In the blogging handbook, it is written that in December, one must blog about one's upcoming-year race schedule. Required.
After I signed up for IMLP, I watched a lot of updates scroll by as people figured out their next season goal races, tune-up races, fun races, shake-out-the-cobweb races. And I had absolutely zero interest in any of it. I wasn't ready to think about next year, I wasn't even ready to think about training again. But time passed, as it annoyingly tends to do, and I found myself starting to itch a bit, found myself starting to mind how tight my pants were and that my upper arms were doing that weird floppy thing, found myself ready to think about being an athlete again. This was the biggest year I've had as an amateur triathlete, so it makes sense that I needed the biggest break. But now I'm glad that it's over.
So I did the research and I made my lists and I brought it all to Sonja. She crunched it all through her powerful coach brain and crossed some things out and made some changes and recommendations and I think, after all of that, that I have a plan.
The very next day I went out and started training again, and I didn't have a schedule in Training Peaks for more than one day before I started harassing her with emails and requests and changes (some things never change). I got my schedule for the week and instantly started complaining (quietly)(to myself) about how gentle and easy-backy it is. Which is why I have a Sonja in the first place, otherwise I'd be thrashing myself in the pool and climbing mountains with the completely ridiculous cyclists I now work with and probably not running quite as horrifically slow, but maybe almost.
I always laugh every time I read something a coach has written and it says, "I never have to tell my athletes to go harder." Because, yup, that's true. Even when I'm ready to be a slave to my heart rate again, even when my brain knows that it's okay to ride at 14.8mph down a hill into the wind, once I start itching, I can't stop, and it's hard to slam on the mental brakes after so much rest. But it means I'm back, I'm ready to train, and that makes me happy.
So, where was I? 2013. I've got an outline. It doesn't have a lot of races on it, mostly because moving to Colorado means that getting to sea level again to take advantage of my slightly-doped-up-red-blood-cells generally requires a plane. And there aren't nearly as many races within driving distance as there are on the east coast because everything out here is REALLY FAR AWAY. I'm going to have a quiet winter. I'm going to run a marathon in February. I've learned that I can only do one triathlon - if any at all - following an ironman, so I'm going to let my schedule screech to a halt in July. I'm going to try to talk my girlfriends into a race in a fun place. But I'm also going to let my outline just be an outline. After our talk, I signed up for one race - the soonest one - and with assistance, got flights and a hotel squared away. I'm going to wait on the rest. I'll keep an eye on things to make sure I don't get bitten by the sold-out bug, but I feel the need to be more present. To allow myself the opportunity to change my mind, to decide to do even less, or somewhere else, to not have the next nine months of my life carved into credit card stone before the year even starts.
So that's what I'm doing with 2013. I'm not trying to be annoyingly elusive, instead I'm trying (I really AM TRYING!) to be patient, and to let things unroll a bit in front of me. I enjoyed the time I took away from the crazy world of who is doing what and where and when and at how many watts, and I'm not eager to leap back into that scene. I'm having fun training with new friends, exploring strange places and learning about how to watch for snakes and bears instead of cars and muggers.
And while I'm excited for the year in front of me, it's going to be a different year than I've had before. I've spent a lot of time wrapping my self-worth into time on a clock, and fighting the mental battles that come along with that. This year, at least as of now, I'm not setting any crazy time goals for ANY distance. Deep down inside, I just want to race happy. Trying to prove that I am a worthy human being based on what my watch says is exhausting, and I don't want to do it for a while. The best races I had in 2012 were the ones where I didn't show up trying to crush or smash or destroy, the best races I had were the ones where I raced with my heart. And sure, I'm going to train my ass off to make sure that I am fit and healthy and my best when I show up on the line, but I want the overall theme of this year to be honest joy. Some might call this an excuse made by a slow mid-packer who is afraid to hurt, and they might be right. But it's my life, and I get to call the shots, and I am at peace.