That first inhale of the run, drawing in that crisp brisk fall air. The light sound of your feet hitting the pavement (or trail). That feeling of leaving the day and the world behind you as you set out to explore. Or run. Or whatever.
I love seeing my breath as I run in colder weather, and watching the way it fades into the night air.
I love that some folks have their Christmas decorations up. In my opinion it’s never too early. It’s the only 6 weeks of the year that we are unconditionally kind to one another. Play the Christmas music. Jingle the Bells. Wear your Santa hats and wish everyone you see the Merriest Christmas regardless of what they celebrate. In my car the holiday music is on repeat until January.
You just can’t kill kindness. And you can’t wipe out the light. No matter how hard you try.
You can’t wipe out the joy no matter what. If you truly have it within you, no one can take that away.
What you love can’t be taken from you. Because what you love isn’t a thing. It’s an experience.
For me getting back into the triathlon swing feels like nothing short of a love affair. It began with Jim Hogan finding me friction shifting for my CDO1 and continues with me eyeing a PRsix. It continued with me bouncing around a spring race with some old friends. Then I got on Zwift and through the magic of internet I ride with a group of people on a course, every single day.
You don’t know what Zwift is? It’s only the best thing since sliced bread! Click here.
My heart started beating faster with the thought of running through Mendon Ponds Park in the winter. When the road is coated with snow and the usually dark forrest it light because the trees drip with snow. I thought about that feeling of eyelashes being frozen at the end of a long run and seeing people out and about sledding, skiing…. and being one of those people.
If nothing else this swimming focus has brought me around, in my heart and in my soul. All of a sudden I have curiosity about my athletic goals again. Instead of “been there done that” it’s become…. “I wonder if I could.”
Except Ironman. I am really still done with Ironman.
For a few years it was really ugly. Motivation. Desire. I promise when you step back and let that deep reset happen it will come around again. You will go from “Do I want to do this anymore” to “I wonder how it would feel to…..” and it’s so so exciting.
While it’s become so cliche that we triathletes love our gadgetry and out data…. it’s true. I fell into that trap for a few years, a few years ago. It’s a hard hole to dig out of. But it’s a joy robbing experience. Once you come back into the fold with passion and the confidence of an amazing career behind you to stand on…. you can learn to let the numbers go and to allow your heart to fly.
Swimming is swimming again.
Cycling is cycling again.
Running is running again.
No longer to I fret and analyze after a training session. I reflect back on each one with happiness, with heart, with the feeling of curiosity. Inch by inch things are becoming to come together. Fitness takes time. It takes patience. No matter who you are or what “level” you are at, those continue to always ring true.
I have been coaching for 12 years and I can say that 100% of the athletes I have worked with who have embraced the process, allowed for consistency,exercised patience and found meaning within what they do… have been successful. Amateur, professional… doesn’t matter. I can also say for certainty that 100% of the athletes who fall into the hyper-data category stumble more.
Don’t read this to mean data isn’t important. It is. Especially for the coach. In fact I think it’s more important for the coach then for the athlete. But never allow data to dictate how you feel. Never allow data to dictate how you progress, or whether you do or don’t.
All of the above is true for me as well. In fact it’s really most true for me. I have been both of those athletes. I have risen and I have fallen for many different reasons. I am never afraid of either. I am never afraid of what people think of either.
I never worry about what others think of my successes or failures. That anyone would pass any sort of judgement (and it’s happened, many times) says a lot more about them…. than it does about me.
As I have grown up through this sport I have learned that it’s mine and mine alone. The past 6 months have been about me creating my path. My way. The bike I want to ride. The companies I want to promote. I don’t need discounts, I don’t need to work for free things, I can afford all of my own stuff. I solely sponsor myself.
I can tell you right now how damn freeing that is. If anyone’s logo is on my kit, it’s one that I choose to be there. Most importantly it’s MY logo.
It’s all been an incredible right of passage. For the first time ever I gave myself the opportunity to be totally who I am out there.
It’s awesome. I highly recommend it. In fact, ever since I adopted this philosophy….. click here.… a whole shit ton of things got better.
It’s personal freedom.
As I closed in on the finish line of my run last night I stopped and looked around. Far in the distance I could see the lights of the city. I could see carson the overpass a few miles down the road going to wherever they were going. I could see Christmas lights begin to take shape.
And I realized my watch was still going. Smiling, I stopped it. Doesn’t matter. No piece of data can dictate how that run felt. It felt like I am developing myself as an athlete again. It felt invigorating. It felt like I was shedding the day. It felt I was creating space for me. It felt….. amazing.
No pace per mile, no heart rate zone…. could have told me that.
This….. this is all mine now. My way. My theme. My deal. It’s the best thing I have ever done for myself.