I have been a competitive athlete for as long as I can remember. Much of my life has been spent in “training mode” under someone else’s program and guidance, which has shaped so much of my life in positive ways. And some negative. That’s part of the journey. Over the years I have ranged from super focused to waxing and waning. I have committed completely and committed half assedly. As I look back on everything … I have done it all. Regrets? Zero.
The journey I have been on this season is one that is truly incredible and completely fulfilling. For once I can let go of the need to be doing X Y and Z to prepare for whatever race. I can actually take the time now….. to really focus on the beauty of being an athlete.
I am spending 5 days a week in the gym weight training, 5 days running, and 2 days doing some easy cycling. I am not in the pool yet despite having the luxury of swimming outside in Rochester NY. This remains the longest swimming break I have ever taken, yet so necessary (I did swim once). I need to let that come back to me as it does. When it does…. and truthfully…. IF it does.
I have been working with my most favorite strength coach in the WORLD (Steve at Midtown), and he’s assembled a really solid program for my strength. Midtown has a ridiculous weight training area complete with turf that allows room for running drills, sled work. They have TRX and all that stuff. Right now he has me doing a session with the Kinesis tower and some formal weights, and alternating that with the sled, boxes, bosu, gliders, balls, VIPR…. the list goes on. Previously I would only strength train 3 times a week for 30 minutes….. because well triathlon takes time and I had another workout to get to. But these days I am spending thoughtful and purposeful time in the gym (45-60 minutes a day!) and in a short amount of time I see and feel the difference. It’s GREAT to actually take the time to work on my weakest links.
As we were plotting out my running progression I immediately felt a sense of…. man that’s not happening fast enough…. only to be answered by “fast enough for what?”. Right…. no events in the immediate future to prepare for (except next week). So again…. I get to be thoughtful and purposeful in how it all happens.
It feels awesome to slow down and take the time. Both literally and figuratively. The beautiful thing about all of it is…. I feel so content and in love with my athletic accomplishments and journey thus far, I have been able to do so many things…. the future feels like my oyster. I wake up each day wondering…. what’s next?
What’s next in the immediate future is to continue working on this path as I have some fall related running goals (no marathon) I am working towards. Today…. yes today…. I am taking out the SUP. I am excited to build on last year’s SUP struggles and successes as I enter into a level of actual SUP racing. I get my new race board on May 1st!!!!! The struggles I went through last summer with my board were so worth it and I knew it at the time. I know those difficult days make you better in time.
My health has quickly rebounded. Like real quick. I don’t think I am quite “there” yet but compared to how I felt just a month ago…. I feel terrific. I didn’t go crazy in one direction, I just continue to eat healthy, stay well hydrated and sleep a lot. I take no big expensive supplements. No way.
All in all….. I am feeling hungry more than anything. Hungry to master new skills and have new adventures. Do you know I have never hiked ANY of the 46 Adirondack Peaks? I have never skied or snowboarded anywhere outside of Rochester or Buffalo? I have gone surfing and cliff jumping…. but only in Hawaii and Florida?
I have never seen the Grand Canyon. I have never been to Yellowstone.
I have been to Germany but never to Paris where my sister lives. I have not learned how to rock climb. I have never SUP’d in the actual ocean.
I have this eclectic mix of experience and inexperience when it comes to experiencing the world. We are going cross country this summer (To Omaha for Nationals to be specific…. Curt is racing) and I have begun to map out adventures along the way. When I took my eyes off the road that I have only seen between my aerobars an entire universe has opened up.
Does it mean I am done with triathlon for good as an athlete? I don’t know that. I really don’t. I don’t even worry about it.
What I do know is that I refuse to get to an age where I ever look back and say “I wish I would have …..”. I haven’t done that so far and I am planning on never allowing it.
There is a huge adventure side of me that’s matched with a certain 15 year old kid who is also interested. I need to show him these things. I need to experience these things with him. Years from now I want him to tell his children that we had some epic adventures.
I am not the only one who arrives at this point in their athletic career, even though I don’t know exactly what “point” this is. I know I am seeking new adventures and I take a lot of paths to try to scratch that itch. Nothing is more exciting than trying new things for the first time. Nothing is as educational as falling and struggling in those new skills. I know that right now I crave experiences over competition. That’s something that’s been rumbling for the better part of a year now. That’s still a new feeling for me, one that I am not quite sure what to do with except…… learn new things.
While I search and explore…. I am continuing to take the time. At the gym. With the weights. Building running with a nice and slow progression. I am running on beautiful trails, next to beautiful lakes, and even down beautiful roads. I am on a path, one that I am not sure of the direction its taking….. but I don’t necessarily need to know that right this minute. Right now I am going with it.
And it’s awesome. Stay tuned.