Perspective…valuable thoughts from a client

I actually had a different blog ready for this morning when I came across this one from one of my clients and I couldn’t resist sharing.

I met Heidi before she did Augusta 70.3 last year, and a few months later she asked me to coach her for not only her return to Augusta, but also for Raleigh 70.3. As is the norm the road to these races is often paved with unexpected aches and pains, injuries and illnesses that we contract, kids contract and give back to us, work travels, family events, in other words LIFE!

While I , of course, think triathlon and running and any activity that makes you happy should be part of your lifestyle, it should not become your life. It needs to be woven seamlessly into the fabric of your days, weeks, years, otherwise it becomes a burden, an obligation, a job that no longer holds any joy and thus really the best benefits from such a lifestyle are then lost!

Here is Heidi’s blog from today about just that, keeping it all in perspective…and thanks for letting me share!

Perspective

Photo Mar 23, 11 34 22 AMYesterday I was scrolling through Training Peaks, the app my coach uses to schedule my workouts, and I saw that next to the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile race for next Sunday was a note that Ironman 70.3 Raleigh was eight weeks away. And my coach, who already knows me so well, also left a comment that the note was intended to excite me and not freak me out.

My impulse was to freak out, and though I almost choked on my coffee, I wasn’t settling in that that anxious place. I’ve been anxious plenty of times about Raleigh. I’ve questioned whether it was a race I wanted to train for or if I really wanted to race it at all. I’ve allowed insecurities to creep in and mangle my confidence to shreds leaving me to gather up the pieces and, with the support of friends, move forward.

But suddenly, I’m realizing it doesn’t feel quite so huge and looming as training for Augusta did last year, and a friend reminded me that my mental space was occupied for that September race in January of last year. For nine months nothing else mattered but September 29, 2013. My world, my thoughts, my time revolved around that ultimate goal and all of the hours and days required to get there.

And maybe that’s what you need to do to get through something so colossal the first time, but looking back, I’m still not sure all of what I was trying to prove (or to whom). It almost felt like a race getting to the race, and I know I was trying to prove to myself that I had it in me to do something big. I know that confidence (or lack of it) was the driving force. And I don’t regret that part. I don’t regret the changes it brought, and the sense of accomplishment I have.

Photo Mar 26, 2 22 05 PMThis spring is about balance, and with it half ironman training is finally falling into a proportional place. It is no longer a defining label I cling to; it is now simply something I love to do. It is part of the whole of me instead of the only thing I held onto in an attempt to find a deeper understanding of myself and my perspective of the world. Because when we cling to one hyper-focused thing, we eliminate so many other factors. We eliminate friends and family; we eliminate other activities we love. I built a wall around myself using the race and training as an excuse, which allowed me to sink back into old protective habits and thought processes. I might have made great strides physically, but in many other ways, life was not about growth last year. It was stunted, and looking back, I wonder if I even felt alive. Did I ever exhale or did I live holding my breath simply hoping I’d find the end of that 70.3 mile course and cross the finish line? Sometimes I’m afraid to look for the answer to that question, but I’d imagine a glance at my Instagram feed from last year would clear it up.

That tension is in stark contrast to this year that has felt alive and pulses with a beating heart and deep, cleansing breaths. It has been organically filled with friends and date nights and girl nights and family time. What felt taxing or too involved or too scary last year has naturally fallen into place. My friend Kristy is focusing on finding breathing room this year, and that is the best way to describe what is happening. There is breathing room and it is not just seeping in around the edges of training and thinking about a race. It cushions me and generates a kinetic energy that flows and connects.

This breathing room gives me the space to add ironman training in to my life as part of the whole. Instead of being the sole thread that bound the days and weeks of last year, the most important keystone that anchored me to myself, it is now something less and more. It is one of the many variegated parts that are coming together to create the brilliant mosaic that is this life. It enhances who I am and provides me with a place to test myself and grow in many ways, but it it is not the only litmus test for growth.

Instead the litmus test for growth is the happy moments that exist alongside and in front of the hard training. It culminates in the date nights and girl nights, the social trail runs and chatty family bike rides. It is noticing that race day is about nine weeks away, choking a little on my coffee, and then smiling and moving on with my day.

 

Happy New … Quarter!

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2014 is a week old…how are those resolutions going?

Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Have you already bailed on them? Maybe you didn’t even make any because they never work out.

I wrote a blog a couple of years ago suggesting you set goals instead of making resolutions. Goals just have more a more positive feel to them, imply a favorable result and also require a plan, usually detailed, to get there. Experts, whether they be diet, fitness or business, alway stress the importance at this time of year of setting smaller goals along the way – achievable ones! – to keep motivated. As athletes, we’re pretty good at setting goals and mapping out a plan to achieve them, picking smaller races along the way. But when your race is months away, maybe even more than a year, keeping your sights in the target can be difficult. Maybe you have some goals that don’t involve athletics that you’d like to achieve this year as well.

For the first time in quite a few years I have made some actual resolutions as well as set several goals, not all PR or race related. While feeling excited about making these resolutions stick, I could already feel that a target 12 months away, or without even a specific end date, was setting me up for trouble.

So, I had an idea.

Let’s just focus on the first quarter! Three months! 90 days! Even if you didn’t make any resolutions, why not make some now, or look at your goals for the year and pare them down to just the next 3 months! Simple and oh so manageable!

Apply it to everything you want to work on…pounds to lose, money to save, recipes to try, books to read, miles to swim, bike, run… I also encourage you to write down whatever it is, that really does help make it real. And if you want, let a family member or close friend in on your plan to help hold you more accountable. And don’t forget to forgive yourself for any slips along the way!

I’ll check back in at the end of March, let you know how I feel like I did with my resolutions, you can let me know how yours went and we’ll hit the reset button for the second quarter!

Happy New Quarter everyone!

Never Too Early to Look Ahead!

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Is it too early to celebrate New Years?

Anyone else ready to put 2013 in the rearview mirror?

It’s been a strange one for lots of folks. Between injuries with hard-to-pinpoint causes, illnesses that linger for weeks and weeks, personal and professional stresses, getting into a groove has been difficult to say the least. So, I for one, am ready to start looking forward.

In the world of endurance sports it’s never too early to start thinking, planning and entering races for the next year and even beyond….Chattanooga 2015 anyone?

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Registration for the ever popular Eagleman and Raleigh 70.3 opened last week, these tend to fill fast.

There is still some racing to do…Austin 70.3, IM Florida, Richmond Marathon.

Are you done racing and in need of some inspiration, the Ironman World Championships are this weekend in Kona. Our very own Tom Vizioli is there acting as support crew. He will be volunteering in the med tent and at the finish line. I know I’m excited to hear his account of the event from that perspective!