want to get to Kona one day, after all (yep, I said it AGAIN, I am putting that out into the universe).
So, where does that leave me for 2012? I have thought hard about EPIC type goals (100 mile trail race anyone?) and the more mundane (get “faster”, have FUN!) but nothing specific is really tripping my trigger (BQ, xx:xx Oly). I am finished with my post 50K recovery running plan – so I am back up to running 35 miles per week – and that means that I do not currently have a plan. HELP!
Here is the reality for me, as an individual it is really easy to fall into the one-up trap. The “I did a sprint, now I am going to do an Olympic distance race, well how about a 70.3 … well, I guess all that is left is 140.6” one-up trap. So, once you have done 140.6, do you have to keep doing them, keep getting faster or go even longer to one-up yourself? I definitely see the appeal, but that certainly doesn't fit the balance goal I am in search of. There are EPIC type goals that allow for more balance than 140.6 but I am still searching for one that makes my heart flutter.
So, is 2012 the year of reflection and searching for the next big goal? Probably.
In the mean time, I have thought long and hard about what to do while I am searching. I want to stay fit, I want to race and I want to have fun. I don’t want to lose my base.
I have also spent a lot of time thinking about why goals like “going faster” don’t trip my trigger. I think it is because they scare me a bit, going fast hurts. It puts me out of my comfort zone … and you know what that tells me? That I should ABSOLUTELY make that my goal. I am a big believer that we should challenge ourselves by getting out of our comfort zones. The mere fact that it scares me, tells me that is why I should do it. I also hope that learning to go faster and to accept a bit of pain will help me mentally when I do go back to the 140.6 distance.
Having fun is the other goal that keeps creeping back into my mind. What does that even mean? Well, let me explain. When I was training for 140.6, I was super conservative, especially when training for the first two. For example, I wouldn’t play a pickup game of soccer or softball or sign up for Tough Mudder because I didn’t want to get hurt and risk my A race. I didn’t do a lot of shorter distance races because I needed to be training long on those days. I want to remove the shackles and do some of these fun races. I want to decide to visit a friend somewhere and do a fun race in their neck of the woods and have it be ok that it is not on my training schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I love schedules, but I also want to color outside the lines.
... now, I just need to decide what picture to start coloring!