“In Between.” That is what I am calling this year. I am in between making any major decisions in racing and training. I loved last season. I raced short, hard, local and culminated my season with the USAT National Championships in MLK and ITU AG Worlds in Chicago. I had fun. I raced well and at the end of the season I was satisfied.
My days, nights and weekends are filled with Triathlon. Aside from my family and friends, Triathlon is my life’s work. When most people sit in meetings and think about ways to design websites, or teach our youth or serve our country, I decided to help people reach their Triathlon goals. Most non-Triathletes kind of look at me funny when I tell them what I do for a living. “You do WHAT??” They are trying – really hard – to understand HOW this job allows me to pay the bills and more shockingly, how I can do it all the time – All day looking at data numbers, answering the thousands of emails and managing athlete’s on-going expectations, fears, disappoints and successes in a very timely manner.
It is not a glamourous lifestyle I have chosen. In fact, most nights you will find me reading trashy magazines or unwinding in front of some really bad TV (all while answering the constant incoming emails and Training Peaks updates). I need that – just like everyone needs to unplug from their job – I have a small window in which I can do that since I am an athlete too. I have worked over the years to be able to “switch” on and off. I can go from coaching athletes, answering questions pre-race to jumping into the race and racing myself. I am able to leave the worry, stress and busy-ness aside, compartmentalize my race and pivot on a dime and be in the moment and race for myself.
When I finished my 2015 season, I was starting to think about 2016. What did I really want to do and the age old question, “what excites me?” The catch was we were in the midst of living in a small, apartment (with 2 teenagers, let me tell you – THAT is a blog for another time) all while we were building our dream house with our Builder. It was like after all these years of swim/bike/run, a spark went off and I was loving the new adventures. I was spending my free time picking out door knobs, doors, paint colors and even flowers. My free time was obsessing over Pinterest and HOUZZ pictures.
The last few months of the build was like a wedding – all the stress, money flying out the bank, excitement and anticipation. I realize it was “only” a house. But, to us, it was the culmination of a dream and hard work (and saving!). Once we closed on our house in mid-February I was much more interested in picking out lights than I was riding my bike for 4 hours. I was already spending all my working hours coaching Triathletes, I wanted my “free” time to be a Mom and “workout” and then do house stuff.
When you have teenagers, it is an icy road. Sometimes you are needed and sometimes they look at you like you are a complete alien. It is a rollercoaster to say the least. The good news is that while this is a challenging age of our kids (middle school – YUCK) this too shall pass and they will eventually not think we suck so bad. You go from the kids really needing you to “Mom, can you just drop me and 100 of my friends off and pick us up at 10:30pm?” That is just how it is now. Drive, drop off, pick up. Repeat. And, if I am lucky a kiss in between. And, 10:30pm? Way past my bedtime.
The point is – my role of Mom has changed too in the last year. I went from having babies, toddlers and then kids to teenagers and young adults. The real world is right in front of their faces and I did not want to miss anything. I wanted to be there (and I was) the minute Morgan’s BFF called and said she may be moving. No matter how much teenagers roll their eyes and grunt, they still (deep, deep down) need that hug and unconditional love.
So, while I was thinking of my 2016 I decided I did not want to travel. No planes. I wanted to race local so I could drive to the race, race and be home by 10am or lunchtime. I also decided no long course racing. While I could spend my mornings riding my bike, I was not willing to give up my weekends and all the soccer games, sleepovers and kid things that I may miss if I was on my bike riding 100 miles. I wanted to do summer stuff w the kids in my free time. I am already at my desk most of the day – so I wanted my precious “non working” time to be available to them.
I still have the urge to do another Ironman, but the good news is that Ironman is not going anywhere. And, my kids are.
This season I have raced 6x so far – all Sprints and run races and 1 Olympic. I was cracking myself up though because the Olympic felt long! I have not ridden my bike longer than 2 hours all year (aside from my times in Tucson). I do not feel the pressure to nail this time or that time. I really just train. Instead of my normal training load, I am “only” training 10-12 hours/week. That is just so dreamy! I get up, train early and then have my day to work all day and my nights free to be Mom and do house stuff.
I have loved it. I go to all the local races, see my athletes, see my friends and socialize. Oh, and race too. Don’t think I have lost my competitive fire – oh, not at all. I am working less but still working hard and taking care of all the details that are necessary to succeed. I am still racing at 45 and am able to continue to perform well and have fun.
This year I went back to my first ever Triathlon in my hometown. It is a 400m swim, 12.8 mile bike and 5k. I warmed up by my childhood house – the course took me all around going past all the places I went as a kid and all my friend’s houses. I was on that line of working hard I wanted to vomit AND getting all nostalgic. I was interviewed after the race (because I won) and they were in awe that I had raced there 20+ years ago and decided to just come back in 2016.
And, if you think my competitive fire is gone – don’t be silly. I secretly went to break the Course Record. I thought that would be so cool. Not only go back to my first triathlon, but at age 45 break the course record. I did. There was no hoopla over it, no neon lights – just an internal satisfaction all to myself
As I look at the rest of the season, I have another local, competitive Sprint this weekend and then I have not decided what I will do apart from a couple of ½ marathons. I am taking the weeks as they come and continue to stay in shape so I can “jump” into anything I would like on the fly.
I still cannot find my aero helmet from the move. I have no power on my bike outside. I have not raced with a watch all year and I do not have a bike computer on my bike. I just race and race 100% – when you race short course, it is just about going as hard as you can to get up to the front or stay up front the entire time. It is refreshing and fun and frankly, the way I like to race. Back to the basics and rawness of competing, which is how I started 20 years ago before all the hoopla of data and comparisons. And, I do NOT miss being tired all the time!