Fast forward 365 day until today. I cannot believe I did that! I also can't believe its been a year!CRAZY! I would be lying if I said I didn't have some major race envy this past weekend as IMTX 2016 unfolded in what will no doubt go down as one of the most epic (and maybe cursed) races ever. I often wondered before IMTX what I would do next. I always have gone for the next big thing, and after IM, what is after that?
The first few months after IMTX I was admittedly burned out, but not for the obvious reasons. I was pretty frustrated with my performance in all three disciplines and very much felt stuck. I felt a "what's next?" feeling in that not only had I now accomplished this major goal, but I also didn't know how to improve on what were my very slow paces. If you look at my TP and my training June-November, it is pretty pathetic, almost non-existent. I guess I figured why bother at something I didn't know how to fix? I didn't want to give up triathlon or running, but I really wasn't sure what would happen next or what my next step was. A few really good things came along to help me out of this slump.
One, it was my first year as head swim coach at LHS. That gave me a really good diversion from triathlon and a way to be involved in the sport but in a completely different way. I fell in love with the kids I was working with, had a steep learning curve to get over, and something that took a great deal of time. It really was a god-send.
The second thing is I found a coach, Ben Cagle. I had always been self coached, and it did work okay for the first few years in the sport. However, this couldn't have been more perfect timing. I decided that going back to square one and focusing on short distances would be a good place to start, sort of building from the ground up. Ben has been awesome at this. He completely changed how I looked at training (no more by miles, but by time, now with intervals, goals for each session, etc). He also took away what I now realize was what many call "paralysis by analysis". So much of my getting stuck on a training plan would come from always second guessing what I was doing, adjusting things, or missing things, or not knowing how to make it up, or how to adjust it to my schedule, etc. Now I don't do any of that, that's what Ben is for! I can't reiterate or stress enough how nice it is not to the planning and analyzing. I just do whatever he tells me to do in TP. Plain and simple. It has also given me great accountability, and knowing someone else is looking at my training and also that it has been planned around a schedule I've dictated, sort of kills any excuses you might have :) I have made gains across all 3 sports, and feel I have a refocused goal and hope that maybe I don't suck as bad as I was thinking! So if you are in a rut, get a coach! I can't recommend that enough! (Just make sure its the right one, there are plenty of yahoos out there. Thank heavens Ben isn't one of them. He's pretty badass)
I know so many people give up triathlon after an Ironman, because they are burned out and loose focus. I really feel that was just the beginning for me. I realized exactly how much I don't know about this sport after doing IMTX and there is so much more I want to do! I need Ken (the husband) and Ben (my coach) to reign me in at times and be a voice of reason when I get ahead of myself, which is fairly regularly. I also have great role models in the sport that are years ahead of me that show me that the best is yet to come!
Yes, there are definitely more Ironmans in my future, but I am very happy with where I am at this point. Short course has been such a good focus for me this year. I love the training, I love being able to push myself in a new way, and it is nice to have races that rarely take over 2 hours :) I have several races just in the next 6-8 weeks and with sprints you can race that often! It's awesome and so much fun! Plus, I need to be racing this often for I need as many chances as I can get myself to get to Nationals in August!
I hope to be in this sport a long time. There is still so much I want to do. I want to keep getting stronger and better. Almost all of my PR's are over 2 years old. I want to make new ones. I also have a Bucket List of races that will take me years to get through, so I've got a lot of work to do! I wanna be the 80 year old grandma still doing races, riding her bike, and adding to her race bling collection. So, IMTX was just a spring board for me to all that I still want to accomplish. Here's to another great year! Onward and upward!