Tuesday, December 31, 2013

a year in races

At the beginning of this year, I didn't know what I wanted out of racing, but I knew I wanted it to be different.  I was weary of feeling so serious and anxious all the time, judging my own performance day in and day out.  So I started 2013 looking for change.

In January I hopped in the water for a swim meet and then did a ten mile race as a MAF test later in the month with friends.  The lesson in January is that your fitness actually doesn't stick around if you take two months off to eat and drink and be stressed out and get pneumonia and pack up all your shit and move 2000 miles away.  Noted.
In February, I went to Austin with friends to race a half marathon.  I PRd by a handful of minutes, but I learned that if I go into the day with a plan and a quiet mind, I will race well and feel satisfied at the finish line.
I ran a 5K a few weeks later that was hilariously short, but again brought the quiet mathematical mind to the run.  

April brought a new twist, a half marathon that I ran deep into a training block.  I ran without a watch and had nothing to distract myself from digging a giant hole in the floor of my pain cave.
A few weeks later I traveled to New Orleans for the 70.3, where I had no race plan other than to be happy and surprised myself with a breakthrough run performance.
I flew to Buffalo to run the marathon in late May.  The marathon still stands as the single most painful race I have done, but I learned that day that even if your legs don't meet up with your plan, there is still value in running as hard as you can from line to line, in not giving up on yourself.
I didn't race again until IM Lake Placid.  It wasn't until several weeks later that I realized how much I had left out on the race course, how scared I still was of hunting for the very particular brand of suffering that comes along with an ironman.  
I ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon with some of my closest friends and again was reminded that sometimes being joyful is more important than what a race clock says at the finish line.

Deep into training for IM Cozumel, I scraped out a 5K PR while on a quick visit east.
And wrapped up my year with a ironman that has left me with mixed feelings.  Not about the race, I am satisfied with the choices I made in the moment, but in the feeling that I have yet to really race, not just complete, ironman.
But someone smart reminded me recently that I had to stand on the line of 70.3 at least five or six times before I started to get close to executing the way I would like to on race day.  So while the perfect ironman remains elusive to me; now, ending 2013, I do not feel defeated by racing this year.  I had far more good races than bad, I knocked down demons (only to have new ones grow up in their place), I got stronger, raced faster, and finished happier than I have in any year I can remember.  And I close out the year with the same quiet feeling of peace that I've experienced throughout this year, both in racing and in life.  I'm still growing, I will always be learning, but joy?  This year?  It has found its way back.    

6 comments:

  1. Love the race review but my favorite is that you are ending the year with a feeling of peace - just like it should be!
    Happy New Year!

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  2. Running/racing/etc without peace feels like just one more "to do". Good for you!

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  3. Wishing you continued joy and peacefulness as we enter 2014!

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  4. Always love your end of year succinct yet meaningful reviews!

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  5. I love your ability to reflect and always find the good. Remember that : there is always good. We have many many more years of racing ahead of us to get that deep and painful Ironman race.

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  6. Whatever kind of sports you are doing, it is crucial to provide your body with nutritional support. Especially after hard trainings. I've read thousands times that we don't get enough nutrients from our everyday meals. That is why, supplementation is necessary. You just have to find a high quality product. I've searched through internet, studied articles and reviews, and finally found the product for myself - Military Grade supplements. My basic criteria were natural compounds. Then, I liked the reviews, which were mostly positive, highlighting the visible effect of the product. So, I've tried them myself. Started with 1 bottle of their new post-workout product - Second Wind - and was surprised greatly! Almost no fatigue after my workouts, no muscle soreness and lots of energy throughout a day! This product is available at amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Post-workout-Recovery-soreness-Vegetarian-Military/dp/B00HN6ROX0/ref=pd_bxgy_hpc_text_y Definitely worth trying!

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