2014 started as most New Years do, with promise and lofty goals. The year ended with many of those goals accomplished and some important lessons and learning as most do.
This time last year, if I am truly honest with myself and go back to my blog I was recovering from foot surgery and I was ITCHING to do something, I hadn't really learned to swim yet, hadn't been on the new bike I had bought and frankly wasn't so confident about my running post surgery. I had a long way to go before my first half iron in June but I was feeling excited mixed with the anxious feeling of needing to get off the couch.
Swimming proved to be an arch nemesis and I switched exclusively to swimming a 50 meter pool that was much further from my house in order to push myself. That worked wonders until I had a complete and utter meltdown at my very first ever open water swim in May, ok well maybe not complete because I didn't cry but let's face it I contemplated giving up MANY times. People always say to me, "Oh I wish I could do what you do but...(insert reason here, I'm scared, I can't swim, I freak out, I want to quit, I don't have time)." Well I have news for you and if you read my blog you know this, but I want to quit many days, I have meltdowns where I cry on the floor over something stupid because I have been training for weeks and I'm sleepy and sore and I've reached my limit, I get overwhelmed with my dreams and goals, BUT I don't give up, I don't quit, I stay the course. That is the important lesson to learn and that I hope I have conveyed in the last year. I was never a natural athlete, this does not come easily for me and this journey has taxed me more mentally than physically.
Looking back on 2014 I'm disappointed in myself for getting hurt and therefore not meeting the very high goals I had set for myself at the start of the year. I'm frustrated and tired of the injections, the physical therapy, the constant doctors appointment, and most importantly the lack of a training schedule presenting me with solid base and improvements as I head into an even bigger 2015. The injury has taught me valuable lessons and I need to focus on those lessons in my periods of frustration and self doubt. I know that if push comes to shove mentally I can make my body work through pain, not of course broken bone pain again but in the instance of a grueling race I can have mental toughness. I will never forget the words said to me by someone who has known me from the awkward first days of college, "You are way stronger than anyone has ever given you credit for". Those words have stuck with me since they were uttered in June and they have powered me through.
When I think to all the physical pain I have endured I remember Packy and the fact he suffered far worse and he never gave up and he never complained. I'm sure he had internal complaints and some hidden meltdowns but to the outer world he portrayed his strength and that is important. As far as me, I am going to endeavor this year to be more honest via the blog as far as feelings of doubt, being scared, etc so that you can see that I'm not Teflon, this process is hard and anyone going through it or thinking about it should have a real picture not puppies and kittens. I want people to say, "I decided to try it because after reading you try it I think I can do it."
Triathlons are hard, learning new sports is hard and sometimes demoralizing, long course events require extreme commitment and sacrifice. The benefits to me far out way the sacrifices, amazing friends, inspiring and teaching others, the feeling of crossing the finish line and let's face it looking pretty good in skinny jeans is a plus :-)
So 2014, I must say you were pretty positive. I'm so lucky to have the best parents/cheering squad in the business who followed me even to another country to support an endeavor that I am not sure they always understand. I have not had one major race without them and that means the world to me. I set a new half marathon PR and I set a new 5K PR during a sprint tri relay that my team won. I accomplished my goal of a half ironman race, I didn't get the time I wanted but I learned so much about race nutrition and myself, especially when I learned I did it with a stress fracture. I had my first DNF, I struggled with my feelings of being pulled for not making the bike cut off but realizing that everything in life holds a lesson and that was an important lesson for me. The understanding that you can only push yourself so far before you need to listen to your body and understand that rest is necessary. The understanding that a DNF is not a failure, it is not a negative but a positive message of a new goal and what I needed to work on. I accomplished the goal of learning how to take care of myself, rest according to orders and heal.
2015 is the year of the Ironman...more on that tomorrow.