After a whole lot of time, training and trial and error, I was able to push hard, stay healthy and get a banner year of running under my belt in 2013 (i.e. PR’s in the 10K, half marathon and marathon distances). But in typical endurance athlete fashion, I found myself spending less time celebrating and more time thinking, “Ok…what next?”
Don’t get me wrong — I definitely savored every moment along the way, but each little win only added fuel to the fire within that had been smoldering ever since getting injured and having to drop out two weeks before a previous marathon. So after proving to myself that my body can handle it (plus, older = wiser when it comes to preventing injury), and with my confidence levels returning, the question then became, “Of what am I capable?”
Naturally, since running is my first love, a part of me wanted to give the sub-four marathon goal another shot after coming so close in October (4:07), while another part wanted to push my distance boundaries and try an ultra trail race (50K) to take a break from the roads, which gave my legs quite a beating this past year.
Ultimately, though, I decided to go in a different direction and “tri” something new for 2014.
Don’t worry; those running goals above are still in progress (as evidenced on my race page; the second half of the year is still TBD), but in the words of fellow Coeur Sports Ambassador Becca Wilcox, “2013 was my year to experiment, 2014 is where I grow.”
See, I like to think I’ve only casually dated triathlon so far; I’ve completed two sprint distances, muscling through them with minimal training, more as a method of staying in shape between major running events. But this year, my goal is to grow as a more well-rounded age-group athlete — more specifically, to train properly and compete in a middle-distance event (Olympic) to see if we hit it off and can get serious, with the hope of turning it into a long-term relationship (i.e. longer distances).
It hasn’t been an easy road so far — my first pseudo-Masters workout left me slinking under the lane dividers over to the slow lane after I could neither understand the workout lingo nor keep up with anyone, and my first long bike ride after a year-long hiatus left me terrified and with leg bruises, a black toenail and a jammed wrist after colliding with a runaway skateboard — but that’s part of the thrill of any new adventure, isn’t it?
As Nelson Mandela once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” So, it’s with that in mind that I start this latest chapter — inspired by athletes (in particular, two former high school cross country teammates-turned-triathletes, Terra Castro and Kelly Wilson, along with Meghan Manion, another friend who just completed her first Ironman) and in partnership with an amazing brand with which I completely admire and identify (Coeur Sports, where they’re all about heart and courage).
I’m currently in the process of finalizing my training plan, which I’ll be sharing shortly, along with all the thrills, chills and (hopefully not too many) spills along the way. I’ll also be soliciting advice and tips from my fellow Coeur teammates, many of whom are Iron[wo]men and know a thing or two (…or 15) about the sport.
Get pumped, guys; we’re only a few days in, and 2014 is already shaping up to be an exciting year. Here’s to aiming high, pushing hard and giving it everything we’ve got to reach our goals in 2014!
What challenges are you preparing to conquer in the New Year?