Hopefully your new year is off to a nice start! It always feels very stressful, between expectations of the perfect party, getting to spend time with all the friends and all the family and still squeeze in all the relaxing, the pursuit of catching up on sleep, and then the always dreaded “what are you going to do with your life this year??”
The burnout caught up with me around Tuesday of last week, after cruising through Christmas on barely adequate sleep and just too many activities. I had been viciously burning the candle at both ends… and I saw it manifested in crummy bike training sessions, a lamer-than-usual attitude, and overall a not great outlook on the holidays. Not exactly how I’d like to be this time of year. That could only mean it was time for reflection!
2017 was excellent. A year full of great challenges and some character building trials.
As of February 7th of 2017, I committed to doing these things:
- Run a 5:00 mile by November – I ran a 5:37 as part of a 5k early in the season. I never dropped those pesky 37 seconds, but the win of the year (even though it wasn’t stated) was attending weekly speedwork consistently for a huge part of the season.
- Swim a :59 minute 100 yarder before July 4th – I nailed this one, eventually swimming a :58 100 yarder. Not bad.
- Swim 100 x 100s on my next birthday – I didn’t even take a shot at this goal! >:[ For whatever reason, the attempt didn’t happen, even though I thought about it a few times… plenty of time to fix that in 2018.
- Run a 3:04 marathon before I’m 34 (Boston Qualifying time) – I ran a lot this year. 765.7 miles to be precise, but nothing quite Boston Qualifying training specific. This one might get cut from the list, even if I do have a few years left… a goal without fiery passion doesn’t really get you where you want to be.
- Finish two XTERRA (mountain bike) triathlons – I only did one – but one is more than the zero I had previously completed!
Looking back, almost a year later, I bit off about 5000% more than I could chew. Whoops! But that’s OK – that has been filed away as a lesson learned and hopefully will not be repeated…
All things being said, I would hardly consider 2017 a failure, especially with race PRs in every single triathlon distance (sprint, Olympic, half, and full), tons of great trips, and ever more insight into married life (the hard way, of course).
January 1st is always a time for reflection, and I greatly enjoy using it to dwell on the past and fortify my mind in preparation for the coming year. I have yet to experience an unblemished set of months that didn’t offer both prime times concurrently with trying times, and ironically, I have never had a year that I wish would last longer either. Even 2013, one of my most landmark years of all time, was anxiously ushered out with earnest.
The calendar year always seems to be a perfectly balanced 365 days, struggles and all. We charge through the holidays like a herd of raging bulls, only to be met with a vapid and muted outlook on the world come January 1st when we wake up with ChrismukkahNYE withdrawals. The sheen of the holidays having been pulled back from our eyes, we slog back into reality with sugary hangovers from hot chocolate, Die Hard parties, and jubilant times.
For me, I enjoy the “out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new” approach. It provides ample time to enjoy the accomplishments, the quality family time, the adventures, and the excitement, while also allowing detachment and proper processing of the stuff that didn’t go quite as well…or the stuff that went rather poorly. A swift kick in the tush, and it’s onward to a new year as quickly as possible!
2017 was a great year for triathlon specific training, and it’s always nice seeing each of my target distances achieved. Ironically, the deeper I get into triathlon-specific training sessions, the more I find that these distance goals are so arbitrary! I know of athletes who put in 2x as many miles as me, but can’t get the motor running on race day. Doesn’t do a lot of good putting a flashy paint job on there if you can’t kick when the time comes…
- Swim: 222 miles / 133.25 hours
- Bike: 4115 miles / 215 hours
- Run: 765.7 miles / 107.94 hours
- Weights: 52 hours
- Other (Hiking/Yoga/Stretching/Core/Rowing): 70 hours
- Total: 5149.06 miles / 577.63 hours
My definite lessons from the year are consistency (frequency), pushing limits, and keeping it fresh are all greater than pure volume. For 2018, training will be focused more in quality and specificity rather than junk, volume miles.
For non-sport related, I want to get back to traveling the country and the world with my wife, and go on some grand excursions to Montana and Wyoming before the end of 2019. We’ve also got a backyard to put in. That’ll be a nice change from BBQing in the dirt :-) Can’t say I’m looking forward to taking care of a yard though… Something tells me there are going to be a lot of changes in the professional realm as well. You don’t hire change (project) managers for no reason!
Three things that I will be focusing on in all aspects of my 2018 life: consistency, pushing my limits, and keeping it fresh.
What do you have your sights on in 2018?